Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is serious offense. Yet, many of us tend to underestimate our tolerance when it comes to drinking and driving. Maybe you had a couple of beers at dinner and think that you were unaffected. Or maybe you have gone through a sobriety checkpoint unscathed and this has made you overconfident. But according to the DUI Justice Link of the American Automobile Association (AAA), drunk driving was linked to 31% of auto accident fatalities in 2014. Let’s assume you have lived through the incident, then here are some tips to make sure a DUI does not ruin your life.
The first thing that you need to know about DUI is that they are considered criminal offenses today. In more serious cases you could be looking at significant jail time and possibly be open to lawsuits from the victims.
Both can impact your financial future, and in some cases your ability to get a passport or visas needed to travel internationally. As such you need to keep a clear mind when dealing with a DUI charge. One of the first step is to retain an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
According to Joseph M. Annutto, a DUI lawyer at Annutto Law Office, ‘there are many defense options when facing a DUI charge and you want a lawyer who will explore your case and give you the personal attention you deserve.’
This is important as no two DUI cases are the same. Maybe this is your first DUI and no one was hurt, or maybe it is a repeat offense and someone was hurt or even killed. As you can see the circumstances are different and you will need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process.
This includes reviewing the evidence connected to your DUI arrest such as the testimony of the arresting officer and the results of your field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. If the case goes to trial, then your attorney present facts which create reasonable doubt about the evidence presented by the prosecution. This include looking at mitigating circumstances which could either result in an acquittal or reduce your sentence.
The consequences of a DUI conviction include a fine, a suspended sentence, and possibly community service or jail time. You might also have to deal with lost time at work and this will need to managed to make sure that a DUI does not impact your job.
Did you know that some states allow those with a DUI conviction to get a ‘restricted’ license? This will allow you to drive to and from work and is important to make sure that a DUI does not completely disrupt your life. However, this is not an automatic process and you will need a lawyer to walk you through the process.
Remember don’t drive on a suspended license as this could lead to further legal issues and additional fines. If your state does not issue restricted licenses, then consider alternative ways to get around. This could include carpooling, Uber, or even a bicycle.
Another way in which a DUI can ruin your life is the fine. In some states, the fine can be $1,000 or more. This is a hefty sum, one which most people can’t afford. As such, you want to make sure you have worked out with your lawyer what the fine will be and that you have a plan to pay the fine within the deadline.
Maybe you will need to borrow the money from friends or take a cash advance on your credit card. Either way, you want to make sure you have a plan to repay what you borrowed as soon as possible. Failure to do so risks your friendship, or, in the case of cash advances, could lead to expensive fees and interest payments.
Don’t let a DUI ruin your life. Get an experienced DUI defense lawyer, have a plan for work to make sure the court case does not cause too much of a disruption, contact your DMV, and have a plan to pay the fine. Lastly, look at your DUI as warning. Learn from it and make sure you change the behavior which got you into trouble in the first place.