30th November 2020
While no one should drive and drive, everyone deserves the right to an attorney for defense in a DUI criminal case.
If you were involved in an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should think about hiring a DUI defense attorney to represent you in court. They can help lower any fines or sentences you may be given, and will generally help to make the process much smoother for you.
According to the Zebra, more than 25% of traffic related deaths are the direct result of alcohol impairment, so these accidents are very common. They also state that if a drivers blood alcohol content (or BAC) is above .10 they are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident compared to a sober driver. And finally, drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 account for one third of DUI/DWI arrests.
What is a DUI/DWI?
DUI is the acronym from driving under the influence and DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. DUIs can include both alcohol and drug related offenses, while DWI most often refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI, it means that you are being charged for an offense that endangered yourself and others. You may not have actually hurt anyone, but you’re being charged because you could have, and that is considered negligent behavior.
Different states handle these cases differently, but in North Dakota, you can face the following penalties:
- For your first offense, you will receive a fine of $500 if your BAC was below .16, and a fine of $750 (as well as two days of imprisonment) if your BAC was .16 or greater. If your BAC was below .18 you’ll have a 91 day suspension of your license. If it was above .18, your license will be suspended for 180 days. You will also have to go through an addiction evaluation.
- A second offense in seven years will land you in jail for ten days, along with a fine of $1,500 and required participation in a 24/7 program for 360 days. If your BAC was below .18, your license will be suspended for a year. If it was above .18, your license will be suspended for two years.
- Each time you’re arrested for the same offense, the penalties get larger and larger, with higher fines, longer jail time, and a longer suspension of your license.
The Process of Being Arrested
The process for a DUI arrest starts with being pulled over, or evaluated after an accident occurs. You may be asked to perform a field sobriety test, like walking in a straight line or blowing into a breathalyzer. Once the officer has determined that you have been driving under the influence, you’ll likely be handcuffed, arrested, and put into a police car. Your vehicle will likely be impounded or parked in a safe location.
You’ll then be taken to the local police station where you’ll have to go through the booking process This may take a couple hours or even an entire day, depending on how busy the precinct is. Your fingerprints will be taken, a background check will be performed, and your information will be run through the system to see if there are any warrants out for your arrest.
You’ll then be placed in a holding cell, and your bail will be set. Sometimes bail won’t be required, and they’ll release you after a certain amount of time, but it all depends on your specific accident.
If you haven’t had any past offenses, your court appearance will likely be in municipal court. You don’t have the right to a jury, and the decision will be made solely by the judge. You may request that your case be moved to district court, where a jury of six will determine whether or not you are guilty of a DUI.
During your court appearance, your attorney can help you ask for certain pleas, such as asking for community service instead of a jail sentence, or lowering your fine in exchange for DUI classes. Your attorney should be well versed in how DUI court appearances work, and therefore they will be able to negotiate the best plea bargain for you.
There are many penalties that come with being arrested for a DUI/DWI. A DUI conviction can have a large impact on your life, preventing you from using your vehicle, and maybe even losing your job.
Losing Your License
First and foremost, you’ll likely lose your license when convicted of a DUI. The more convictions you have, the longer you’ll lose your license each time. Losing your license is a huge inconvenience, and can prevent you from properly getting to and from work or other commitments. It will also lead to you spending more money on Uber or Lyft to get to where you need to go.
Like losing your license, each time you’re convicted, your fine will go up. The higher your BAC is, the higher your fine will be. These fines can sometimes be negotiated for community service or longer jail time if you simply can’t afford to pay them. Your attorney and the judge can figure out a solution that best fits you.
You may also be required to be on probation for a certain amount of time (depending on whether or not this was your first offense). Probation requires you to report to a probation officer. If you break any laws during this time, you may face further fines, jail time, and longer probation.
An alcohol evaluation is often required if you’ve been convicted of a DUI/DWI. The evaluating party will look at your case, how much you drank, and if you’ve been convicted at all in the past. The higher your BAC was, the more likely they are to recommend that you get treated for alcohol addiction. They’ll ask questions about how frequently you drink and how many drinks it takes for you to feel affected by alcohol. They may also ask about your family history.
Increased Auto Insurance
Getting arrested for a DUI/DWI can also greatly increase your auto insurance when you resume driving after your license probation is over. This is because insurance companies see you as a less trustworthy driver, and someone who’s more likely to get into an accident. Your insurance may increase even more if your DUI caused an accident to occur.
Ignition Interlock Devices
In serious cases, where you may have had a high blood alcohol content level, or maybe a repeated offense, you may be required to put an ignition interlock device into your vehicle before you can drive again. These devices require you to blow into a breathalyzer in order to be able to start your vehicle.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, contacting a DUI defense attorney is your best bet. They’ll help to make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of by the court, and can help to lower your fines, reduce your jail time, and overall get you the best plea bargain possible. Please contact us online using our chat box option or by calling us at 701-609-1510 for more information.