What First-Time Offenders Can Expect From DUI Treatment

So you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI for the first time, and being in that situation can be daunting. After all, DUI is a serious offense in all states, and it carries severe penalties as well.

Should you get convicted of a DUI, you can expect to deal with consequences such as jail time, driver’s license revocation, and payment of steep fines.

However, there is a chance the judge presiding over your case would allow you to enter into a suspended sentencing arrangement and order you to undergo a DUI treatment program instead.

Whether it’s online DUI treatment or otherwise, such a program is designed not only to educate DUI offenders about the consequences of drunk driving but also help them identify an underlying alcohol problem if it exists and get the necessary treatment for it.

If you’re a first-time offender and you have to go through DUI treatment, here are some of the things you can expect.

You Will Undergo DUI Screening

At your initial DUI screening, you will be asked to answer tests that carry questions aiming to establish a drinking problem, if any.

If your answers to the questions point to the existence of alcohol issues, you can expect to be recommended for an alcohol assessment.

You Will Answer More In-depth Questions During Alcohol Assessment

Alcohol assessment can be similar in the sense that it involves answering more questions.

This time, however, the questions are more probing—even personal.

The questions that you will need to answer during your alcohol assessment will touch on things like your relationships with family and friends, your job, and of course, alcohol use.

Through your answers, the mental health professional conducting your alcohol assessment should be able to identify your triggers for drinking and the severity of your alcohol problem. Your alcohol assessment results will also help accurately determine your treatment needs and how long and intense it should be.

Possible Treatment Recommendations

Depending on your alcohol assessment results, you may be asked to enter alcohol abuse treatment programs.

If your alcohol assessment discovers a co-existing mental disorder along with your alcohol problem, you may have to undergo dual diagnosis treatment to address both issues.

Your results may also call for alcohol detoxification, then inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment later.

You may also be asked to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.

In most cases, attending alcohol abuse education programs or DUI school is also a requirement to help a first-time DUI offender learn how dangerous drunk driving can be and how to avoid drinking and driving in the future.

Why Completing DUI Treatment Is A Must

When a judge orders you to undergo DUI treatment, you are in no position to refuse or avoid it.

Given that it’s a part of your suspended sentencing arrangement or a condition of your probation, refusing or avoiding DUI treatment comes with harsh consequences.

Keep in mind that completing the DUI treatment process is necessary to reinstate your driver’s license. Fail to undergo or finish treatment for DUI, and you won’t find yourself driving legally anytime soon.

Failure to complete DUI treatment is a violation of your probation, something that courts do not look upon kindly. If a judge determines that you did violate the conditions of your probation, don’t be surprised if he or she extends your probation, or worse, make you serve more time in jail and pay much heftier fines.

DUI treatment may not be a walk in the park, but if it gives you the opportunity to reduce or even eliminate your penalties, then it would be in your best interest to take it seriously.

How to Prevent Your Teen From Driving Drunk

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Unfortunately, many teens get access to alcohol at a much earlier age. Let us look at some alarming statistics:

  • A 2017 study revealed almost 61% of teens admitted to binge drinking
  • A research conducted in 2016 showed that 38% of students admitted to binge drinking while in college
  • Teens drink and drive as much as 2.4 million times each month
  • About 10% of teenagers in high school will drink and drive
  • About 85% of teens in high school will binge drink

While courts often mandate an ignition interlock device (IID) for DUI offenders, a growing number of parents embrace interlock installation to ensure their minor loved ones are always sober when behind the wheel.

What is DUI?

Driving under the influence is a legal citation given to someone caught driving under the influence of a mind-altering substance such as alcohol. The ramifications of driving under the influence are grave, and those convicted will face serious legal consequences.

What happens if your teen gets a DUI?

Typically, DUIs are issued when an accident has taken place or during traffic stops. When underage drivers are pulled over, and the police suspect they are driving under the influence,  they will undergo a blood alcohol content (BAC) breath test. If alcohol is detected, they will be taken into custody, and the vehicle will be towed.

Most states have zero-tolerance laws for DUI and will slap hefty penalties on teenagers under 21 years of age who drive with alcohol in their bloodstream. 

