More than 10,000 drivers, passengers, and pedestrians die in drunk driving accidents every year. Should you survive such an accident, you could face hefty fines (or even jail time) for being drunk behind the wheel.
Accidents happen, and everyone has the right to a good defense. If a police officer pulls you over for being under the influence of alcohol, there are steps you can take to reduce the consequences.
Here are a few ways to minimize the damage of a DUI.
Keep Your Cool
Once you’re busted for driving under the influence, there’s nothing you can do but comply and follow the officer’s orders. The moment you see a police car behind you, pull off to the side of the road. The offer will flash their lights and signal for you to pull off.
Don’t get out of the vehicle, and let the officer approach you first. Make sure your driver’s license and car registration are readily available. When the police officer approaches the window, roll down the window, and begin to comply.
Compliance doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spill the beans. If your blood alcohol level (BAL) is under 0.08, the officer can’t arrest you for a DUI. You’re not obligated to tell an officer that you’ve been drinking, but they will ask.
At this point, you may get off with a warning or speeding ticket, depending on the circumstance and severity of the offense. However, if your BAL is over the legal limit and showed signs of drunk driving, the officer will likely ask you to step out of the car to perform some tests.
First, the officer will have you take a breathalyzer test. You’ll exhale into a tube, and the breathalyzer will show whether or not you’re under the legal limit. An officer may ask you to count to ten backward, hop on one foot, or walk in a straight line.
If you fail your BAL test, the officer can arrest you on the spot for a DUI, also known as an OWI. You may be handcuffed and placed in the backseat of the police vehicle. Once booked, a friend or family member can post bail for your release.
After posting bail, you must attend a court hearing. Depending on state’s laws, you may pay a fine, perform community service, or serve time. Most people don’t serve prison time for first-time DUI offenses unless a manslaughter charge is involved.
Get a Lawyer
You’ll need a lawyer to argue your defense. A good OWI lawyer is your best shot at getting a lesser sentence, like probation or community service.
Consider several law firms before choosing the right attorney. You want someone who will fight for your OWI case. Book a few free consultations to understand the scope of your case and what each lawyer can offer.
Don’t Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol
If you’re charged with a DUI, the best thing you can do is learn from the past. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol under any circumstances. Ask yourself if the consequences are worth the risk.
You can never have enough tips for staying safe and healthy on the road. Check out the blog to discover even more legal and lifehacks.