If you are like others here in New York, an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence is your only interaction with the criminal justice system as a defendant. For this reason, you have little to no idea what to expect when you get out of the back of that police car.
Fear of the unknown could cause you to make bad choices or mistakes when it comes to challenging a DUI charge. Accepting your fate and pleading guilty, or not having the proper representation and ending up with a conviction on your record, could affect your future for a long time. Starting with gaining an understanding of the broad outline of what happens next could alleviate some of your anxiety and help you make better choices.
The basics of what happens next
You may or may not go through each of the steps below in the aftermath of your DUI arrest, but everyone goes through at least some of them:
- Depending on the circumstances, the arresting officer may confiscate your driver’s license on the spot. Otherwise, your license will more than likely end up suspended at some point in the near future.
- Police will take you to either a jail or police station where they will take your fingerprints and photograph. Officers may then take you to a cell to wait for release.
- Someone can come post your bail and take you home when possible.
- Officers will give you a summons or ticket, indicating when you need to make your first appearance in court where you will enter your plea.
- If you plead guilty or the court finds you guilty of DUI, you could face penalties, such as fines and jail time.
- A conviction usually comes with some sort of probation, even if you spend some time in jail. If you don’t fulfill the terms of that probation, you could end up in jail.
- The court may order you to attend drunk driving school, undergo an alcohol evaluation and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
This is how events could transpire if you try to handle the situation on your own. A first-time offense may be a misdemeanor, but as you can see, it comes with significant criminal penalties. The actions above do not even include other ramifications, such as higher insurance rates, possible issues with your employment and more.
You have the right to an attorney, and you would be wise to exercise that right in order to find the best possible outcome to the situation that minimizes the impact on your life.