Things To Expect After A DWI Arrest
Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense, and if you are charged with suspicion of DWI it is in your best interest to immediately hire an experienced and reputable DWI attorney. If you are pulled over on suspected DWI, you can expect the following:
If a breathalyzer shows that your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit or you fail a field sobriety test, you will be arrested by the officer who pulled you over and taken to the nearest police station. After being charged and booked, you will be required to remain in jail until you can be seen by a judge.
Appear Before a Judge
Before you can leave jail after a DWI arrest, you must appear before a judge. In many cases, people charged with a DWI are released on their own recognizance after signing a paper promising to appear in court. Depending on the circumstances of your DWI arrest and your criminal history, a judge may decide to set bail; in this case you would need a friend or family member to pay the bail amount before you can be released.
In most states, a drivers license is suspended when a person is arrested for DWI. It is very important to find out if you live in a state that has this law-- the last thing you want to do is drive on a suspended license while your DWI case is pending. If your license is suspended, you may be able to request a hardship hearing and a judge may give you a restricted license that allows you to drive to and from work.
The first time you appear in court for a DWI it is called an arraignment. It is in your best interest to hire your DWI lawyer in advance of your arraignment date. During the arraignment you will be able to hear the evidence that the prosecution has against you and enter your plea with the court.
If you plead guilty or accept a plea deal, you may have to spend time in jail. Many states now have laws that mandate that a person convicted of DWI serve jail time. The length of your jail sentence will depend on state minimums, your blood alcohol content at the time of arrest, and whether or not driving while intoxicated caused an accident, property damage, or physical injury to another person.
In most cases, people convicted of a DWI are required to pay a number of fines. You may need to pay court fees, court fines, and the fees for alcohol education classes. Some people will also need to pay a fee to have an ignition interlock device placed in their vehicle after their license is reinstated.