I Got a DUI – Now What?
Getting a DUI (driving under the influence) citation can be a scary and anxiety-filled experience, particularly if it’s your first time. But when you consider that nearly 30 people in the U.S. die every day in a DUI-related accident, it’s easy to see why penalties for drunk driving are becoming steeper. Currently, all 50 states enforce a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08. If a driver is found to have a BAC of 0.08 or greater, he or she will likely be arrested and eventually charged with a DUI offense.
Here is a general breakdown of the DUI process after an arrest:
At the time of your arrest, you will be notified of your first court hearing, or arraignment. During the first court appearance, a judge will read the DUI charges against you and you will be required to enter a plea, which can be guilty, not guilty or no contest. At this time, you can represent yourself, hire an attorney or enlist the free help of a public defender (a government-appointed lawyer who can assist those who cannot afford to hire a private lawyer). A guilty plea will result in sentencing on the spot. Entering a no contest plea will result in either sentencing on the spot or setting another court date for sentencing. If you plan to challenge your DUI, you must plead not guilty, and the judge will schedule your case for a trial. The best course of action truly depends on the circumstances surrounding your case.
At the time of the DUI arrest, the police officer usually takes away your license and gives you a notice of suspension along with a temporary license that’s valid for 30 days. You have 10 days immediately following your arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge the license suspension. Keep in mind this process is separate from the court proceedings. If the DMV review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, it may be dismissed. For this administrative hearing, you can represent yourself or have your private lawyer represent you.
Penalties after Conviction
The DUI penalties vary by state and individual, but in general, a first-time conviction may include license suspension, jail time, court fines, probation, DUI education courses and a significant increase in insurance premiums from your insurance company. The penalties for a second- or third-offense DUI are similar but usually steeper. For example, the license suspension period and potential jail time may be longer, the court fees are greater and the DUI education program is longer.
Getting a DUI can seriously impact the price of your auto insurance premium. Luckily, Freeway Insurance specializes in helping people with violations on their driving record find quality insurance plans that will fit their needs. Call (800) 777-5620 to speak with a live agent or get your free car insurance quote online to save big on insurance coverage.