What are the legal repercussions of underage DUI?

There are several legal penalties for teens who drive under the influence, including:

  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Loss of driver’s license (mostly for an entire year)
  • Community service
  • Mandatory alcohol education
  • Jail time

What can you do to help ensure your teenagers will not drink and drive?

Set clear rules

A study of over 1,000 teens revealed that those with “hands-on” parents are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving. At all times, be very clear that they are not allowed to drink any alcohol if they plan to drive. Ensure they are aware that it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive when under the influence.

Layout all the unpleasant consequences of driving drunk, including jail time, losing their license, being denied college acceptance, or worst, being involved in a fatal car crash. Set rules and expectations clearly and be strict without feeling guilty.

Equip your teens to handle peer pressure

Most teenage drinking occurs because of peer pressure. Sit down with your teens and talk about possible scenarios they’ll encounter that will involve alcohol. Give guidance on what they need to do if they were offered a drink at a party. 

Also, remind them to always turn down rides from friends who have been drinking. Reassure your teens they can always call on you if they need a ride.

Set a good example

Ensure you practice what you preach. Don’t drink excessively, especially when your teenage children are around. Refrain from making jokes about drinking as well so they won’t think alcohol use is glamorous or funny. Avoid implying alcohol can solve any of your problems by saying you need a drink after a long day.

Get to know the people they hang out with

It would be a good idea to help your teens establish friendships with those who don’t drink. If you notice they’re hanging out with friends who are known to use alcohol, limit their time together. Also, implement strict rules on how they’ll spend after school time and the people they’ll spend it with.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your teenagers can still end up driving while under the influence. In line with this, make sure you know what the legal consequences are. Better yet, consider interlock installation for your peace of mind.

Ways Drunk Driving Accidents Affect Victims Physically, Psychologically, and Emotionally

Drunk driving has been a huge problem in the United States for decades.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pegs the number of arrests in 2018 for driving under the influence (DUI) at 1,001,329, a staggering figure by any standard.

In the same year, more than 10,500 people died in drunk driving accidents in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

For all the massive resources used for campaigns against drunk driving over the years, far too many people still get behind the wheel and drive.

Some even get arrested multiple times within a certain period that they end up facing aggravated DUI charges in some states.

Sometimes, one can’t help but think that these drivers don’t realize that the accidents they could cause can take a heavy physical, psychological, and emotional toll on everyone involved, including themselves.

The Physical Impact of Drunk Driving Accidents

People who figure in a drunk driving crash rarely come out of it unscathed. Passengers sustaining minor injuries are common, and they would be the more fortunate ones. Others end up with injuries to the more vulnerable parts of their body, including the:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Spine
  • Legs
  • Knees

Depending on the severity of the crash, a passenger, pedestrian, or the drunk driver himself could survive a car accident but end up incapacitated due to injuries to the above-mentioned areas.

The brain is also prone to serious injury in an alcohol-impaired driving-related crash. Many survivors of a drunk driving crash have lost the ability to talk, walk, or even feed themselves because of a traumatic brain injury, depriving them of a normal life.

Limb loss is also a typical consequence of drunk driving accidents. In some particularly horrific alcohol-related crashes, victims end up with severe burns and live with constant pain for a long time.

Alcohol-related Car Crashes and Their Psychological Toll

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a mental health disorder that’s commonly associated with war veterans and those who have gone through a violent experience. Car crash survivors happen to be vulnerable to PTSD, too.

A drunk driving accident survivor with PTSD are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Flashbacks, a vivid reliving of the crash
  • Nightmares
  • Jumpiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Concentration problems
  • Irritability/Quick to anger
  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the accident
  • Survivor’s guilt, questioning why they survived while others did not

The intensity of the above symptoms can vary over time. Sometimes, even the sound of something crashing to the floor can trigger a flashback. Watching a car crash scene in a movie will likely do the same. Being stressed out, in general, can set off more symptoms as well.

The Emotional Effects of a Drunk Driving Crash

Those who live through a car crash are likely to suffer a lot of grief, especially if they lost someone close to them to a drunk driver. 

