While many people treat driving under influence lightly, the fact is that it can carry some pretty heavy penalties and punishments under certain circumstances. Although some people mightn’t think much of having a few drinks at the bar or a party and then driving home, if you are caught over the legal blood alcohol limit you will face some sort of charge. Many factors and circumstances can affect how serious that punishment is, and these are important to consider if you are facing a Driving Under the Influence charge.
Is This Your First Offence?
In many places, a first time DUI charge is seen as a misdemeanor and not a criminal offense, however in many other countries such as Canada and Australia, a first time DUI is still seen as a criminal offense and can be punished more severely. What tends to be similar from country to country however is that a first time DUI is treated more lightly than subsequent charges of driving under influence. The first offense may involve fines, and loss of driving entitlements for a period of time, while subsequent charges could involve even heavier fines and prison terms.
Of course even if it is your first offense, if someone is injured or killed as a result of your reckless driving, or damage was caused to property, it could entail heavier punishments as well. These punishments will vary according to what damage is done and on the laws of the country or region you are convicted in.
What Are The Circumstances?
As mentioned above, the complications of sentencing and the consequences of a DUI charge depend on many different circumstances. Different countries, states and regions have different laws relating to driving under the influence, and an offender will be subject to the local laws in the area wherever they commit the offense. In some regions there is mandatory minimum sentencing, which means no matter what the conditions or circumstances of your offense were, or how good you can prove your character is, you will be subject to some form of punishment or fine.
Of course, damage to other people or property as a result of driving under influence changes the circumstances and the severity of the punishment significantly. Going to court over the charges will help bring to light all the circumstances around your offense and give you the chance to present a defense on your behalf if there is anything you want to say or explain. Managing your circumstances well in the initial stages of the proceedings ensures a better outcome for your case and smoother management of the process for you.
Do You Need A Lawyer?
If you are arrested for driving under influence you can represent yourself in court, although if you do you may be automatically subject to minimum sentencing. Having a lawyer on your side can help you immensely when facing DUI charges and can help you with a range of defenses that they will be experienced with. A lawyer will be committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for you in the circumstances, and in situations where there are multiple complicating factors involved in your offense or charges, it’s almost an essential to bring a lawyer on board to help you navigate the complicated legal world you will be involved in. Because of the amount of information and evidence collected in a DUI charge, such as blood alcohol levels, multiple tests and presentation to the police station, there are many technical defenses to drunk driving related charges.
A good lawyer will have experience and recommendations to help guide and advise you, and will also have the ability to effectively question you to explore and understand your situation. It’s highly recommended to contact a criminal lawyer yourself if you are facing criminal charges for driving under the influence, as a criminal charge can have a huge effect on your life. By managing your individual situation the right way, under the guidance of a skilled and experienced lawyer, you can expect the best possible outcome for your driving under the influence charge.