In an effort to curtail traffic accidents, almost every state has enacted strict laws penalizing those who are convicted of driving under the influence. According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, every state has made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. However, the potential penalties can vary according to the circumstances of the case as well as a person’s prior criminal history. If you are dealing with DUI charges, then here is what you need to know about what to do next.
Understand the Possible Penalties
In every state, DUI charges are recognized as a serious offense that can be penalized by jail time, fines, and mandatory substance abuse classes. If found guilty, a person may also lose their driving privileges, and they may be required to use a monitoring device on their vehicle once their privileges are reinstated. Generally, the harshest penalties are given to those with extremely high BAC results and those who have prior DUI convictions on their record.
Know Your RightsDealing with a DUI Charge
From the moment you are charged with a DUI until your case has been processed through the courts, you are granted specific rights that must be upheld. One right that is especially important to a DUI case is the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. According to the Cornell University Law School, the U.S. Constitution makes it clear that any statements you provide may not be used in court unless you have waived those rights and refused access to legal counsel. Therefore, requesting an attorney should be the first step you make before admitting guilt or denying the charges.
Handling Your Case
Due to the serious penalties that can be handed down for a DUI conviction, it is important to procure the assistance of an attorney to help you navigate through the court process. At your arraignment, you will be asked to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty, and the decision you make will have a significant impact upon how the rest of the case proceeds. Then, your attorney will use the information they have regarding your case to defend your innocence and negotiate for a settlement that can reduce your penalties.
A DUI conviction can impact every area of your life. In addition to the possibility of incarceration, losing your driving privileges can make getting to work, school and social activities challenging. By understanding what comes next in the process, you can defend your charges with the assistance of an attorney that is experienced in handling DUI cases.