An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) is a humbling, embarrassing and frightening experience —especially for individuals who have never before faced charges relating to drunk driving. Police all over the country pull over drivers every night on suspicion of DUI. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were over 1.4 million DUI arrests in 2010. However, many of these arrests are later thrown out because of breathalyzer machine malfunctions or inaccurate field sobriety testing, among other reasons.
While all states have a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for determining DUI, it should be noted that drivers under the influence of other illegal substances such as marijuana can also be charged with DUI. The penalties for a DUI arrest vary by state, but the charges are taken very seriously in each one. Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates that someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 53 minutes.
If you have been recently arrested for your first DUI, it is in your best interest to immediately contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your case. While a first offense DUI is typically classified as a misdemeanor, you still face possible fines, suspension of your driving privileges, and maybe even jail time. A DUI lawyer can review your arrest and determine if there were any errors in police procedure that might invalidate your arrest.
Most DUI defense attorneys provide free initial consultations. You can use this meeting to talk about your arrest and get a better understanding of the charges you are facing. Additionally, you may also find yourself a little more at ease after you have received knowledgeable legal advice. While there are frequent or heavy drinkers who are arrested multiple times for DUI, there are also people who have been charged for driving while intoxicated despite having only a couple of drinks.
Many people facing charges for their first DUI offenses do not fully understand their rights—during and after the arrests. You deserve to know is your rights were violated. A few of the reasons that charges in many first DUI offenses end up being dropped include:
- Breath test issues, including unapproved instruments, expired licenses, or additional substances that produced inaccurate reading
- Failure to inform suspect of Miranda rights
- Health or medical conditions
- Illegal searches
- Inaccurate police blood test
- Inconsistent statements by arresting officers
- No probable cause for stop
- Non-standardized field sobriety tests
- Police misconduct
- Private property arrests
- Rising blood alcohol level, meaning a BAC was higher when the test was taken than it was when the vehicle was being driven
- Weather effects on driving or testing
Time is the most critical aspect of building a defense if you’ve been arrested for your first DUI offense. You will want to contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible to begin accumulating all of the facts of your case well before your first court date. Before you ask for a public defender’s help in pleading guilty, you owe it yourself to explore all of your legal options with an experienced DUI attorney who has handled hundreds of cases in your area and fully understands the court system.