People have this notion that a first time DUI (driving under the influence) charge is not that serious, but that is a misconception that can interfere with your defense. Here are some of the mistakes you may make if you assume a first-time DUI is a simple criminal charge:
Underestimating the Seriousness of the Charges
One of the most common mistakes first-time offenders make is to assume that their criminal charges are not serious because, well, it is the first-time they are facing the accusations. Some motorists base the assumption on the fact that a first-time DUI is treated as a misdemeanor in virtually all the states.
Well, that may be true, but a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor with serious and long-term consequences. Here are some of the potential consequences of your first-time DUI if you are convicted:
· Thousands of dollars in penalties and fines
· Mandatory jail sentences
· Temporary loss of driving privileges
· Increased auto insurance premiums
· Long-term effects on career or educational opportunities
Considering all these it makes sense to treat any DUI charge, whether it is the first or subsequent DUI for you, with the seriousness it deserves.
Making an Automatic Guilty Plea
Another thing you shouldn't do is to automatically plead guilty without considering the circumstances of your arrest or consulting a DUI lawyer first. Indeed, this advice is relevant not only for those charged with DUI but also for many other criminal suspects.
If you plead guilty, it means you have been convicted and lose your right to a jury trial; all that remains is your sentencing. This means it's possible to receive the maximum sentence for a first-time DUI, and you will not be able to reverse your plea. It's advisable to go with a not-guilty plea until you can talk to an attorney; at the very least, the attorney will be able to help you plea bargain.
Assuming a BAC above 0.8 Results in Automatic Conviction
You have probably heard of per se DUI laws that establish anyone with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8 and above as automatically impaired. Most people take the per se DUI laws to mean that they will be automatically convicted and sentenced if their BAC is at least 0.8.
The reality, however, it that you aren't automatically doomed just because your BAC is at least 0.8. You will only be convicted if you plead guilty or if your trial verdict is guilty; this means there is still a chance you can beat the case. For example, you may be able to get the case thrown out if the evidence against you was illegally or inaccurately obtained. Contact a law firm, like Thomas & Associates, PC, for more help