Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense with severe consequences that affect the violator and the community. Every year, thousands of DUI arrests occur in the United States, and this is a problem that requires the attention and understanding of everyone. If you have been charged with a DUI or know someone who has, it is crucial to seek the services of a qualified attorney to avoid the severe penalties that come with a conviction.
Understanding DUI Charges:
A DUI charge arises when a motorist is caught driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The charges depend on the circumstances surrounding the violation, including the level of intoxication, prior DUI convictions, and the driver's age. Every state in the United States has a legal limit of blood alcohol content (BAC) beyond which drivers are deemed impaired and, therefore, cannot operate a motor vehicle safely. In most states, the legal limit is 0.08%. A driver could be charged with a DUI offense even when the BAC level is below 0.08% if the officer finds that their driving is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction:
The consequences can be far-reaching and traumatic if convicted of a DUI offense. The offender can face fines, license suspension, increased insurance premiums, mandatory alcohol education programs, and a criminal record. Depending on the severity of the offense, one could also face jail time, probation, community service, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
Defense Strategies for DUI Charges:
An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights if charged with a DUI offense. Several defense strategies could help reduce the charges or dismiss them altogether. One such method is to challenge the legality of the traffic stop. If the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop you, any evidence gathered during the visit could be inadmissible. Another strategy is to challenge the accuracy of the chemical tests. Breathalyzer tests are not always accurate, and the prosecutor must prove their reliability in court. Lastly, an attorney could argue that the driver was not intoxicated, but their driving was impaired by factors such as fatigue or medical conditions.
Alternative Sentencing Options for DUI Offenders:
In some cases, an attorney could help an offender avoid the severe consequences of a DUI conviction by working out alternative sentencing options. An example of an alternative sentence is a diversion program. The program requires the offender to attend treatment sessions and avoid future offenses in exchange for a reduced sentence. Another alternative is community service, where the offender works with nonprofits or other organizations rather than serving jail time.
Pennington County Criminal Defense Lawyers Ready to Defend You
Being charged with a DUI can be overwhelming, but with the proper knowledge and legal representation, you can navigate through the process effectively. Remember to consult with an experienced attorney, such as Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, who can provide personalized guidance and defense strategies tailored to your situation.
For more information on DUI charges and defense strategies, contact us at (605) 777-7466 today.