You might think that getting a fourth or subsequent DUI isn’t that big of a deal, but it is. If convicted, you’ll face felony punishments, steep fines, the loss of your license for at least three years, and more. You must find the best defense attorney possible. Your future could depend on the quality of the lawyer you choose.
Sand Law attorneys will fight to protect your rights at every turn. We’ll thoroughly investigate your arrest to look for any errors. Even a seemingly minor mistake could result in the dismissal of your case. While we won’t make any promises, we will do everything possible to help you achieve the best possible result. Call 701-609-1510 or contact us online to schedule a free review of your case.
Penalties for a Felony DUI
If you’re convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI in North Dakota within 15 years of your third, that’s considered a class C felony. The penalties are as follows:
- At least a $2,000 fine.
- A prison term of a year plus one day.
- At least two years of probation.
- Mandatory participation in an addiction program.
Will My License be Taken Away for Good?
The time you lose your license will depend on the amount of alcohol in your blood during your arrest. If it was .08% or more, and you’ve previously been convicted of DUI three or more times, you’ll lose your license for two years. If your alcohol level was .16% or higher, you’ll lose it for three years.
You could reduce your suspension through an administrative hearing. But you only have 10 days after your arrest to ask for a hearing. You must hire an attorney as soon as possible. Even if the hearing goes against you, your lawyer could file an appeal to give you a second chance.
Understanding Wrongful Arrest
It’s essential you know that just because police arrested you for DUI, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re guilty. The arrest could be wrongful. Police can only pull you over if you break the law. For example, you ran a stop sign or a red light or drove too fast. Police can also pull you over for weaving in and out of traffic.
There’s a chance you weren’t doing any of that. If that proves to be true, then the police arrested you illegally. The court could throw out your case as a result.
Knowing Your Rights
You still have rights even if the arrest was legitimate. Here are just a few.
- You don’t have to say anything to the police. All you need to tell them is your license number and name.
- You don’t have to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
- You have the right to have a lawyer present when police question you after the arrest.
- Law enforcement can’t perform an unreasonable search of your person or your property.
- You’re also protected from any unreasonable property seizure.
How Can a Defense Attorney Defend You Against a Felony DUI?
An attorney can investigate your arrest and anything that happened afterward. If they find a violation of your rights, they could request the court to drop your case. There could be other circumstances that invalidate the arrest. For example, someone at the bar could have slipped something into your drink.
Having Charges Dropped or Downgraded to a Misdemeanor
Your lawyer will work hard to try to have your arrest thrown out or your penalties reduced. For example, your lawyer could plea bargain with the prosecutor and have your charge dropped from a felony DUI to a misdemeanor. Here are a couple of ways this could happen.
For example, the breathalyzer test could have been faulty. Breathalyzers are notorious for providing inaccurate results. Not only are they often wrong, they often produce false positives. Someone could register a positive test even if they haven’t touched an alcoholic drink. Breathalyzers can also say someone is drunk after taking medicine or eating something.
There’s also a possibility your lawyer could call the results of your field sobriety test into question. Field sobriety tests are just as inaccurate as breathalyzers. This is an outdated method of determining whether or not someone is drunk. If the prosecutor bases their case on a field sobriety test, there’s an excellent chance the court will dismiss that case.
Reducing Sentencing, Fines, and Other Penalties
If your attorney can find flaws in the prosecution’s case, those flaws might not be enough for the court to drop your case. But your lawyer could still have your potential penalties reduced. Your attorney could, for example, ask that the prosecutor reduce your charge from a felony DUI to misdemeanor reckless driving.
This will take a great deal of skill, however. You’ll need an attorney with great experience in cases like yours. Your lawyer will need to know how to investigate to uncover any errors law enforcement officers may have made.
Classes, Community Service, and other Alternative Sentencing Options
A skilled attorney can convince the prosecution to pursue options besides the maximum jail sentence. If convicted, you’ll have to spend a minimum of a year and a day in jail. That’s the mandatory sentence. But you could face as much as five years in prison.
Your legal representative may suggest an evaluation for a substance abuse program or alcohol rehab instead of the harsher jail term. But your attorney will need to have established a strong relationship with prosecutors that they’ll be amenable to reducing your jail time.
Contact a Fargo Felony DUI Defense Attorney Today
The attorneys with Sand Law have those relationships and years of experience representing clients charged with DUI. If you thought the stakes were high regarding your previous convictions, now they’re even higher. You’ll need the best legal representation possible to help you avoid a lengthy prison sentence.
Learn more about Sand Law by contacting us online or calling 701-609-1510 for a free consultation.