Driving under the influence (DUI) or Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is unfortunately a very common occurrence. Sadly as many US cities have few public transportation options, many people are finding themselves in the driver seat when they are incapacitated and unable to make sound judgments due to drugs or alcohol. Statistics from the FBI for 2014 show that there were over 1 million arrest related to DUI.
No longer just a meaningless statistic, you find yourself faced with a DWI arrest. The days following your arrest for DWI are full of uncertainties. There are many unknowns such as how will this affect by future record, what implications will there be for my insurance and how will the legal proceedings go? Not to mention, how much will all of this cost?
In the days following your arrest and release, you will receive many solicitations from lawyers in the mail. You may believe that you cannot afford legal assistance but the reality may be that you can’t afford not to. What are some of the advantages of having a legal representative?
Firstly, depending on what evidence has been collected against you will determine if you plead guilty or not-guilty. A lawyer can help you to evaluate what you are up against and which plea will have the least damaging repercussions. There are also differing laws according to state and a lawyer can help you to understand how your individual case will be treated in the courts. Some factors that will affect your case are your blood alcohol level, whether or not there were any minors in the vehicle with you and if you were involved in an accident.
Secondly, whether this is your first offence or are you a repeat offender, you could be looking at very hefty fines and prison. Therefore, it would be wise not to go the proceedings without legal representation.
You will be required to appear in court for your arraignment hearing which is when you will put in your plea of guilty or not guilty. Your lawyer can advise you on what plea to put in. If you plead not guilty there will be further court hearings to weigh the evidence and then the final sentencing.
If the charges are dropped:
Best case scenario, your case could be dropped or charges reduced. This could happen if the arresting officer did not have just cause to pull over your vehicle. Even if your lawyer was able to successfully get your charges dropped, you will still be responsible for the court costs and your lawyers fees. In order to have charges reduced, you may be required to attend a DWI class. The focus of this class would be to modify future behaviors and to impress on the student the negative consequences of impaired driving.
If the charges stick:
The DWI will permanently be on your criminal record and will be on your driving record for 10 years. This could result in increased insurance premiums or your insurance company dropping you as a client.
Depending on your conviction you will be required to pay a fee and/or serve a prison sentence. You will also have limited driving privileges and could possibly be required to use the ignition interlock on your vehicle. The Ignition Interlock is a breathalyzer device that is installed under the vehicles dash and requires breathing into a device to measure presence of alcohol. The vehicle will not start if alcohol is detected.
Clearly, being arrested for a DWI was not part of your plans this summer. But a valuable investment in your future and your present well-being is having legal council that can help you to navigate the coming days. We would be happy to help you understand better what your arrest means for you in the state of Minnesota. Contact us on what help there is for your specific case.
BIO: Judith Samson
I am a Minneapolis Criminal Lawyer, and I have served clients in the Twin Cities and Western Suburbs for years. I have become known for my aggressive and effective litigation skills as well as for my individual approach to representing clients. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact my Twin Cities law office or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org