How to Protect Your Driver’s License When You Get a DUI

How to Protect Your Driver's License When You Get a DUI
How to Protect Your Driver's License When You Get a DUI

If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and want to keep your driver’s license, then it is important to speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. They will help you understand your options for keeping your license and can build a legal defense strategy to help you keep your driving privileges.

What is a DUI?

A person can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08% or higher. A driver can be pulled over for another traffic violation that causes the police officer to suspect that the driver is drunk, or they can be stopped at a sobriety checkpoint.

A person can be charged with a DUI even if their BAC is under the legal limit if they show signs of intoxication behind the wheel, such as swerving in and out of lanes, making extremely wide turns, speeding, or constant braking. Even if you only had one drink and your BAC is under 0.08%, and you were exhibiting any of these signs of driving under the influence, the police can still arrest you.

Consequences of A DUI Conviction

In general, you can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is 0.08% or higher. The consequences that you face depend on your BAC level at the time of your arrest, whether you caused an accident, and if you have prior DUI convictions on your record. The consequences for DUI include license suspension, fines, vehicle impoundment, jail time, and being required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

A Hardship License

One of the consequences of DUI is having your license suspended for a period between three months and two years, depending on the laws in your state, how many prior convictions you have, whether you caused an accident, and if your BAC was much higher than the legal limit. All of these factors are taken into consideration when determining how long to revoke your license. Losing your driving privileges makes it very hard to lead a productive life or do anything that requires travel. If your license is suspended after a DUI arrest, then you can apply for a hardship license to commute back-and-forth from work, school or medical appointments.

A DUI hardship license is granted with limited rights in special conditions. People need to get around in order to work and live, especially if they live in an area without strong public transportation. If you are approved to receive a hardship license, then you may be restricted to driving only certain hours of the day or only to approved locations, like to work and back home. Even if you are denied a hardship license at first, you may be approved towards the end of your sentence.

Drug and Alcohol Education Course

This course is specifically designed for participants convicted of offenses requiring DUI program attendance. This class focuses on personal choices, substance abuse, and chemical dependency. The course content is delivered through direct instructional and group participation. Talk to your attorney to learn if attending this program would be beneficial in your case and help you keep your license.

Ignition Interlock Devices

You may be eligible to maintain some or all of your driving privileges if you install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID is a breathalyzer in your car that measures the amount of alcohol on your breath. Certain states mandate ignition interlock devices be installed in the vehicles of persons convicted of DUI. An IID may be required if you apply for a restricted license or a hardship license for work or educational purposes. Upon reinstatement of your permanent or restricted driver’s license, you may be required to install an IID in your car by contacting a state-approved IID service provider.

Prepare For Your Hearings

Another way that you can protect your driver’s license is by preparing for your court hearings. The prosecutor will need to prove that they have sufficient evidence to support the charges. The judge will then decide what your sentence should be. While dressing appropriately may not significantly sway the judge’s opinion, this is not the time to show up in casual clothing. Showing up well dressed in a professional-looking suit or conservative outfit shows the judge that you understand the seriousness of the charges and penalties.

Plan to show up at least half an hour early to your scheduled court hearing to ensure you have plenty of time to get through the security checkpoint and talk about any last-minute details with your attorney. Additionally, don’t bring anything to the courthouse that you would not be able to take through airport security, such as a pocketknife. They may not let you bring your cell phone into the courthouse, though some jurisdictions allow it. Make sure you have your photo ID and any other documents your attorney advises you to bring. Be sure to follow the rules of the court. If there is ever a time to be cooperative and not stand out in a negative way, it’s at a hearing to determine your sentence after a DUI or your DMV hearing.

Don’t Delay Speaking to An Attorney

Time is of the essence when you are facing the consequences of a DUI. In general, you have fewer than ten days to take action to avoid a suspended license and the loss of your driving privileges. A DUI lawyer knows how to appeal a license suspension as well as criminal charges. A criminal defense attorney explains your charges to you, tells you what your options are, ensures that you meet critical legal deadlines, and prepares you for your court hearings. It is never a good idea to represent yourself when your freedom and future are on the line. An experienced DUI lawyer from a reputable law firm has the experience to get you the outcome that you want.