You never know when you might be charged with a DUI. Police can pull you over if they are suspicious that you have been drinking and driving. However, if it is your first time being pulled over, the consequences may not be as dire as for those with prior offenses. Here are a few things to be aware of if you do receive your first DUI charge.
You Have Rights
Everyone is entitled to certain rights under the law in the event of an arrest. These rights include:
- You have the right to an attorney or legal representation
- You have the right to have a lawyer present at questioning
- You have the right to remain silent
- The right to be informed that your words can be used against you in court
- If you can’t afford an attorney, the state may appoint you one
A Public Defender is Not Guaranteed
It is your constitutional right to be represented by a state-appointed public defender should you not be able to afford your own private attorney. However, we strongly encourage you not to do this. Public defenders, in many cases, do not have time to adequately handle your case due to their heavy caseload.
You Might Be Eligible for Probation Rather Than Jail
If this is your first time DUI offense and no one was injured, you may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for probation instead of jail time. However, before you accept a plea bargain, make sure to review the details with an experienced DUI attorney. You may not have to plead guilty to accept a plea bargain at all. Koffel Brininger Nesbitt often encourages clients to go to court to pursue a “not guilty” verdict.
You May Be Able to Have Your Case Dismissed
If the arresting officer made any procedural mistakes, such as not reading the Breathalyzer report correctly or stopping you without reasonable suspicion, you may be able to contest your charges. If you challenge this and win, the court may dismiss your case and drop your DUI charge.
Increased Insurance Premiums
Like other transgressions, DUI convictions have collateral consequences, consequences outside court-ordered sentencing. Your DUI is communicated to your insurance company who will likely raise your insurance premiums.
At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, we understand that mistakes happen. Whatever happened in your case, if you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact our experience Columbus OVI attorneys today. We will review your case and inform you of your legal rights.