While drinking and driving is known to be a dangerous behavior, a DUI is still one of the most frequent criminal offenses. Many people seem to think that drinking a few beers and getting behind the wheel for a 10-minute drive home can do no harm, but truth be told, getting a DUI can affect your life in more ways than you can imagine.
It’s not just about getting a fine or having your driving privileges suspended. A DUI also means court appearances, paying higher insurance premiums, or being forced to go to DUI school, to correct your behavior. All of these things mean money and, above all, time lost. If you are someone looking to build their career, spending that much time worrying about court hearings or doing community service can really slow down your professional growth. But, before going into the many ways a DUI can affect your life, do you know how a DUI is issued?
Who can get a DUI?
DUI (driving under the influence) is a criminal offense that translates into operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. By drugs, I don’t only mean recreational drugs, but also prescription medications that can affect your driving skills, as well as over-the-counter drugs. “Many people believe that they can only get a DUI while driving a car, but in some states, you can get a DUI while driving farm machinery, a carriage, riding a horse, or driving a golf cart.” explains a DUI attorney San Diego based.
While every case can have its particularities, here’s what usually happens when a police officer stops you if they suspect you have been driving under the influence:
For a police officer to pull you over, they need to have probable cause that you violated the law. With a DUI, it usually happens because of traffic violations, or signs of impairment. As little as a broken taillight can get you pulled over and questioned. If you believe the police had no probable cause to stop you, don’t argue with them now. When your case is taken to court, you can bring a motion to suppress, which can lead to the case being dropped entirely., But this can happen only if the police had no visible reason to pull you over.
Usually, after being pulled over, the police will ask for your license and registration and watch for signs of impairment. These signs can be anything from not being able to carry out a conversation, or the smell of alcohol coming from your car. These observations will be written in the police report.
The police officer will probably ask you if you had anything to drink. You may think you can get away by telling them you had a beer or half a glass of wine for dinner, but the officers have been hearing this excuse for ages, and they are surely not going to stop questioning you after such an answer. Do remember that you have the right to remain silent, and you can exercise that right if you think it may work out in your favor. After the questioning, be aware that the police can also search your car if they have probable cause to believe that incriminating evidence can be found inside.
If their suspicion is being confirmed, the police can also ask the driver to perform a set of roadside tests, to further prove if you have, indeed, been drinking. These tests can include field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer.
After this process, the police will have to draw out a report in which they describe what happened. This report can help your attorney build the defense and determine weaknesses in the state’s case. But before the case is built, you will also need to take a chemical test, to measure the exact amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. If you
How Much Will Driving Under the Influence Costs You?
You may be thinking that the expenses of a DUI are only consisting in the court fines and the attorney commission, but in reality, you have much more to worry about. If you have been found guilty, you can end up paying between a few thousand, to as much as $30,000.
Amongst the expenses, you will have to pay for the blood test, the jail fee, any counseling that the court may force you to attend, license reinstatement, as well as bail costs, if you get detained. The attorney fees depend highly on the severity of your case, but, no matter how innocent you think you may be, we recommend never going to court without legal representation. Your insurance premium will also increase, so you need to take that into consideration when measuring costs. If your driving has caused any accidents or injuries, the costs can increase enormously.
How Will a DUI affect your life?
Besides costs, that can really put you in financial trouble, a DUI can also severely affect all aspects of your life. First, you will have to attend court hearings and meetings with your lawyer, which are extremely time-consuming and nerve-wracking. If you have to serve community hours or time in jail, your work schedule and career can be severely affected. Some employers have strict rules when it comes to their employees’ criminal record, which can end up leaving you unemployed.
After a DUI arrest, your friends and family may end up worrying that you have a substance abuse problem. Even if you don’t, you may end up feeling embarrassed for such a situation and distance yourself from them. If you are, indeed, struggling with substance abuse, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Open up to someone you trust and ask them for help. Chances are, your loved ones will be more than happy to assist you and help you get back on the right track.
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