It’s no secret that driving drunk can have severe consequences for not only yourself but for those around you. Driving drunk puts everyone else on the road at risk too and in some cases, could land you in jail. Yet, thousands of people drive drunk — or tipsy — every year, thinking that they can “handle it.” It only takes one time to prove that theory wrong and it can have devastating consequences. If you’re arrested for a DUI, you may want to start trying to find a DUI attorney. If you find a DUI attorney, they can often help get you out of the fix you’re in, especially if it’s your first offense. And if it’s your second, third, or fourth time, they might be able to lessen the punishment you receive, with your full cooperation and commitment. However, driving under the influence is not something to be taken lightly, even if you do find a DUI attorney who can help you out.
What Does Driving Under the Influence Constitute?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and is often interchanged with DWI (“driving while intoxicated”) and OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence). The cut off point is having a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08 if over the age of 21– you may have heard the expression, “0.08, don’t blow it” used. Enforcement varies from state to state and some have a zero tolerance policy for underage drinkers who are operating a motor vehicle as well. In any case, those under 21 who face a DUI charge have a much lower BAC threshold than those over 21. Some states also count driving under the influence of drugs under the DUI sphere and others draw a line between the act of driving while under the influence and operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Either way, driving under the influence of anything is subject to some kind of fine or penalty, no matter what state you’re in.
How Strict Are DUI Laws?
Again, since the enforcement tends to change based on the state, the strictness of DUI laws can change. However, they can be serious enough to give you a criminal record. That in turn, can have a negative influence on job opportunities, your ability to take out loans, and other opportunities that involve a background check of some kind. Other states may take away your license and then charge a reinstatement fee — Ohio, for example, charges a $450 reinstatement fee for just a first time DUI offender. You’ll certainly have points added to your license which rack up quickly. You could also face jail time for as long as six months for a first DUI offense. Fines are also steep — many states will often slap you with a fee that could go up to $1,000.In some cases, there may be a combination of all three, which can get pricey fast. You shouldn’t expect leniency if this is your first DUI offense — it’s taken very seriously by courts.
How Can Finding a Good Attorney Help Me?
If you find a DUI attorney who knows his or her stuff, you may be well on the road to lessening your charges. The best DUI attorney will know state DUI laws and new DUI laws backwards and forwards, which will help you in court. They’ll help protect your rights and make sure you’re being treated fairly. They’ll analyze evidence, like videos, getting in touch with witnesses, and challenging breathalyzer tests, blood tests and urine tests that may have been improperly administered. (If they were done wrong, their results can be found inadmissible in court.) Your attorney would be able to bring forth proof that something had gone wrong with those tests, for example, and get the tests re-examined. They’re well worth the price tag attached to help you perhaps avoid a criminal record or to lower the fines and penalties associated with your DUI.
Although a DUI attorney is not always necessary, it’s often a good idea to have them on your side, especially if it’s your first offense or if you’re an underage driver.