Many times, various questions arise when a family member is charged with a DUI. It is always good to know the law and one’s rights in case something like this happens. Being charged with a DUI or DWI can require jail time or simply a fee, depending on the circumstances and state law. If a defendant is established guilt and aggravating circumstances can be proven, the penalties can be severe.
When looking at all states, a first offense DWI or DUI can be classified as a misdemeanor, and the defendant might serve up to six months in jail. Many times, the jail time may be increased. Each state has the authorization to command more severe punishment for a DUI or DWI offense when the blood alcohol content is very higher than the legal limit of 0.08% at the time of the arrest.
When a driver is charged with a third or fourth DUI offense or the driver has injured or killed someone while under the influence, the DUI will be classed as a felony, or an offense, and is punishable with a jail time of several years.
There are alternative forms of punishment that a number of states courts may include or combine with other penalties in regards to a defendant sentence, especially if he or she is a repeat defender. Some of the alternative punishments include alcohol teaching and prevention plans, treatment for the abuse of alcohol, assessment to see whether the defendant is dependent on drugs or alcohol, victim restitution and community service. In many cases, the judge recommends these alternative punishments if it is the defendant’s first offense.
One of the biggest repercussions of being charged with DUI is license suspension. In many states, the license of a first-time offender is suspended for 90 days, a second offense is the suspension of 12 months and a third offense leads to a license suspension of three years. If you refuse to take a urine test, breathalyzer or blood test to test your BAC, you also stand the chance of losing your license, regardless whether you are guilty or not, in addition to other penalties that includes fines, in many states.
A legal question that is often asked when charged with DUI is whether you are entitled to talk to a DUI lawyer like Peters Associates before taking any of the BAC tests. The answer depends on where you live. If you live in California, you do not have the right to call a lawyer before taking the tests, but if you live in Washington, you do. The best legal advice is to find out what states law applies to the state you live in regards with DUI and DWI.