What’s Next After a DUI Charge?

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Driving Under the Influence is a criminal offense involving a person operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Sam Cortez

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Driving Under the Influence is a criminal offense involving a person operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  It could also be referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in some states.

According to Phoenix aggravated DUI attorney at the Law Office of Aaron. M. Black, “Depending on the details of the incident, one could serve time in jail for an aggravated DUI charge.

What Does It Mean to Be Charged With A DUI?

Does being charged with DUI mean I might go to jail or become a felon? This is a common question people ask when facing DUI charges.

The consequences of a DUI offense vary depending on the state where the offense occurred, but one could spend a few days to several years bearing the consequences of a DUI case. Generally, if when driving, you get stopped by the cops and get pulled over based on the suspicion that you may be intoxicated; you’ll be arrested if the cop confirms this suspicion and you may be charged to court

Whether or not you'd serve time, and whether a felony would be put on your record depends on the peculiarities of your case as explored below.

Read also: Egg Freezing: An Option for Late Motherhood

What's Next After A DUI Charge?

Being arrested and charged with DUI is not the end of the world, contrary to most people's beliefs.  Here are things you can do to salvage the situation and gain an advantage in the eyes of the law:

  • Ensure You Comply with The Statutory Chemical Test.

After you've been arrested, it is not wise to refuse to take the chemical test as this is punishable by law. This chemical test would help proffer an accurate reading of your blood alcohol level, alongside other vital metrics. You have absolutely nothing to lose and this way you can avoid future regrets.

  • Contact Your Lawyer

After you've done what is expected of you, the next thing to do is to contact your lawyer. It would even be more beneficial to you if you hire a DUI lawyer. 

This is because the primary elements of DUI laws can be chaotic to navigate and only an good attorney specialized in DUI cases would ensure that you leave this case behind with minimal damage.

  • Apply For A DMV Hearing

Upon DUI arrest, the driver has just 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing. This hearing is usually before a Driver Safety Hearing Officer in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The importance of this hearing cannot be downplayed as this could help in preventing driving license suspension and in retaining other driving privileges. 

A favorable hearing could be achieved by adequate and thorough preparation. It will make all the difference to hire a DUI lawyer for this as they could greatly influence the outcome of the hearing.

Major issues to be addressed in a DMV hearing include:

  • The cogency of the Police officer's reason for charging the driver with DUI

  • The lawfulness of the arrest/charges

  • The BAC of the motor vehicle driver (of which the incriminating standard is 0.08%).

It is worth noting that the DMV hearing is quite different from a court trial. The DMV officers can rescind or modify their decision to limit the driver’s driving privileges but cannot acquit or convict the driver of committing an offense punishable by law.

  • Prepare For Court Hearing

You may be arraigned in court before the judges to plead your cause. 

With the help of a DUI attorney, it is quite possible to fight and win an aggravated DUI case. 

Most times pleading not guilty has proven to be beneficial in a court trial as you'd be able to support your claims, and question other elements of the case effectively.

Is DUI a Felony?

While DUI laws vary from state to state, it is safe to say that most states consider DUI a misdemeanor. At least this holds for a first-time conviction. 

However,  an aggravated DUI is a felony, often involving cases where there is bodily harm or death, property damage, driving with a suspended license, high BAC, and refusal to take a breath test. If found guilty, a felony charge would be put into your record and may remain there indefinitely.

Finally, to prevent getting charged with a DUI, it'd be wise to ensure that you don't drive under the influence. Always appoint designated drivers, friends, or family members if you need to get somewhere while intoxicated. It is important to note that driving under the influence pertains to operating all kinds of motor vehicles including but not limited to motorcycles, electric scooters, boats, and bicycles. Additionally, some jurisdictions may have laws that prohibit operating other types of machinery or equipment while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.