No one ever prepares for a DUI. In most cases, first-offenders are caught after having a couple drinks, not realizing that they are actually over the limit. While multiple DUI offenders will face more serious consequences, first-time offenders should also know what to expect so that they can best protect their rights. If you are a first-time drunk driving offender in Alabama, remember that you can challenge law enforcement allegations to minimize charges and penalties in your case. Increased enforcement through the upcoming holiday period will ensnare many borderline drivers and first-time defendants.
Whether you realize it or not, law enforcement officials were gathering evidence to use against you even before your arrest. They likely took note of your driving patterns, documented any traffic violations, and may have already consulted with witnesses about your whereabouts. To get a leg up in defending yourself, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Our Birmingham DUI lawyer will take a comprehensive approach to your case to review evidence presented against you, challenge police allegations, and explore every legal opportunity to protect your rights.
Here’s what you can expect after a DUI arrest:
Criminal charges: A first-time DUI arrest in Alabama will generally have the same consequences you will face in other states. You will be criminally charged for driving under the influence. Charges may be more severe if you were driving with children, broke other laws, or were involved in an accident that caused injuries.
Department of Motor Vehicles licensing issues: In addition to your criminal charges, you will have to deal with the potential suspension or revocation of your license. An experienced advocate can explore options to protect your license.
Prosecution: Alabama generally prosecutes defendants either according to the level of your impairment or by blood-alcohol content level. To prove impairment, law enforcement officers must show that the driver was unable to safely operate a vehicle. To prosecute by BAC, law enforcement officers must prove that you were over the legal limit of .08%. Even if you were not physically impaired, an officer can still file charges based on BAC.
Trial: At trial, law enforcement officers will be presenting evidence against you, including police reports, witness statements, blood, urine or breathalyzer test results, field sobriety test results and other indications of impairment. An experienced advocate is necessary to challenge the evidence and to ensure that no evidence was illegally obtained and presented against you. An expert witness may be called to challenge the prosecution’s case.
Penalties: If you are a first-time offender convicted of DUI, you will likely be fined and face a maximum 1-year jail sentence. You may also lose your license for 90 days. Courts may also order a mandatory substance abuse program.
Some defendants are victims of unfortunate circumstances. You may have pulled over because you were too drunk to drive, but left the keys in the vehicle. Even in these cases, you can still get charged with DUI because you technically had “physical control of the vehicle.” Every case is unique and requires the thorough review of an attorney. If you have been pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, you should consult with legal counsel as soon as possible. The facts of your case are critical to challenging the evidence presented against you.
More Blog Entries:
New DUI Defense: Too Drunk to be Prosecuted? Oct. 12, 2013, Birmingham Underage DUI Defense Lawyer Blog
Police Background in Birmingham DUI Cases Can be Key, Oct. 9, 2013, Birmingham DUI Lawyer Blog