If you are facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, it is crucial to understand that you have options. While a DUI charge is severe, it is not necessarily a conviction. DUI charges can result in a number of different outcomes. The consequences of a DUI depend on various factors, including the severity of the offense, the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred, and the defendant’s prior history. Here are some tips for getting the best possible outcome for your charge.
Hire the right attorney.
Many people facing DUI charges try to represent themselves or choose an attorney who is not an expert in DUI law. This is a mistake. An experienced DUI attorney will know the ins and outs of the law and will be able to negotiate with prosecutors to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Your attorney can also help you understand the charges. A DUI charge can be broken down into two parts: the DUI itself and the per se. DUI is the charge of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The per se is the charge for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. If your BAC is below .08%, you can still be charged with a DUI, but it will be more difficult for the prosecution to prove.
In essence, there are two ways to be charged with a DUI: driving under the influence or having a BAC of .08% or higher. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is vital to have an attorney who understands both aspects of the law.
Check your eligibility for a pre-trial diversion program.
In some cases, first-time offenders may be eligible for a pre-trial diversion program. These programs typically involve completing alcohol education classes and paying a fine. If the defendant completes the program successfully, the charges against them will be dropped.
For example, in Florida, the DUI Pre-Trial Intervention Program requires defendants to complete a Substance Abuse Education course and pay up to a $500 fee. Successful completion of the program will result in the charges being dropped.
Not all states offer pre-trial diversion programs, and not all defendants are eligible for them. However, if you are facing a DUI charge, it is worth checking to see if you qualify for a pre-trial diversion program in your state.
Suggest the use of an IID.
In other cases, the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath. The driver must blow into the device before starting the car. If it detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start. These devices are typically required for a period of six months to one year.
This is an option that is often used for first-time offenders. It allows the offender to continue to drive, but it ensures that they will not be driving under the influence. IIDs can be expensive, typically costing between $75 and $200 to install, plus a monthly fee of $50-$100.
However, many states offer discounts or subsidies for offenders who cannot afford the total cost of an IID. In some states, offenders can get an IID installed for free. In others, the state will pay a portion of the costs.
Pleading guilty is not always the best option.
Many people facing DUI charges simply plead guilty and accept the consequences. This is not always the best option. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor.
Plea deals are typically offered to first-time offenders and those with no prior history of DUI. The prosecutor may agree to reduce the charges or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. For example, the prosecutor may decide to drop the per se charge if the defendant pleads guilty to the DUI.
Plea deals are not always available and are not always in the defendant’s best interests. But even if a plea deal is not an option, there may be other ways to avoid a conviction. In some cases, it may be possible to get the charges dismissed or reduced. Your attorney will know what options are available in your case and will fight for the best possible outcome.
Be prepared for possible jail time.
The most severe consequence of a DUI is jail time. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a first-time offender may be sentenced to 48 hours in jail. However, if there are aggravating factors, such as a high blood alcohol content (BAC) or an accident, the sentence may be increased to 180 days.
In some states, first-time offenders may be eligible for a work release program. This allows the offender to serve their sentence on weekends or at night, so they can continue to work or go to school during the day. Work release programs are typically only available for non-violent offenses.
Either way, it is essential to be prepared for the possibility of jail time if you’re facing a DUI charge. This is because the consequences of a DUI can be serious and life-changing.
A DUI conviction can result in a loss of driving privileges, steep fines, and even jail time. However, there are ways to minimize the damage caused by a DUI charge. By understanding the charges and working with an experienced attorney, you can get the best possible outcome for your case.