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What Happens When You Get Arrested for a DUI?

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Sober up, for the aftermath of getting arrested for a DUI can be a bitter pill to swallow. Let’s take a look at what you can expect after getting caught for driving under the influence.

A DUI (also known as a DWI, OWI, or OUI) arrest can be a complex and arduous process. There are numerous unknowns about what will happen to your driving privileges and the steps you’ll need to follow to drive again legally. What’s more, it could also impact other aspects of your life. For instance, a DUI could result in higher car insurance rates! 

To alleviate some of your anxiety, we have compiled a list of things to expect after being arrested for a DUI. Each DUI case differs depending on your exact offense. The state in which you got arrested also plays a role in the penalties you may receive. A vast majority of drunk driving cases will include the following list of factors.

What to expect after a DUI?

1. You may be arrested for DUI.

If you fail your field sobriety or breathalyzer test, the first thing you should expect is that you will not be able to drive yourself home. You will likely get arrested on the spot, and the police may confiscate your vehicle. The latter depends on the state you reside.

You may have to pay a bond to get out of jail before your court appearance. However, that largely depends on the drunk driving regulations in the area where you were pulled over and arrested. Some states may free you immediately after being processed. Others have begun to enact laws requiring someone to pick you up. Some states may require that you become entirely sober before being released.

In most situations, the jail term served at the time of your arrest will be your only time in jail. If you faced arrest for drunk driving earlier, you could face additional jail time.

Read: Will washing your car in rain stop global warming?

2. You will be asked to appear in court after a DUI arrest.

You will be able to defend your DUI charge in court. Here, you could plead guilty or not guilty, depending on the facts of your case and the evidence produced against you.

While you can handle your arraignment/hearing on your own, we recommend that you have experienced legal assistance for any other court proceedings. A good legal team can help you decrease or avoid additional penalties. If you try to dispute the allegations or plead not guilty, the prosecutor may opt to reveal dashcam footage or other evidence against you.

Certain defenses could result in reduced charges in situations of getting arrested for a DUI. A typical option for your legal defense to minimize your charges is to enter a plea deal for reckless driving. Often referred to as a “wet reckless,” a plea deal could help reduce your sentence. Typically, these lesser sentences will also include the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.

Read: Does your car insurance cover theft?

3. Your state may revoke your license after a DUI arrest.

In most situations, your state will suspend your license due to getting arrested for a DUI. Following your arrest, you will most likely get a temporary license that will expire on the date of your court appearance. The length of your driver’s license suspension will depend on where you got arrested and the nature of your conduct.

Suspension of your driving privileges may also depend on whether or not you were found guilty of driving under the influence by a court of law. If you refused a breathalyzer test after being arrested, your license could get suspended for a lengthier period than if you had followed the police’ orders. 

Most states have legislation mandating drivers to take these examinations and imposing severe penalties for failing to do so. As a result, we recommend taking the field breathalyzer test if requested by the police.

You may be able to reclaim temporary driving privileges during your suspension in some situations by applying for a restricted license. A limited license (also known as an occupational license, ignition interlock driver license, or monitoring device driving permit) permits you to drive your vehicle only under certain conditions and time constraints.

Read: Can I get car insurance without a license?

4. You will be required to pay state fines and fees.

Typically, you will have to pay at least one fine for a DUI. The amount of your fine will vary depending on the nature of your charge and where you got arrested. Failure to comply with police requests at the time of your arrest, such as refusing a breathalyzer test, might result in higher fines.

If you harmed someone or damaged property by your actions, or a child was in the vehicle, the fines for drunk driving can increase significantly. These elements can also influence how you get charged (misdemeanor or felony).

Read: How does a DUI affect your New York car insurance?

5. Your car insurance rates may increase.

A DUI arrest could also have an impact on your car insurance. Most drivers who get arrested for drunk driving face an increase in their auto insurance rates. However, if you get arrested for drunk driving, your insurance company may reject you completely, which means you will need to find a new carrier. In some situations, a drunk driving arrest could increase your life insurance costs too.

After you have gone through the court procedure for your drunk driving offense, you may be required to obtain SR-22 insurance. SR-22 insurance is necessary for practically every state and validates that you have liability insurance. Some states require SR-22 insurance for at least three years.

Read: What is SR-22? Insurance damage control 101

6. You may be required to take an alcohol evaluation and/or a DUI class.

Attending an alcohol evaluation or a DUI program may be one of the conditions you must meet to restore your driving privileges. After a DUI, the court may require you to attend both of them.


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