Have you been charged with DWI? A lot of people don’t even know what DWIs are, let alone how to find a good DWI lawyer and get the help that they need. DWIs need to be taken seriously. They aren’t charges that can be easily “shaken off”, and can end up following you around for the rest of your life if you aren’t careful. A DWI means driving while intoxicated — it’s a very real charge, and it can be all too easy for people to be charged with a DWI when they didn’t even know that they were driving while over the legal limit. For that matter, some people charged with DWI were not driving over the legal limit; sometimes, breathalyzer tests are faulty and lead to people being charged with crimes that they didn’t commit. Admittedly, you aren’t required to have a lawyer when facing a DWI charge. But hiring drunk driving lawyers can be what stands between a guilty verdict and exoneration. Lots of people decide against using lawyers when facing DWI charges because they think that even if they’re convicted, the consequences won’t be serious. As we’ll discover in this article, the consequences of being convicted of drunk driving charges can affect the rest of your life. So — what do you do if you’ve been charged with DWI?
Why Would You Be Charged With DWI?
Some people are genuinely shocked when they’re charged with DWI — maybe they barely drank, and were pulled over not for driving recklessly, but due to some other issue. A police officer can potentially give you a breathalyzer test if they see any signs of you being intoxicated while driving, even if you were driving well. It’s estimated that over 1.4 million people are charged with their first DUI-related offenses each year — so if this has happened to you, you aren’t alone. Of course, there’s a chance that you were driving while intoxicated, and know it. No matter what, you have the right to an attorney, and should get a good one. Don’t assume that because you blood alcohol level was within a certain range that you have to be convicted. You could be convicted of a lesser charge, or perhaps have your sentence negotiated down. This is all something that a lawyer would handle. Interestingly, many lawyers who deal with drunk driving charges are also car accident lawyers — unfortunately, the two areas often intersect. Whether or not you’ve been in a car accident, if your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit you can be charged with DWI. A DWI charge can also cover driving while intoxicated due to an illegal substance, like marijuana. In this case, the charges involved could be more serious.
What Are The Penalties When Charged With DWI?
The penalties associated with a DWI conviction are not to be taken lightly. In California, the maximum penalty for a person’s first DUI conviction is a $1,000 fine plus more than $2,600 in penalty assessments. Of course, these penalties will likely rise should you have a prior history of convictions or charges. Of course, that first conviction could also — depending on the circumstances surrounding the charge, as well as the judge’s discretion — result in six months in prison, as well as a six month long suspension of your license. Obviously, these have greater consequences in the long term. Spending any amount of time in prison could result in you losing your job; and a suspension of your license will require a major lifestyle change.
How Can Drunk Driving Attorneys Help Me?
In some cases, you aren’t going to be able to avoid a conviction. But a lawyer can, as previously mentioned, ensure that you’ll have a lighter sentence. A good lawyer will also question test results, and for that matter question whether or not a test was legally administered. Consider a drunk driving attorney your advocate. They can seriously affect the way your charges play out in the long term.