What to Do If You Get a DUI or DWI

Mothers against Drunk Driving If you are involved in a situation where you have or are being charged with a DUI, DWI or OWI charge, you should be made aware of how the legal process is carried out and what your rights are in these situations. As mentioned before, when a vehicle operator is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and subsequently fails both the field sobriety tests and the Breathalyzer test, that person is placed under police custody and is declared to be “under arrest”. The circumstances that lead to a DUI arrest can differ depending on the circumstances. The most common scenario for a DUI arrest is usually a first hand observation by a police officer of activity or behavior that can cause the officer to suspect that that person is under the influence. A person can also be placed under arrest for “probable cause”, if facts and circumstances lead the officer to believe that a person has or is about to commit a crime. In regards to DUI arrests, a person who smells of alcohol, refuses a Breathalyzer test or has been seen driving erratically can be placed under arrest due to probable cause. A judge or magistrate can also issue an arrest warrant if a police officer submits a sworn statement that outlines the basis for an arrest.

If you have been placed under arrest for a DUI or similar charge, you will be taken to the station or local jail to be booked, where fingerprints and mug shots will be taken, along with any property located on your person. A formal record of the DUI and sobriety tests will be logged. After this is complete, you will most likely be able to post bail, unless you are deemed a flight risk or held due to the seriousness of the alleged crime. Most times, a standard bail schedule is established so suspects can post bail and be released quickly, unless the seriousness of the alleged charge requires the suspect to wait in custody until a hearing is set for a judge to determine the amount of bail. Remember that under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, bail cannot be excessive. A DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor, depending on the seriousness of the charge and the strength of the evidence offered.