If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) you may want to plead guilty and put the charges behind you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, not understanding current DUI laws can cost you time and money. This blog will address the top five mistakes and misunderstanding that drivers make after a drunk driving arrest.
1. You may lose your license even if you are NOT convicted of drunk driving.
Avoiding a drunk driving conviction may not protect you from a license suspension. States have created administrative license penalties for drivers who refuse to take a chemical test if asked to do so by law enforcement or for drivers who submit to the chemical test but have a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08%. This means that even if you avoid a DUI conviction it could be possible to have your license suspended under a state’s administrative license suspension laws, potentially up to one year.
2. Some states do not allow drivers to expunge a DUI conviction from their driving record.
Although states have various “look back” laws which may not allow the courts to use a previous DUI conviction to enhance penalties for a second or third DUI (assuming the first DUI arrest was far enough in the past), many states do not allow a DUI conviction to be expunged from a driver’s record. This means years after a DUI arrest the arrest will remain on your driving record and could impede future employment opportunities or licensing.
3. You will have to pay high fines and penalties.
DUI fines and penalties have increased over the years. Gone are the days of a small fine and a slap on the wrist for drunk driving. With the increased lobbying efforts of groups such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) or politicians lobbying their state legislatures, a drunk driving conviction is going to cost you.
4. States notify other states of drunk driving charges.
Many drivers do not realize that if they are arrested for drunk driving in one state the arrest information is generally sent to their home state, and if they face an administrative license suspension or they are convicted of drunk driving, their driver’s license will be suspended in their home state, even if the arrest occurred in another state.
5. You can be arrested for DUI even if you are not driving.
Drunk driving laws can be confusing, and they can vary by state. Drivers often assume because the charge is drunk DRIVING they have to be driving their car to be arrested. Many drivers assume pulling to the side of the road and “sleeping it off” can keep them from getting a DUI, but in many states the prosecutor must only prove that you have actual physical control of the car. So if you are asleep with the keys in the ignition or on your person, the state may only need to prove that you had the ability to drive, even if you are not driving at the precise moment they arrest you.