March 29, 2022 | DUI Defense
Getting arrested for DUI after driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious matter. DUI convictions often result in stiff penalties, including possible jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license privileges, and more. It is important that you know your rights and what options you have if you have been charged with a first-time DUI in Lexington, Kentucky.
Every case is different; it’s important to discuss your specific facts with an experienced attorney who has handled DUIs in Lexington and who can help explain what steps you should take. In general, an arrest for DUI begins with some form of a traffic stop.
The stop can be for speeding, a stop sign violation, weaving or swerving, operating carelessly, or even a simple broken tail light. Other times, an accident occurred, and the police were called out to the crash scene.
Once the law enforcement officer pulls the vehicle over or arrives at the scene in a crash scenario, they will typically begin by gathering some initial information. They will ask you for your driver’s license or identification, proof of insurance, and registration for the vehicle.
During this process, the officer will note the demeanor and behavior of the person to assess whether or not any signs of impairment are present.
Signs of impairment can range from slurred speech, inability or difficulty in handing over the documents, odor of alcohol, and many other characteristics that could lead to the officer claiming probable cause exists that the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If the officer suspects the person may be impaired, the officer can ask the driver to undergo a roadside sobriety test or exercise as well as take a Breathalyzer test. These tests can be refused, but refusal could lead to adverse consequences. It is important that anyone facing a DUI charge or investigation consults with an attorney as soon as possible.
The majority of the time, a Breathalyzer test is done after the person is already under arrest. Therefore, even when the person blows under the legal limit, the person will not be immediately released.
This is a point that experienced trial lawyers use to their advantage to show the lack of fairness in the process. Nonetheless, if a person does blow over the limit, defense attorneys have been able to challenge some of the Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer results for various reasons.
After the Arrest
Absent extreme circumstances, most persons arrested for DUI will be released within 24 hours of their arrest if bond or bail is posted, or if they are granted release on personal recognizance. Upon release, it is critical to contact an attorney experienced in handling DUIs for guidance.
Some states immediately issue a driver’s license suspension even before the criminal charge is resolved. However, there is usually a process for obtaining a hardship license or work permit that would allow an individual to drive with a provisional license for a limited purpose: typically work, school, medical appointments, or religious services.
A court date will be scheduled in the near future. Upon hiring a DUI attorney, oftentimes, the person’s appearance can be waived so that they do not have to miss work or waste time going to early court appearances where the case is not likely to be resolved. Instead, the attorney appears on their behalf and will then notify the accused when they do, in fact, need to be present for court in order to resolve their case.
Defending the DUI Charge
There are multiple ways to raise a defense against a DUI charge – whether it’s challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the validity of the tests/exercises given, or the conclusions of the officer as to the level of impairment. It is critical that if you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible to guide you through the process and explore what potential defenses you might have.