Facing DUI Charges

An arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is very serious. It is a complicated area of law and the mandatory penalties are severe.

Here are a few things to consider:

Who should you tell?

Do not discuss your arrest with anyone that doesn't need to know about it. You have not been convicted of the charges and you are presumed to be innocent. Telling people about your arrest may result in their making premature and/or unfair conclusions about you. In addition, you may be given advice that is not in your best interest. In some cases, your employer may have a policy requiring disclosure of a DUI arrest or conviction. Before you discuss your arrest with your employer, it would be wise to get advice from an attorney about complying with your work policy. In many cases, it may not be necessary to disclose your arrest. An experienced criminal defense attorney is in the best position to give you the proper advice and to discuss your case with you in confidence.

What is going to happen?

An arrest for DUI usually triggers two separate legal proceedings against you. The Department of Licensing will usually begin an administrative action to suspend your driver license, and the city or county prosecutors will file a criminal charge against you. Frequently, these two actions take place at the same time. You need an attorney that can help you with both actions.

How much time do I have?

You must take action as soon as possible to protect your rights. If you fail to request a hearing from the department of licensing within 20 days of receiving notice of the intent to suspend your license, you will waive your right to a hearing and your license will be suspended. An attorney can help you keep your license and stay out of jail.

The attorneys at Henderson Law Group are available to meet with you about your DUI. Please call as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation.

Department of Licensing Administrative Action

If the officer gave you papers regarding a license suspension, you have only 20 days to request a hearing from the Department of Licensing. If you fail to request a hearing within the time limit, you waive your right to challenge the suspension.

It is always in your best interest to challenge a suspension. Although these hearings are very challenging, with the help of an experienced attorney, you can maximize your chances of avoiding the license suspension. During the hearing, the State has the burden to prove four issues:

  1. That the officer had a lawful basis to stop you.
  2. That there were reasonable grounds to arrest you for Driving Under the Influence.
  3. That the implied consent warnings were properly given.
  4. That you either refused the breath test or blew over the legal limit.

At times the Department of Licensing fails to meet the burden. For example, this can happen when the police report is not produced in its entirety or when the arresting officer has failed to follow proper procedure. If you fail to exercise your right to a hearing or if you try to represent yourself without the assistance of an attorney, you’re not giving yourself the best opportunity to avoid the penalty

Criminal Penalties

A conviction for DUI carries severe penalties, including mandatory jail, fines, a license suspension for at least ninety days, a requirement to install and pay for an ignition interlock on any vehicle that you drive1, an alcohol evaluation and treatment lasting up to two years, attendance of a DUI victims panel and high risk SR-22 insurance.

The maximum2 amount of jail that the court can be imposed is 364 days, and the maximum2 fine can be as high as $5,000.00. These penalties depend on the facts of your case and on your prior record, if any. If you would like to see a chart showing a breakdown based on these factors please click to view the DUI penalty chart.

Every case is different, so we can’t make any promises as to the outcome of your case. Nevertheless, we are frequently able to obtain a reduction in the charge to a lesser offense that carries significantly reduced consequences. If possible, we will try to get your case dismissed based on errors made by the arresting officer. Regardless of the circumstances, we will help you make the best of a bad situation by using every tool available to eliminate or minimize the penalties.

1You may be able to obtain an exception to this requirement for driving employer owned work vehicles.

2A DUI charged as a felony has a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.