It is a criminal offense punishable by law to drive under the influence of intoxicating substances such as alcohol or drugs. Moreover, it is a common misconception that getting embroiled in a first DUI charge might not carry harsh consequences.
So, even if you are a first-time offender, you may land a strict prison sentence besides a massive court-ordered monetary fine, depending on the gravity and extremity of the accident. Invariably, it is highly critical to seek an expert criminal defense attorney for assistance when you face a drunk-driving charge.
For a clear understanding of what might occur as a consequence of facing your first charge, browse the following information. It may prove to be incredibly beneficial in preparing you to deal with the aftermath more prudently if you are charged.
An overview of a DUI charge
Each state defines Driving Under the Influence (or DUI) charge differently and determines various penalties to bestow the accused with. Generally, it is described as the criminal act of controlling or driving any kind of vehicle while visibly compromised by intoxicating substances. Severe drunk-driving accidents often lead to irreparable financial losses, grievous bodily harm, and even death.
In contrast, a DWI (or Driving While Intoxicated) describes the act of driving vehicles after consuming alcohol over the permitted limit. It does not refer to cases relating to any other intoxicating substance.
Possible consequences of an initial charge
A very first DUI charge is normally considered a misdemeanor by most courts. However, some cases may be deemed as felony charges under certain specific circumstances. The outcomes are influenced by the complexity of the accident, the geographical location, and the attorney’s capabilities.
Nevertheless, the commonest and most standard repercussions for the very first DUI charge are listed below.
- Court-ordered supervision – Several lawbreakers are ordered to be supervised, enabling them to escape harsh financial retribution and jail terms. However, they must follow all the terms of the court’s supervision order unfailingly and without any compromise.
- Financial retribution – The courts may fine offenders up to a whopping $2,500 if convicted under class A misdemeanor. Moreover, it may also ask them to reimburse specific court costs associated with their trial.
- Prison term – Several misdemeanor charges often come with a one-year jail term in county prison. However, this sentence may be drastically reduced if the accused displays good behavior.
- Revoked driver’s license – Most accused have their driver’s licenses suspended once they are convicted of a drunk-driving misdemeanor. Moreover, the court may revoke the suspended driving permit for at least a year if it seems fit to do so.
- Court-ordered help programs – Many courts order first-time drunk-driving convicts to participate in substance abuse treatment-related programs as a mandatory part of their sentencing.
- Greater penalties for extenuating circumstances – The punishment and sentencing can be more severe, and you may face felony charges when there are exacerbating factors, such as the presence of a child in your vehicle during the accident.
The vital importance of a DUI lawyer
Any first-time offender will have ample hope for a better outcome in their DUI case primarily after hiring a capable criminal defense lawyer. That’s because these professionals are armed with unbeatable negotiation skills and unmatched knowledge of the local legislation, new laws, and how courts work. These qualifications help them to mount the best ever defense for their clients and broker reasonable plea deals that can prevent harsh sentences.
Moreover, some attorneys can even prevent the filing of charges in the first place by revealing to the DA or the prosecuting side certain critical aspects of the incident they may not be aware of. Therefore, look for an experienced, trustworthy, and reputable lawyer if you ever find yourself accused in a drunk-driving case. They are more than capable of handling the issue sensitively and with incredible prudence, ensuring you get due justice.