Legal Guide

Driving Under the Influence

Drugs and alcohol can seriously impair a person’s ability to drive safely. If you end up causing an accident or get arrested by a police officer, you could face serious consequences. A DUI offense could result in jail time, fines, and a suspended driver’s license. A conviction could ruin a person’s life and affect their job, family, and future.

The time after an arrest can be a scary and stressful experience. You might not know what your rights are or how to fight the charges against you. You don’t have to handle your legal case alone. You can retain legal services to get those charges dropped or get your entire case dismissed. Your freedom shouldn’t rest in the hands of an inexperienced attorney or public defender. You can hire a knowledgeable attorney who will exhaust all resources to create the right defense strategy and fight for your freedom.

What Is DUI?

According to DUI laws, it is illegal to operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in these circumstances:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher;
  • You are under the influence of an intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds;
  • You are under the influence of alcohol;
  • You are under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs;
  • You are under the influence of combined drugs, alcohol, or intoxicating compounds;
  • You have any amount of a compound, substance, or drug in the blood, breath, or another bodily substance after illegally consuming a controlled substance, methamphetamine, or an intoxicating compound; or
  • You have a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration in the blood or another bodily substance within two hours of operating a vehicle or being in actual physical control of it.

If you were arrested or charged with DUI, you must take specific steps to protect your rights. The arresting officer should read your Miranda rights to you and follow a particular procedure when booking you into jail. Any violation of your rights could be an excellent defense in your case. You might be in a position for your defense attorney to negotiate a plea deal or even get the charges dropped if the procedures are not followed.

Possible Penalties of A DUI Conviction

You might have your driver’s license suspended automatically under the statutory summary suspension. This occurs after a DUI arrest and if the offender fails, refuses to submit to, or fails to complete a chemical test for drugs or alcohol in their system. A first offense comes with a one-year suspension. If it’s a person’s second or third offense, they could face a five or ten-year suspension. Additional DUI arrests may prevent the driver from reinstating their driver’s license.

You could request a judicial hearing within 90 days of losing your license. If the court rules in your favor, you could get your license back without going through the required suspension period. However, if you were involved in a car accident that caused severe injuries or death, the Secretary of State's office could revoke your license and prevent you from requesting a hearing if they receive sufficient evidence of your crime from the State’s attorney.

Your prison sentence and fines will depend on the circumstances of your case. Sentencing guidelines for DUI are:

  • First offense – Maximum of one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
  • Second offense – No more than one year in prison or up to two years probation and $2,500 in fines.
  • Third offense – Up to seven years in prison or four years probation with a mandatory jail sentence of 90 days and a maximum of $25,000 in fines.

If the DUI offense resulted in bodily harm to another person, sentencing could be between one and twelve years in prison. If someone died, the prison sentence could be between three and fourteen years.

Zero tolerance laws provide special sentencing for anyone under 21 years old convicted of DUI. They include:

  • Statutory summary suspension of driver’s license up to two years.
  • Maximum of one year in jail for a first-time offender.
  • No more than a $2,500 fine.

A DUI conviction not only takes away a person’s freedom but also disrupts their future. If you spend time in prison, you could face many challenges upon your release. You might have a hard time finding a job or a place to live. You could also lose certain rights, such as the ability to vote or carry a firearm.

Defend Your Rights and Future

Criminal defense attorneys, such as the ones from [firm-name], represent individuals arrested, charged, or convicted of misdemeanor and felony offenses. When you’re facing a possible prison sentence and expensive fines, you need someone in your corner to fight for you.

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