Getting a DUI is stressful even if it is your first, since this is a criminal charge that can carry severe consequences. The days after your arrest are important since you will need to start planning for your defense at your approaching court date. The following can help answer some of your questions on what to expect during your first DUI.
Will your license be suspended immediately?
This depends upon the state. Some states suspend a license as soon as the charges are brought against you unless you file for a stay against the suspension. In this case, you may need to show the motor vehicle department that you need your license for work or vital personal reasons.
Is a DUI a felony?
The type of charge depends on the state and the conditions of your DUI. A first time offense is a felony in some states and a misdemeanor in others. In other states, your blood alcohol level may determine whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor. The circumstances around the arrest also impact the charges. For example, driving at excessive speeds or being involved in an accident may elevate the crime to felony status.
Is there mandatory jail time?
Some states have mandatory jail sentences, even for first time offenders. This can be for as little as 24 hours, and often the time served during the arrest counts toward this sentence. You may also be sentenced to additional time during sentencing. Community service or treatment may also be required in lieu of time served.
Can you get a DUI for prescription medications?
Yes, especially if you knowingly drove despite knowledge of the side effects. Being prescribed a medication doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility of not getting behind the wheel while impaired. If you were unaware that the medication could affect your driving and can prove that you were not told to avoid being behind the wheel, you may be able to defend yourself against the DUI.
Should you enter a treatment program?
Your attorney may recommend that you begin a treatment program immediately, before your court date. This can help show the court that you are being responsible and addressing any problems, which can help lower your sentence or aid in avoiding additional jail time. Entering treatment is not usually seen as an admission of guilt.
For more help with addressing your DUI, contact a DUI defense attorney in your area.