DUI law has become more and more complicated with different states taking different approaches to enforcement. The first thing to know when it comes to dealing with a DUI charge is that you need to check your state's relevant statute. Some states have updated their statutes more recently and there are nuances within the law. That means that your possible solution will almost certainly depend upon where you were charged. Aside from that, there are some basic things to know that apply across the board.
Types of proof for DUI charges
There are a few general pieces of evidence that a prosecutor will use in trying to attain his burden of proof. One of those is a breath test. Each state has some type of breath machine that measures blood alcohol content. Likewise, many states use a blood test and a urine test when they feel the results of the breath test are inadequate. They can request these tests when there is a suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.
One of the biggest issues for people charged with DUI is the right of refusal. Refusing one of these tests leaves the state without much proof, and they take swift action against those who refuse. The penalty for refusal can be as high as a year-long suspension of one's driving license. There are ways to contest this that a defense attorney can effectively initiate.
Defenses to DUI
Some of the most common defenses to DUI include protesting the original traffic stop for lack of probable cause, contesting the validity of the test administered, and generally asserting a lack of proof on the part of the prosecution. One of the most common methods is to fight the tests, since they can fail for a number of reasons. A good attorney can move to have the evidence excluded from court proceedings, and this will make the state's case a difficult one to prove.
Penalties for DUI
Driving under the influence can bring about major penalties upon conviction. It can result in a jail term of anywhere from three months to a year for a first offense, and the sentences get stiffer for repeat offenders. Likewise, there can be fines of up to $1,000 in addition to the rising insurance costs. Penalties are worse when damage to property or person coincides with the DUI charge.
In all, DUI is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. A good attorney can effectively fight the charges and often mitigate the penalties.