While some grieve accordingly, others could take it to the extreme and isolate themselves, shunning friends and family.

It’s also common for car crash survivors to feel a lot of anger, even rage.

Such emotions may become even more intense once they find out that a drunk driver caused the accident that killed or badly hurt their friend or loved one. It’s not unheard of for angry car accident survivors to wish for something violent to happen to that alcohol-impaired driver.

As for drunk drivers themselves, let’s not forget that they are also human. Feelings of guilt may already be eating at them since the accident, even more so if someone ended up paralyzed or dying because of it.

The worst part about the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of drunk driving accidents on survivors is that it may take some time for them to recover, if at all.

Then again, anyone who lived through an alcohol-related car crash should never lose hope. With possible compensation from a personal injury claim and unwavering support from their loved ones, recovery should never be too far off for survivors of a drunk driving crash.

What You Need To Know About Thanksgiving DUI

For most people, Thanksgiving is often associated with family gatherings, festivities, and turkey. For law enforcement, however, it is mostly associated with a massive rise in DUI arrests. 

As part of their effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, police have set up DUI checkpoints for Thanksgiving. In most cases, checkpoints are announced beforehand through the town’s police website, local news, or the newspaper.

Legally, the primary purpose of DUI checkpoints is not to catch offenders or hand out DUI penalties. Instead, the checkpoints are implemented to discourage people from driving under the influence.

Often, they cannot pull over people at random. However, they usually set up a neutral system, for instance, every 3rd driver. Once a car is pulled over, the police will observe the motorist and ask questions. 

If the police notice signs of drunk driving, the driver will be asked to step out of the car and subject themselves to a field sobriety test. DUI checkpoints are considered helpful in preventing people from driving under the influence. 

Some statistics indicate that checkpoints have helped prevent one out of ten DUI fatal accidents. 

How to Handle a DUI Checkpoint: Your Easy Guide

  • Stay calm. If you have been stopped, it does not necessarily mean you are suspected of driving under the influence. Remain calm and don’t attempt to do an illegal U-turn just to get out of the checkpoint line. You will only be giving the police a ground to pull you over.
  • Say as little as possible. There is no need for you to impress the officers by providing unsolicited information, even the seemingly innocent ones. They might be used against you later.
  • Be cooperative. The police officer will likely ask for your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and driver’s license. Be ready to hand them over.
  • You don’t have to consent to a search. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, keep in mind that you are not required to agree. In the same manner, you are also not required to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.   
  • Contact your attorney. If arrested for DUI, you must get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.   

Other Ways You Can Avoid Getting in Trouble This Thanksgiving

  • Never get behind the wheel if you have consumed alcohol. The legal norm in most states is 0.08% BAC.
  • Refrain from driving if you are drowsy, fatigued, or tired. Driving in those states is considered dangerous and can be similar to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Make sure you always wear a seatbelt. It is also crucial that you require all the passengers to do the same. Ensure you don’t start the engine until everyone is buckled in.
  • If drinking is on your Thanksgiving list, ensure you have another means of going home without needing to drive. If not, ensure you have a designated driver.
  • Check your car for issues that will cause authorities to pull you over. In line with this, ensure all the tires, lights, and windscreen wipers are functioning accordingly.
  • Drive carefully and stay away from aggressive drivers. Make sure you also don’t speed up or drive aggressively as well.

Conclusion

Authorities around the country will often dedicate more officers to DUI patrol on Thanksgiving compared to other typical nights. With several officers looking for drunks, your chances of getting pulled over are higher. That being said, ensure you have a designated driver while you go out and have a great time.

What You Need To Know About Court-Mandated DUI Treatment

When a court hands down a sentence against a DUI offender, you can expect it to include fines, suspension of driving privileges, probation, and jail time as sanctions. In some cases, a court may decide to order the DUI offender to undergo DUI treatment as well.

More often than not, court-ordered treatment for DUI intends to give DUI offenders the chance to avoid some of the penalties of their conviction, that is, if they complete the program. It is also designed to determine if the offender has an underlying alcohol abuse problem that needs addressing. More importantly, DUI treatment online, particularly its alcohol education component, also aims to prevent convicted drunk drivers from becoming repeat offenders.

