If you are convicted of DUI, the consequences can be both devastating and far-reaching. Although state law treats first and second offenses as misdemeanors, a conviction could still result in steep penalties. You might be facing huge fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and a criminal record that would hamper your future employment. An experienced Westminster DUI lawyer can help you fight the charges against you. At The Law Offices of Scott Henry, our attorneys can work to get the court to dismiss or at least reduce your charges. And we will help you devise a strong defense to protect your rights and your future.
Penalties for DUI charges are severe — and the more offenses you have, the more severe those penalties become.
A first offense is considered a misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:
While a second offense is still considered a misdemeanor, it carries greater penalties:
A third or more DUI conviction is considered a felony and carries even harsher penalties:
In addition to these penalties, you could be facing other negative consequences that affect you in the long-term. For example, because a conviction stays on your record for ten years, you may experience increased car insurance premiums or a decrease in your credit. You may also find it more difficult to obtain stable employment. Our local attorneys could help you minimize these penalities in your DUI case.
After you are arrested for DUI, law enforcement will book you at the police station and make you take a chemical blood-alcohol test. They will also take away your driver’s license. Make sure you call a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney in Westminster can help you answer questions without further harming your case, as well as guide you through the DUI court process. After your license is revoked, you only have ten days to challenge that revocation through a DMV administrative hearing. Your attorney can help you schedule your hearing and help you through any issues that may arise.
Your arraignment hearing is where you and your lawyer will meet the prosecutor and judge, and you plead either guilty or not guilty. Before your trial starts, your DUI attorney can conduct pre-trial negotiations on your behalf. If the prosecution offers a plea bargain and you agree to the terms (meaning you receive reduced penalties in exchange for a guilty plea), your case will be resolved at this step.
If you do not accept the plea bargain, your case will go to trial. Your lawyer can help you prepare a solid defense to show the judge or jury that the evidence against you is inaccurate or insufficient. For example, your attorney may challenge the validity of field sobriety tests and chemical tests, which are consistently unreliable, or call the arresting officer’s credibility into question.
If you are convicted for drinking and driving, you will need to attend a sentencing hearing, which is where the court will decide on your penalties. During the hearing, your lawyer will attempt to reduce your sentencing as much as possible.
In some instances, you can expunge a DUI conviction from your record, but the process is complicated and unpredictable. A Westminster lawyer can advise you as to your eligibility and whether or not pursuing expungement makes sense for your case. Additionally, your attorney can help you avoid the requirement of submitting an SR-22 form certifying your financial responsibility, which can then help you experience an increase in car insurance rates.
An experienced Westminster DUI lawyer can effectively fight the charges you are up against, as well as help you prepare for any challenges along the way. At The Law Offices of Scott Henry, we have extensive knowledge of the local court system, and we know what it takes to build a strong defense. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.