Driving under the influence (DUI) is a grave offense in Alabama. If a law enforcement agent stops you on suspicion of DUI and your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.08, you will face an arrest.
The penalties you are likely to face when caught driving under the influence include a fine, driver’s license suspension, and/or imprisonment. Before we discuss some useful ways that could help you deal with a situation where you face arrest for a suspected DUI offense in Auburn, AL, let us take a brief look at the DUI process in Alabama.
The DUI Process in Auburn
Following an arrest on DUI charges, you need to appear in court where a judge reads the charges against you. Subsequently, you must enter a guilty, not guilty, or no contest plea.
You, as a defendant, have the right to ask for a preliminary hearing during which the judge will evaluate the circumstances of your arrest and evidence against you. The judge will then decide whether to dismiss the case or allow it to go to trial, based on their assessment of the facts surrounding your case.
Trial and Appeal in a DUI Case
You must understand that your guilt in a DUI offense is not automatically assumed just on the basis of your BAC levels. On the other hand, there are many aspects that can strengthen or weaken a criminal case. Consultation with an experienced DUI attorney in Auburn, AL, could help you understand the defense options available to you.
A competent attorney can skillfully guide you towards making the right decision for your plea, keeping in mind how long, drawn out and expensive a trial can be. If you receive a guilty verdict at the end of a trial, you are within your rights to appeal against the judgment.
Is My DUI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
In Alabama, more often than not, a DUI arrest is charged with a misdemeanor. A first-time DUI arrest will invite fines starting at $600, a driver’s license suspension, and up to one year of prison term in county jail. However, for first-time offenders, successful completion of a DUI diversion program or community service can help them evade a jail term.
Although most DUI offenses in Alabama will not be automatically charged with a felony, the fourth or subsequent DUI offense in the past ten years could land the offender in big trouble. Earlier, this lookback period was 5 years but was changed to 10 years in 2018.
However, this lookback period is not valid if you have a prior felony conviction, even from 20 years ago. That will be enough for you to be charged with a felony DUI.
Benefits of Pleading Guilty to a DUI Charge
You must consult with a seasoned attorney before deciding whether to accept a plea deal or take your case to trial. Some of the benefits of accepting a plea deal are:
- Likelihood of a lighter sentence
- Possibility of avoiding driver’s license suspension
- Prospect of the offense not getting recorded and tainting your lookback record
Don’ts to Keep in Mind When Faced with DUI Arrest
Do Not Attempt to Flee the Scene
If a law enforcement officer pulls you over, refusal to do so, or trying to escape could get you into even more trouble. Whether you are driving under the influence or not, it is vital that you stop when signaled to pull over.
Do Not Be Discourteous
Your failure to follow the instructions or any sort of rude behavior could lead to additional charges of obstructing a law enforcement officer from carrying out their duty and exacerbate your DUI offense. Regardless of how the officer treats you, do not be impolite or patronizing.
Do Not Implicate Yourself
Avoid parting with any information that could be used against you later. The law requires you to provide only your name, driver’s license, registration, and car insurance, and you are not legally bound to furnish any other information. You have the right to let the officer know that you do not wish to answer any questions without your lawyer being present.
Do Not Decline the Chemical Test
Undergoing a chemical analysis of your breath, blood, and urine is mandatory under Alabama law of implied consent if the law enforcement officer feels there is sufficient cause for an arrest on DUI charges. Refusal to take the test can lead to increased penalties including driver’s license suspension and more chances of prosecution’s case becoming stronger.
Skilled DUI Attorney Can Help in Auburn, AL
A seasoned DUI defense attorney at the Alsobrook Law Group can build a strong strategy to mitigate the consequences of your offense and make a difference to your case. Even with the evidence against you, our skilled lawyers can utilize the specific nuances present in the legal system and play on the prosecution’s limitations that may not be apparently discernible.
Call today at 334-737-3718 or message us online for a private and discreet consultation with one of our attorneys.