First Time DUI Offender–What You Need to Know

Sep 26, 2013 by

There are normally mandatory minimum penalties for a first time DUI offender. These minimums sometimes change but usually include a few days in jail, a fine and completion of a counseling or Driving under the influence (DUI) is an offense that law enforcement officials take seriously. A first time DUI offender is likely to be anxious and confused when presented with the complex law enforcement and legal processes that follows an incident. Attorneys are very helpful in this situation and work to protect the rights of the accused person. First time DUI offenders should understand a few points.

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Mandatory Minimums

There are normally mandatory minimum penalties for a first time DUI offender. These minimums sometimes change but usually include a few days in jail, a fine and completion of a counseling or intervention program. It is important to understand that these are only minimums. Other factors could cause a prosecutor or a judge to increase these penalties dramatically. This is especially true for DUI cases. This is one reason why it is important to have an experienced lawyer during the hearings.

Pleading To Lesser Offenses

It is possible to avoid a DUI conviction by pleading to lesser charges in some cases. Lesser charges like the informally named wet reckless offense do not carry mandatory minimum penalties. Pleading to a lesser charge could mean the DUI offense is dropped and replaced with a minor offense that results in nothing more than a fine, community service or even completion of an alcohol treatment program. Pleading to a lesser offense is something that requires representation by an attorney familiar with DUI laws. First time DUI offenders will want to learn more about experienced attorneys who can help.

License Status

A suspension of a driver’s license is often part of the mandatory penalty even for a first time DUI offender. The suspension could be for as little as six months or for as long as three years. An attorney who has dealt with first time DUI offenses before will work to keep the suspension as short as possible. Another way a lawyer can help is by negotiating the terms of the suspension. Not all suspensions take away the right to drive. There are instances where an administrative suspension will allow a person to drive to work or other necessary destinations during the suspension period.

Convictions Are Not Inevitable

It is important to understand that convictions for first time DUI offenders are not inevitable. This is true regardless of the individual circumstances of the incident. Several potential issues from the administration of the tests at the scene to the way paperwork was filed could provide grounds for a dismissal, an acquittal or lesser charges. First time DUI offenders should retain an attorney to review and potentially fight the case in court.

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