About 1.5 million people were arrested each year on average for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That translates to one out of every 121 licensed drivers being arrested for drunk driving.
As a driver, you are responsible for operating your vehicle safely and within the law. If you choose to drink and drive, you risk yourself and others. Not only are you endangering lives, but you are also subjecting yourself to legal consequences.
What are the consequences?
It is against the law to drive a motor vehicle while under alcohol, with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more in most nations. If you are caught driving with a BAC over the legal limit, you will face penalties. Here are the consequences you may face if convicted of driving under the influence.
However, calling a professional DUI lawyer is essential to ensure that you get the appropriate penalty for your action. Your attorney can help to investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and ensure that your rights are protected.
License Suspension or Revocation
One of the first penalties you will face if convicted of drunk driving is a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Depending on your state and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), your license may be suspended for a set period or revoked permanently. A first-offense DUI may result in a license suspension of up to one year.
In addition to a license suspension, you will be required to pay fines if convicted of DUI. The fine will vary from state to state, but you can expect to pay several hundred to several thousand dollars. If you are a repeat offender, the penalties will be even higher.
You may also be sentenced to spend time in jail if convicted of DUI. The amount of time you will serve will depend on the severity of the offense and whether you have any prior convictions. A first offense DUI may result in a few days to several months in jail, while a repeat offense may result in a year or more.
Another common sentence for DUI conviction is community service. You will be required to perform a certain number of community service hours, which may increase if you are a repeat offender.
Alcohol Treatment Program
As part of your sentence, you may also be ordered to participate in an alcohol treatment program. This may be a mandatory program you must complete or an optional program you can choose to participate in.
What to do if you get arrested
Getting arrested for DUI can be a frightening experience. If you are arrested, here are the things to remember:
Stay calm and be polite
Staying calm and being polite to the arresting officer can go a long way in helping your case. Yelling, arguing, or resisting arrest will only make things worse. Cooperate with the officer and answer any questions truthfully.
Do not resist arrest
Resisting arrest will only add to the charges against you and worsen your situation. If the officer tells you you are under arrest, calmly go with them.
Request an attorney
Do not say anything to the police until you have an attorney present. If you are arrested for DUI, exercise those rights and request an attorney immediately. Your lawyer can protect your rights and help you navigate the legal system.
Don’t agree to a field sobriety test
You are not required to agree to a field sobriety test, and it is often in your best interest to decline. These tests are designed to be difficult, even for sober people, and they are often used as evidence against you in court.
Don’t take a breath test
You may also be asked to take a breathalyzer test to determine your BAC. You have the right to refuse this test, but doing so may result in automatic license suspension. Talk to your attorney to determine if taking the test is in your best interest.
Say as little as possible
Remember, you don’t have to say anything to anyone until you have an attorney present. Even if you are polite and cooperative, anything you say can and will be used against you. So, it’s best to say as little as possible until you have legal representation.
The bottom line
DUI arrests are serious business, and you need to take them seriously. If you are convicted of DUI, you will face significant penalties that can impact every aspect of your life. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact a DUI lawyer immediately to protect your rights and fight for your freedom.