Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Choices and Consequences
All states in the U.S. strictly prohibit driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and other controlled substances. Therefore, some strict measures and policies punish offenders that differ from state to state. The standard penalties for offenders are license suspension, fees, ignition interlock device (IID) installation, fines, a jail term. That is why you need to work with a lawyer to protect your rights. Learn more about your choices and the consequences of driving under the influence.
Consequences of drunk driving
- License suspension: There are chances of having your license suspended if you are arrested for a DUI. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or any other agency seeks to determine whether you were driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more even if you were not convicted in a criminal court. If that is the case, they will suspend your license for a while. According to the state, the period will differ where some suspend it for one month while others could go up to a year.
- Jail time: Like the license suspension, jail time for DUI differs from state to state. Some will sentence you to one day, others three, and some up to a week. Specifically, New Jersey does not have mandatory jail time for the first offense but requires at least 48 hours jail time for a subsequent offense within ten months from the date of the first. The third one could land you a three-month sentence in New Jersey.
- Fees and fines: On top of jail time and license suspension, it is also possible to receive fees and fines. Most states will charge you a $500 penalty and other payments such as court and license-reinstatement fees. The fees could exceed a hundred dollars depending on the state.
- Ignition interlock device: An ignition interlock device requires the driver to blow into a tube as a condition before starting the car. If they are alcohol-free, the car usually starts. Otherwise, the vehicle will not start. The device will require other samples from time to time where it records tests if it detects alcohol.
- Alcohol treatment: in specific states, you could be forced to participate in substance abuse treatment and evaluate at the very end. You will also complete recommended programs after the evaluation.
What are your choices?
Since criminal courts handle these cases, you have three choices at your disposal:
- Represent yourself
- Hire a private lawyer
- Seek representation from a public lawyer
When hiring a lawyer is essential
Sometimes, the first offense is not complicated, and you could choose to represent yourself and take a plea offer. However, this is only recombined if the charges are mild. Otherwise, you should always seek the legal advice and representation of a qualified attorney. This would include the first offense if you were involved in an accident. Call a Hudson County Personal Injury Attorney to discuss your options immediately after you are arrested.