Driving under the influence (D.U.I.) can be a very expensive and very serious crime for anyone convicted. The process is a long, humiliating and costly price to pay in order to get back your driver’s license. This doesn’t just include the overnight stay at a local police station or the initial fine you are given to pay off. It’s going to include mandatory education programs, evaluating your current alcohol consumption and paying higher insurance. There may also be additional coverage depending on which state in. This could include an ignition interlock device to prevent repeat drinking and driving. Let’s take a general overview of the process of what it’s like having been charged with DUI.
Being Arrested and Booked
The first and most immediate process is that you will be arrested, put into the back of a police officer’s car and will be escorted to the nearest police station or jail. Once you reach your destination, the officers will go through the process of booking you for DUI. This includes taking your photograph (also known as mug shot), being fingerprinted and asked a series of questions (which you can decline before talking with your attorney).
The process for bail can vary between state. You could be immediate released if someone comes to pay your bail, but depending on the state you may have to stay for a period of time until you are sobered up. It is a long, drawn out task that can be potentially humiliating as you will be potentially next to other people arrested for
You will have been given a ticket of a summons during the process of your arrest to attend a court date for driving under the influence. You will be asked to comply with the charges. Depending on the circumstances, you maybe be able to fight back the charges with your attorney. This will most likely be unadvised for most cases as a field sobriety test will have been recorded through the officer’s dashcam and any other compelling evidence will be used against you. It is best to listen to what your lawyer has to say about the case before making any rash decisions about the charges.
Loosing Your Driver’s License
Your driver’s license will be revoked, even for a first time conviction in all states. There are some exceptions in some states that allow a hardship license in the meantime which limits you to drive home, to school and or to your workplace. Your license can also be revoked prior to your court hearing in certain states if you refuse a field sobriety test, breathalyzer and or blood test.
If you are convicted of driving while under the intoxication of alcohol, your sentence will include paying off a court fine. While DUI fines have a set minimum and maximum charge that be ordered, this fine can also include any additional violations under the same instance of your DUI arrest. This could include resisting arrest, destruction of property or any other violation you may have committed during the before being released. On top of these fines, you may also have to pay the court processing costs for your case in most states
Additional Jail time
Jail time has become a growing mandatory process across the country, even for first time violators. Typical first offender jail time requires one to two days on a weekend, who will be held in jail alongside other violators with similar circumstances. In most states, repeat offenders will have to attend jail time for longer than two days, which can also be increased by additional penalties associated your case.
You may not have to attend jail if you are a first time offender, however you will have to agree to the terms of your probation sentence if given one. These probation terms will be given to you by your judge with specified dates for you to attend. If you do not meet the demands of the probation, you will definitely be sent to jail for failing to meet the requirements.
The probation process is also another additional cost. Your probation will include a monthly fee for the supervision and administration of your probated sentence. Avoiding the charges or the probation will only make the situation worse.
Drunk Driving School
In order to get your driver’s license back, you will have to go through and complete a drug and alcohol education program. This drug and alcohol educational program is required for almost all states if you ever want to legally drive again. Known as Drunk Driving School, these classes involve spending hours learning drunk driving prevention and being evaluated for your drinking habits. The classes are an additional fee separate from your previous court fines.
A councillor will help assess your alcohol consumption habits in order to evaluate if you have a case of alcohol abuse disorder. This includes asking a series of questions to determine how alcohol has been affecting your life and your habits. Depending on the results, you maybe entitled to a court approved alcohol treatment program before gaining back your license.
This might have been expected, but your auto insurance will also take a hit by increasing your monthly payments. In most states it is required to have an SR-22 policy before being allowed to drive. This policy can be double or up to triple the amount of your premium while also being required to hold to up to three years.
Ignition Interlock System
A growing policy among states has been the installation of an ignition interlock system. An ignition interlock system requires a driver to have alcohol free breath before being able to start the car, similar to how a breathalyzer works. In some states, this has become a mandatory among first time offenders. This device comes with an installation cost and a monthly fee, which can also be quite expensive.
Avoiding the situation
The best advice you can get is learning how to avoid the situation entirely. Have a designated driver or a cab driver ready to pick you up if you find yourself intoxicated. Even better is learning to become the designated driver without having touched any alcohol yourself. This can be appreciated from your company while also helping to avoid a DUI.
Possibly the worst thing you can do is believe that you think that you are able enough to drive and end up hurting other people in the process. Nearly 1 in 3 vehicular deaths are caused by drunk driving yearly, that roughly equates to 10,000 people. Learn your rights.