If you’re a convicted drunk driver ordered to undergo mandatory DUI treatment, here are some of the things that will happen.

Initial DUI Screening

DUI screening is the first step toward determining if you have an underlying alcohol problem that may have driven you to drink and drive.

Your initial DUI screening will have you answer questions indicated in the screening tool that will be used on you. Some of the instruments used for DUI screening may include:

  • The CAGE Test—This four-question test, all answerable by a yes or a no, is considered one of the oldest and most commonly used screening instruments for alcohol abuse.
  • The T-ACE Test—Three of the four yes or no questions in this test are from the CAGE test, but this test has a reputation for diagnosing alcohol issues in men and women more accurately.
  • The AUDIT Test—Short for Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the AUDIT test comprises ten multiple-choice questions. It is reputed to be one of the most accurate alcohol screening tests.
  • The MAST Test—An acronym for Michigan Alcohol Screening Test, the MAST test carries 22 yes or no questions. It’s said to be effective in diagnosing alcohol problems among adults and adolescents.

If the initial drug screening fails to identify an underlying alcohol problem, there won’t be a need to make you undergo treatment, although your state may still require you to complete an online DUI class or an alcohol education course.

However, if the results indicate that an alcohol problem may be present, you can expect to undergo a more extensive alcohol assessment.

What To Expect From An Alcohol Assessment

To be performed by a mental health professional from a state-certified treatment provider, your alcohol assessment will delve deeper into your personal life with more probing questions.

The two forms commonly used for an alcohol assessment are the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV) and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI).

The DIS-IV form is designed to determine if you have existing mental disorders contributing to an alcohol problem. On the other hand, the ASI is made up of more in-depth questions about your personal life. You can expect to be asked about your family, relationships, career, drug and alcohol use, and other questions that will help them establish the reasons for your drinking.

The treatment provider will use your alcohol assessment results to make a recommendation for an intervention and treatment plan, including its length and intensity.

Expected Alcohol Assessment Outcomes

After your alcohol assessment, the treatment provider will recommend that you to undergo an alcohol abuse treatment program, which may include any of the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings
  • Counseling sessions
  • Group meetings
  • Dual diagnosis if a co-existing mental disorder is present
  • Detoxification
  • DUI School
  • Inpatient treatment program
  • Outpatient treatment program

Why You Need To Complete Mandatory DUI Treatment

Completing a court-mandated DUI treatment brings a host of benefits for you. You may be able to avoid jail time and some of the other penalties that come with your conviction. You will also be able to regain your license to drive.

Fail to complete the program, and you will be hauled back to court and be made to serve your sentence in its entirety.

DUI treatment is not a walk in the park for the offender. Still, it offers you a way out, and you would do well to make the most of the opportunity given to you.

What To Do When Falsely Accused Of Domestic Violence

Society and the courts view domestic violence as one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. If accused of domestic violence, it is recommended that you speak with a skilled and experienced criminal attorney immediately.

Regardless if you are guilty or otherwise, even mere domestic violence allegations can have an adverse effect on both your life and future. While millions of individuals are abused by their significant others every year, it is sad to note that some people use false claims of emotional and physical abuse so they can:

  • Win a custody battle
  • Get even with a spouse who wants divorce
  • Get their spouses out of their lives
  • Gain possession of the alleged partner’s property

Domestic Violence in a Nutshell

There is a common misconception that domestic violence refers to physical action against a spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend alone. It also does not follow that the parties involved are involved in a romantic relationship to be guilty of a domestic violence offense. 

Case in point: under California law, domestic violence is defined as “Abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.”

Domestic violence can also extend to those living under the same roof or related by marriage or blood. Domestic violence also includes physical action and threats of physical action, regardless of whether they are carried out or not. Domestic violence can also include:

  • Mental and psychological abuse
  • Stalking
  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexual abuse
  • Destruction of personal property
  • Throwing things toward the victim

Whether charged as a felony or misdemeanor will depend on a few factors like the individual’s age, the allegations, and if there are weapons involved. 

