Your First DUI - What You Need to Know
While many DUI offenses are from repeat offenders, most are one-time offenses from those who will likely do their best to avoid running into problems again. The good news is with first time DUI offenses you are usually not facing extreme penalties.
This all depends on what exactly happened in the arrest, how over the limit you were, and if anyone was hurt or in danger. Let's first go over why you were pulled over, then you'll learn how to properly defend yourself in court.
Why were you pulled over?
The officer who pulled you over may not have considered you were drinking, but that is usually the case. Sometimes it's a simple speeding ticket which leads to a DUI when the officer smells alcohol on your breath. If you go across lanes without signaling, come to abrupt stops, run stop signs, or show you're under the influence in other obvious ways, you can be pulled over.
The other why to ask is why are you charged? Over 10,000 people die every year in accidents related to alcohol. State laws are designed to protect drivers and pedestrians on the road.
For a first time DUI, you are still facing some tough charges, especially if you were far over the limit or were in an accident. Typically you can expect a license suspension of 6 months to a year, potentially a few days jail time, fines, and probation. This all depends on what exactly happened. If this is a simple failed breathalyzer test and no one was hurt, you will be punished but not as severely. If you were very drunk and hit someone, that is another story.
Who can help?
You always want to at least consult with legal counsel after getting your first DUI. Many make the mistake of believing they should just plead guilty. However, you should never plead guilty to any criminal charge without the guidance of a lawyer.
You need a professional DUI lawyer. The good news is you have many options. Hire based on experience, price, and how well you communicate with them. Because there are so many, base your decision mainly on their experience in actually beating DUI charges for clients.
What if you get another DUI charge?
The problem is many of us make the same mistakes twice or three times or more. After your first DUI, you should reconsider ever abusing drugs or alcohol again and driving. Do whatever you can to avoid it. If you get further DUI charges, since you can be charged with a felony hiring an experienced lawyer is essential. If you plead guilty after getting second or further DUI, it may mean extended jail time.