This guide will go over perhaps the biggest concern you have after being pulled over for a DUI: going to jail.
Who can help you understand this process? The first step is to hire the right DUI lawyer. The next vital step is to prepare a strong defense. Jail time does not come with every DUI charge. Let’s find out how you can at the least avoid going to jail and at the most eliminate all charges against you.
Avoiding Jail Time – When Pulled Over
When you’re pulled over, you may think your times behind the wheel are over. You might have not even drank alcohol to an extreme but still think you will get a DUI. Yes, even a little alcohol can affect your ability to drive. But it does not mean you deserve DUI charges and especially jail time. The legal limit is .08% in all 50 states. You will be asked to take a breathalyzer to test for your BAC (blood alcohol content) and then asked some questions. You might even be asked to take a sobriety test.
First, the breathalyzer is not a perfect system. It’s subject to human error. Yes, most of the time the reading is true with an experienced officer, but the most damning evidence is not breath tests but blood tests. Second, you should take the breathalyzer in any case, even if you have been drinking. If you refuse it, most states will immediately punish you by suspending your license. If you were below the limit and refuse, you just lost your license for nothing. And the officer might still have cause to arrest you.
The DUI Lawyer
Your DUI lawyer can explain much of this process to you. It’s his or her job to prove you were not intoxicated while driving. If the breathalyzer reads at .08% or close to it, there can be some doubt on the validity of the test. Your DUI lawyer can take facts like this and more in order to prevent jail time.
Costs of Abusing Alcohol and Drugs and Driving
DUI offenders are punished far worse for multiple offenses. If you have a history, it’s not going to look good for a defense. But you are innocent until proven guilty no matter how many or how few DUI charges you have. If you are charged, that means you face jail time, fines, license suspension, and further penalties. The costs are quite high, making a strong defense quite important.
Even if you are found guilty of drinking or abusing drugs and driving it does not mean you’ll go to jail. The three kinds of criminal laws – infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies – all have a place on the road. Infractions are minor and not used in DUI cases. Misdemeanors are very common for first time offenses, while also sometimes for multiple offenses. Felonies are on the extreme end, with some extended jail time involved; usually you are a multiple offender or you hurt someone.
Because these charges can be so extreme, sometimes your best defense is not winning outright but lessening the charges. In order to do that, you need a good lawyer, evidence contrary to the police report, and a fair judge.
Defining Your Defense
Getting jail time is of course the last thing you want, but it happens. Drinking and driving is too costly not to have harsh penalties. This does not mean you should just plead guilty and forgo the process. If you really want to avoid jail time, it’s time to hire an experienced DUI lawyer and prepare a defense.