Recently published statistics show that in 2015 there were a reported 1.5 million arrests for driving under the influence throughout the United States; with 214,828 of those in California and 61,852 in Florida.
Golfing star Tiger Woods was arrested in Jupiter, Florida in May this year for allegedly driving under the influence of five substances, including marijuana and Xanax, with police dashcam footage showing Woods looking bewildered and stumbling through field sobriety tests released soon after.
Latest updates on his case suggest that he is set to take a plea bargain and plead guilty to reckless driving, a less severe charge, and then complete a diversion program for intoxicated drivers.
The program is designed to reduce the number of repeat offenders and clear a huge backlog of DUI court cases across the US.
DUI offences have been an increasingly common occurrence in the US, but the new program is so far seeing success in reducing numbers of repeat offenders – Deputy State Attorney Richard Clausi has reported that less than 1% of the program’s participants have gone on to reoffend.
With new methods of rehabilitating DUI offenders being launched, it’s important to remember that a DUI charge does not have to ruin your reputation, career and life.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer is the first step to taking back control after being charged with a DUI offence.
Below is the process you’ll encounter if you are pulled over and charged with intoxicated driving, and what you can do to regain your life.
Field sobriety tests
After being pulled over and assessed by police, they may want you to complete a series of field sobriety tests, which include the walk and turn and standing on one leg.
Upon failure to satisfy authorities that you are not drunk or intoxicated, you will be breathalyzed or subjected to blood tests.
Failure of the breathalyzer step will result in you being taken to the police facility and booked, where your fingerprints and photograph will be taken before you are jailed.
From then, you will either be released, cited, and given a court date, or you remain in the facility until you post bail or you are seen by a judge.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer or DUI Lawyer
Before your arraignment and trial, you will need criminal defense for your case, ideally an attorney specializing in DUI.
Spend time researching the best DUI lawyer in your state and county, like the Legal Aed Law Offices in Fresno, California.
Your DUI Lawyer should be experienced in representing in DUI cases and can help assess the best line of defense in your particular case.
It is strongly advised that you seek the assistance of a specialized DUI Lawyer from your first DUI offence.
Entering a guilty plea without defense leaves you wholly at the mercy of the court’s chosen sentence, with no control over the impact on your life.
When formally charged with a DUI, your first court hearing will be an arraignment, a formal hearing in which you will be informed of the charges against you and you have an opportunity to enter your plea.
It’s unwise to do this without consulting a DUI Lawyer – they will know all facets of this area of the law and therefore how is best to conduct your plea.
At trial, it is the aim of the prosecution to prove beyond doubt that you were driving while impaired by intoxication.
Your DUI Lawyer will need to have expert knowledge of the rules of evidence and be able to challenge the prosecution and attack its case.
Pleading or being found guilty will mean you are sentenced to be punished as the judge sees fit; which will most likely be jailtime.
A first offence felony DUI could see you sentenced to up to three years in prison. Appointment of an experienced DUI Lawyer in your case without doubt positively increases your chance of a more favorable sentence.
This is when plea bargains like the aforementioned Florida diversion program in the Woods case can come in – an experienced DUI Lawyer may be able to negotiate to secure you a place on such a program in exchange for lesser jailtime.
An experienced DUI Lawyer will know the extra measures needed to return your life to normality after your misdemeanor, such as dealing with your DMV Hearing to defend your right to keep your driver’s license.
Without a knowledgeable attorney, you risk missing these important factors while handling your case alone with little or no personal knowledge of the law.
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