After a Happy Hour that turned into a couple of hours, you grabbed your keys, said goodbye to your co-workers, and walked to your car. Feeling “buzzed” you decided to take the route home you know well. Halfway home you saw flashing lights behind you and were pulled over by a cop. He said you didn’t make a full stop at the stop sign; you have no recollection.
He asked you if you have been drinking, you tell the truth, “a few,” and he asked you to get out of the car. You passed the Field Sobriety Test but failed the Breathalyzer. You are now facing a DUI conviction.
No one plans on getting a DUI, but it can even happen to the people who just “have a few” after work with some friends. Without a doubt, drinking and driving is a serious offense that can lead to accidents and put lives at risk; it can also be life-changing for those who are convicted.
It’s important to remember that a DUI conviction varies and depends on the circumstances and the state in which you live. Here are some general steps to take if you’ve been convicted of a DUI:
Whether it’s your first DUI or a subsequent offense, seeking legal advice is always a good idea. Unless you have a strong legal background and thoroughly understand your state’s laws concerning DUIs, find an attorney you like and can trust. If you’re on the fence about hiring one, most attorneys offer a free consultation.
If you do decide to hire an attorney, he or she will help you understand all the details of your case and explain all possible consequences. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, but it depends if you go to court and how you plea.
Go to Court
If you have a court hearing, don’t skip out. Some people, facing a conviction, miss their court date and face more trouble later on. It’s not worth the extra legal issues. Whether you’re pleading guilty or not, go to court.
Consider Alternate Punishments
If you have clearly violated your state’s drunk driving laws and have been convicted of a DUI, your best option is to face the consequences. An attorney will help you determine whether or not you truly violated the law. As a first time offender, you are likely to be given a hefty fine, a suspension of your license, and maybe even jail time.
Depending on the details of your conviction, your judge may offer, recommend, or enforce alternativepunishments for your DUI conviction. In some cases, he or she may offer these as a substitute or “credit” towards jail time or fines.
We’ve all seen the courtroom dramas where the defendant acts out and is charged with “contempt of court.” It makes for good tv, but it will never be in your favor if you fail to cooperate. Believe it or not, a bad attitude won’t help you out when you’re facing a DUI conviction.
The best step to take, once you’ve been convicted of a DUI, is to never put yourself in the situation to get a subsequent DUI.