False Domestic Violence Accusations: Here’s What You Should Do

When falsely accused of domestic violence, there are certain things you can do to ensure your freedom is secured and your rights are protected. 

Get lawyer representation

As soon as you are falsely accused of domestic violence, your first course of action should be to seek attorney representation. Your lawyer will prove to the court that you are merely a victim of a malicious plot for revenge.

It is also likely that your spouse or partner is angry because you’ve wronged them by having an affair. It will be up to you and your lawyer to prove that there is no truth to the allegations, and the accuser just wanted revenge.

Ensure that you do not breach any restraining orders against you

Make sure you do not breach the terms and conditions of any restraining order filed against you. The accuser can try to put you in a situation where you breach the restraining order so you’ll face additional legal consequences. 

Play it safe by not meeting the accuser or anyone else named in the order while the case is ongoing. It would also be wise to keep a record of their requests to meet so you can show the court that the other party does not see you as a threat.

Stick to your defense

Stick to the truth and don’t change your story or give a lot of contradicting accounts. If you are innocent, stand by your claims and follow the advice of your lawyer at all times. Also, it would be a good idea to show that you are a good parent. 

In some cases, false accusations can result in the loss of your rights to see your kids. Ask your lawyer what you can do to ensure you do not lose your parental rights.

Keep in mind who is in the wrong.

Remember that you are on the right, and your accuser is the one violating the law. Focus on proving that you are innocent. Once you have established your innocence, the other party will be facing perjury charges. 

Conclusion

When falsely accused of domestic violence, ensure you hire a seasoned and competent lawyer. Stick to your defense, focus on proving your innocence, and allow the legal system to do its job.

Can You Expunge A DUI Conviction?

Nothing good ever comes with a DUI conviction.

If you want to boost your chances of acquittal or dismissal, you will need to have a skilled and experienced extreme DUI attorney defending you in court.

Still, a conviction will always remain a possibility, and the pitfalls of being convicted for driving under the influence don’t stop with the sentence a judge hands down.

While jail time, probation, hefty fines, license suspension, and the other penalties that typically come with a DUI conviction can impact your life adversely, it’s the fact that you’ll have a criminal record that will haunt you in the long term.

A criminal record affects your future in more ways than one. You can clean up your act, quit drinking, and stay sober after your DUI conviction, but the mere existence of a criminal record will continue to follow you around for a long time.

Finding employment will be difficult, as employers wouldn’t want to hire people who have been proven in court to be irresponsible and reckless. If you were hoping to get into a good university, your DUI conviction could derail your plans. Maintaining or renewing your driver’s license could also prove to be hard. Your auto insurance premiums will also increase once insurers get wind of your DUI conviction.

If you want to shake this proverbial monkey off your back, you might want to apply for an expungement of your DUI conviction.

Expungement, In A Nutshell

Also known as expunction, expungement is the court-ordered process of “sealing” the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction, or erasing it in the eyes of the law. In short, it is a way of cleaning up your record.

Once the DUI conviction on your record is expunged, employers, university admissions officials, lenders, landlords, and just about anyone who conducts a criminal background check will no longer see it in official public records.

However, expungement does not really mean complete erasure of your record. Law enforcement and court officials can still access the information since they need it to see you have had prior convictions.

Still, an expungement will be a welcome relief for you, as your DUI conviction will no longer get in the way of living a normal life.

Not All States Do Not Allow DUI Conviction Expungement 

Before anything else, you need to find out if the state where you were convicted of a DUI allows expungements of DUI convictions. After all, some states do not have DUI expungement available.

Among the states that do not allow expungement of a DUI conviction are:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont

The District of Columbia also does not offer DUI conviction expungements.

Determining Your Eligibility

If the state in which you were convicted of a DUI allows expungements, then the next thing you need to do is determine if you are eligible for one.

States may differ in their expungement eligibility requirements. Among the factors that states consider when you’re applying for expungement include the question of whether it’s your first DUI conviction or not, the amount of time since your conviction, and the severity of your DUI charge.

