What To Expect After Being Ticketed for DUI

Suspended drivers license california

Let’s get one thing straight: getting caught driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (DUI/DWI) isn’t something that drivers plan on doing, and very few drivers (if any) intentionally get into a car while under the influence, with the hope of causing irreparable damage. Most times, drivers just don’t realize that they’ve had too much to drink until someone else points it out (usually the cop who pulled them over).

Someone who gets arrested on ten different occasions for DUI certainly needs to be stopped (and yep, there are people who have managed that many traffic violations involving alcohol and/or drugs). Those people clearly didn’t learn their lesson the first nine times they were caught. But most drivers learn their lessons much faster. Most drivers realize that they’ve made a mistake, and they understand that it could have had serious consequences (or perhaps it did have some), and they understand that a punishment of some sort is inevitable.

Although traffic regulations all vary from state to state, most states have a legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content (BAC), and once a driver is at that number, he/she is considered “intoxicated.” Some states even have zero tolerance laws, meaning that if a driver is pulled over and has a BAC over .02%, he/she will be penalized for it. Even if the police officer initially pulled the driver over for running a red light or having a broken taillight.

But what exactly happens after being arrested, ticketed, and released?

A court hearing will definitely happen, first of all. While drivers often feel comfortable and confident representing themselves in court for misdemeanor traffic violations, a DWI or DUI often requires a DUI defense attorney, simply because of the serious nature of the crime. Be aware that your sentencing often depends on multiple factors: if you’ve had a DUI before; if you were driving recklessly; if you were caught driving on a suspended license; if you caused an accident and hurt other people or caused significant property damage — it’s all taken into consideration at your DMV hearings.

Sometimes you’ll have a really lenient judge and he/she will see that you really regret your decision to drive while intoxicated — but you should still expect a punishment in the form of fines, points on your driving record, and perhaps extra programs (like rehabilitation or community service). For multiple offenses of DUI, or for a DUI charge that is accompanied by other traffic violations, a judge might decide that jail or prison sentencing is necessary.

Ultimately, it’s important for DUI offenders to be careful and stay informed. A DUI charge is serious, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Great references here.

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