DUI arrests normally begin like this:
you are pulled over for a traffic violation or because the officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. He or she will ask that you perform a number of field sobriety tests. You may then be asked to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you refuse to take the test, or if you fail, you will be placed under arrest for DUI.
DUI arrests are extremely serious. If convicted, you will be sentenced to jail time, probation, loss of driving privileges, and expensive fines. The judge may also order you to perform community service, have you attend “DUI School” or even require you to obtain alcohol treatment and/or counseling. In some cases, the judge will order that an ignition interlock device be installed in your vehicle
(at your expense).
A DUI arrest is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. If convicted of felony DUI, you may spend time in prison. There are factors that may increase the severity of your sentence. This includes: transporting a child at the time of the incident, having a BAC over 0.20 percent, driving at excessive speeds, and having prior DUIs on your record.
After a DUI arrest, you face an administrative license suspension. This punishment is meted out by the Department of Motor Vehicles. You may be shocked to learn that the administrative license suspension occurs even before you are convicted of a crime in criminal court. In many states, drivers refusing to submit to sobriety tests have longer suspension periods than others who took and failed the test.
There are several circumstances under which DUI arrests may be made: the police officer saw the crime being committed, the police officer had “probable cause” to make an arrest, and an arrest warrant had been issued.
If the officer administers a sobriety test and sees that the results are over the legal limit, he or she has personally observed that a crime has been committed and will make a DUI arrest. If the officer stops someone who was driving erratically and sees empty liquor bottles on the floor of the vehicle and smells alcohol, he or she may have probable cause that a crime has been committed and may arrest the driver.
DUI arrests may be life altering. If you have recently been arrested and charged with drunk driving, it is important to contact an experienced defense attorney in your area.