While it is never okay, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a common charge in the United States. An estimated 1.5 million people are arrested for drunk driving each year. Whether under the influence of prescription pain medications, alcohol, or another drug, you should never get behind the wheel. With the proper understanding of a DUI charge, you may finally be able to learn the physical, emotional, and financial dangers of driving under the influence. By debunking these common myths, you will have a better understanding of a DUI charge.

DUI Is a Minor Offense

One of the most common misconceptions about a DUI charge is that it is a minor offense. In the past, paying a small fee would get you out of a DUI charge. This penalty punished you slightly, allowing you to continue driving without any worry of the charge affecting your criminal record.

Today, that is not the case. A DUI charge is now considered a serious offense, meaning hiring an attorney and going before a judge will be necessary. The actual penalty will depend on a few factors, including if you have prior DUI charges and if you were involved in a damaging or deadly accident while under the influence.

Paying attorney fees and court costs will be problematic for most people. However, the judge may also order a suspension of your license, which can affect your daily life tremendously. If multiple DUI charges have been placed against you over a period of time, you will most likely lose your license indefinitely.

Due to the possible penalties you will face, you should never consider a DUI a minor offense.

All Attorneys Handle DUI Charges

You may think any attorney can handle a DUI charge, but that is not actually true. If you have worked with an attorney in the past on a speeding or traffic ticket, do not assume they are equipped to handle your DUI charge.

Contact an attorney that has experience dealing with DUIs and other criminal charges. Although some attorneys do work with numerous types of clients, a criminal attorney will be most willing to fight on your behalf. Criminal attorneys will investigate fully, ensuring any and all facts are documented to work on your behalf.

You Cannot Win a DUI Case

If this DUI charge is your first offense, your attorney will most likely be able to win your case. You may need to pay a fine, in addition to your attorney and court fees.

In some instances, you may also have your license suspended for a short period of time. A small percentage of first-time offenders may also be ordered to complete a specific number of community service hours, as well. However, if this is not your first time DUI or driving under the influence has caused an accident or injured another person, your DUI could lead to a conviction.

Your attorney will need to design a plan of action to handle your specific needs. To avoid a license suspension that could affect your job and home life while also reducing the risk of jail time, your attorney may suggest a plea bargain.

A plea deal will require you to plead guilty to a lesser charge while pleading not guilty to a more serious charge. For example, if you were driving while under the influence and caused an accident that severely injured another person, pleading guilty to DUI while pleading not guilty to the accident would be an option.

Of course, it is important to remember that each person’s case is different. To learn more about DUI charges or for advice on your specific case, contact the Mesenbourg & Sarratori Law Offices today.