Important Things You Should Know When Facing A DUI Charge
An arrest for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence) can be quite stressful and scary. However, knowing what you can expect from this process will greatly help you in dealing with your case. DUI laws are governed by specific state laws. Therefore, some details may differ depending on where you were arrested. But, regardless of these minor details, there are some key basics of every DUI case you should know.
Once your arraignment is over, you should waste no time and hire a great DUI defense firm in Jacksonville as soon as possible. Now, if you cannot afford a professional attorney, a general public defender will be appointed to help you with the case. However, you should keep in mind that no public defender will be able to match the experience and expertise of a professional attorney. Also, since DUI laws usually vary from state to state, you will need an expert who specializes in your jurisdiction. Once you have hired your legal defender, you will have the following options:
- Request a jury trial
- Request a trial before the judge
- Plead guilty
- Try to bargain for a lesser charge
Dealing with the charge
Fighting a DUI charge is anything but a simple battle. If you are caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, you will face a DUI conviction, even if you don’t exhibit impaired behavior. In that case, your DUI attorney will attempt to challenge these results. Keep in mind that the higher your alcohol level, the lower your chances of winning the case are.
However, if your blood alcohol level was within or below the limit, an experienced DUI attorney will most likely be able to help you win the case. Before the trial, you should also discuss with your attorney the facts of your case and whether it would be better to be served by a jury trial or a judge. This and the varying elements of DUI offenses will greatly affect your chances of beating your charge.
Driving while under the influence, even as a first offense, is considered a serious crime, with the penalties that reflect its severity. Some of the penalties include:
- Licence suspension
- Various prison sentences
- Severe financial fines
- Community service
- Vehicle impoundment
- House arrest
- Participation in alcohol abuse treatment programs
Of course, the severity of the penalties will depend on the alcohol content level you had when stopped and arrested. The sentences can be even more severe if you are a repeat offender or if someone was killed or injured as a result of your driving.
The role of your attorney
Given how complex DUI cases can be, as well how serious the penalties can be, you should always have a professional DUI attorney by your side, when faced with DUI charges. Of course, a good attorney will always strive to help you beat a DUI charge completely. However, due to the typical strength of the evidence, most of them will guide you through the entire process and try to alleviate the severity of the punishment. Keep in mind that dealing with a DUI charge on your own will not only be a very stressful experience but will also certainly result in the harshest possible sentences.