If you are charged with a DUI, you have to understand that you have rights and other people on the road have rights. Since 2000, about 10,000 deaths have occurred annually related to drinking and driving. Some estimates, such as by MADD (Mother Against Drunk Driving), go much higher than this. Look at the over 38,000 traffic fatalities in 2008; of these, over 10,000 were a direct result of alcohol.
How can you avoid drinking and driving?
Not drinking and driving may seem to be commonsense. But not every person who drinks and then drives will get into an accident, not every accident will result in a death, and not every death can be proved to be because of alcohol. On the other hand, you have a much higher chance of being in an accident, of being cause of injury or death, and of being charged with drinking and driving. Some of us simply do not know how much alcohol we can take. For some, alcoholism is a problem, but it does not matter once you drive. Reconsider driving after consuming any level of alcohol. Make it a habit to have a designated driver. Save some change every week for a cab. Ask for a ride from a friend or loved one who has not been drinking. These are all much better options. It may be hard to do this in the moment – when you feel fine – so always have a plan. If you are going to drink, decide on how you will get home.
What happens if you get pulled over?
If you get pulled over, it’s not an open and shut DUI charge. You may have made the mistake of driving, but may not be over the limit. If you do get pulled over, it’s time to consider what you will say to the officer. Usually, he or she will want your identifying information, and you may be asked some questions. If you know you are over the limit, you should consider not answering questions related to your drinking; ask for a lawyer instead. This is especially the case if you have a history of DUI charges, which will show up on your record and may lead to some problems.
What happens if you’re in an accident?
With thousands of accidents every year as a direct result of drinking and driving, you may wonder what to do if the unthinkable happens. No matter what, call for help and make sure everyone is okay. Now it’s time to face what really happened. If you are legally intoxicated – over the blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 – you can face some serious charges. If you hurt someone, or if someone dies, you quite often face far more serious charges than a simple DUI. If you continuously drink and drive, if you have a long history, legal representation is crucial.
How do multiple DUI arrests look on your record?
Multiple DUI arrests cost you more than your driver’s license, though not being able to drive might mean you lose your job. You will pay some high fines, likely will face some jail time, will be put on probation, and if someone is hurt, can expect further charges. If you get multiple DUI charges, representation is crucial.
Who can help?
If you are unsure of what to do, if you’re scared, it’s time to consult with a professional. It’s likely you’ll be facing some serious prosecution. If someone was hurt or killed, you may face even more serious charges. Multiple DUI charges can mean months if not years jail time. Hire an experienced lawyer soon – don’t wait to hire a lawyer days before the trial – so you can prepare a strong defense. Simply being charged does not mean you are guilty nor that you will face the maximum charges.