Driving Under the Influence, better known as a DUI, is a criminal charge leveled against those caught under the influence of alcohol. The police officer who pulls you over may administer a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test looks at how well you respond to certain instructions. If the officer determines that you are under the influence, he or she may write you a ticket or arrest you and take you to jail. Before your court date, there are some things you do.
Contact a Lawyer
You should always contact a lawyer who specializes in DUI charges. Criminal defense attorneys of Michigan or in your current state can help you better understand what comes next and how a conviction can hurt you in the long run. You will generally pay more for car insurance, and you may risk losing your license. The penalties you receive will usually depend on the amount of alcohol you consumed and whether you faced similar charges in the past. Your lawyer will give you a better idea of which penalties a judge will use in your sentencing.
Look at the Penalties
Many states have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to those under the legal drinking age. If you are 21, you’re guilty of a DUI regardless of how much alcohol you consumed. Both those under and over the legal limit face a high fine from the court and a possible jail term of a weekend or more. The court will use higher penalties on those convicted in the past, those who caused accidents and anyone caught driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle. The court may also require that you attend an alcohol rehabilitation or use an ignition interlock device that tests your blood alcohol level every time you get behind the wheel.
Prepare Your Defense
Before your date in court, you must prepare your defense with your attorney. Even if you are guilty, you should know how to act in court. Wear a business casual outfit and avoid wearing jeans with holes or faded tee shirts. Act in a respectful manner that shows the judge you are aware of the severity of your crime and that you are responsible for your actions. When you receive a DUI charge, you should consult with an attorney, learn about the possible penalties and prepare your defense.