In all likelihood, a judge will consider you ineligible for DUI expungement if:

  • You have multiple DUI convictions.
  • You violated the terms of your probation.
  • You have a pending criminal case.
  • Your DUI conviction was classified as a felony.

The DUI Expungement Process

Once you determine that expungement is allowed in the state where you were convicted, and you are eligible for one, you can proceed to file a petition with the court or fill out an application.

The process may also differ from state to state. Some do it via a public hearing, where you will have the chance to state your reasons and justify your petition for expungement. Other jurisdictions leave the whole thing in the hands of a judge, who will review your petition and other paperwork related to your case before deciding on whether to grant you an expungement or not.

You need to be aware that the DUI expungement process may take time, involves plenty of paperwork, and could be complicated.

Expungement, however, will be all worth that hassle, especially if your DUI conviction was your first one, and you have cleaned up your act enough to ensure that there won’t be a second.

What Factors can Aggravate a DUI Charge?

DUI charges and their potential consequences can be tricky and quite confusing to understand. The severity of the penalties for a DUI conviction largely depends on the incidents and circumstances that surround it.

A number of factors can turn a DUI arrest into aggravated DUI. This is serious because a single aggravated DUI charge can easily lead to higher fines, longer jail time, and a permanent criminal record.

During the hearing for a DUI arrest, the prosecution may cite the following factors to aggravate a DUI charge:

Reckless driving

Proof of reckless driving can enhance the punishment of a DUI charge. If the driver was operating the vehicle with willful disregard to the safety of people or property, he or she may be required to pay additional fines or complete DUI school on top of other penalties.

Furthermore, a defendant who is found driving over the speed limit may also receive excessive speed charges in addition to a DUI. In some states, the sentence could vary depending on fast or over the speed limit you were driving.

Driving with a suspended or revoked license

Nobody should sit behind the wheel of a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. If you are not yet of legal driving age or if you had your driving privileges suspended/revoked for some reason, then you have no business operating a vehicle.

Driving under the influence already shows blatant disregard for traffic laws, and comes with severe penalties. For a DUI defendant caught driving on a suspended or revoked license, the consequences could be more dire.

Previous or multiple DUI convictions

If you have been convicted for DUI in the past, you may face enhanced sentences for your subsequent DUI convictions. For example, if the minimum jail time for a first-time DUI offense is 24 hours, it could increase to 10 days on your second offense and even longer on the third conviction.

States impose harsher punishments to repeat DUI offenders to deter them from driving under the influence again. The courts may also hand down elevated sentences even if the previous convictions occurred in other states.

High blood alcohol concentration

There is a set legal limit for the allowed blood alcohol concentration while driving in the United States. In most states, the limit is at 0.08%, which means that if you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you have committed a DUI offense.

If your BAC is 0.10% or higher, you may be charged with a high BAC DUI offense. A BAC of more than 0.159% qualifies as the highest BAC DUI offense. These higher-level offenses carry with them more severe penalties such as higher fines and longer jail time, among others.

Minor passengers

Another factor that can aggravate a DUI offense is the presence of minors in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. However, the minor has to be under a specific age range to trigger enhanced penalties for a DUI. In some states, the minor has to be 12 years old or younger, while other states have set the maximum age at 16.

The punishment for a DUI conviction may also increase if the offense takes place within a school zone, regardless of whether there are children on board the vehicle or not.

Causing an injury

If a DUI offender ends up seriously injuring someone, he or she is likely to face enhanced DUI penalties and may be charged with aggravated assault while driving under the influence. The latter is classified as a second-degree felony and carries with it plenty of serious consequences, among them is a maximum prison time of up to ten years.

Should you find yourself facing an aggravated DUI charge, the first and most important step is to consult and hire an experienced DUI attorney. Working with someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of DUI offenses can better navigate the intricacies of the case and help you avoid a slew of consequences.

Things That Give Cops Reasonable Suspicion For DUI

As a general rule, police officers cannot stop motorists on suspicion of driving under the influence just because they feel like it. To be able to do so legally, they must have reasonable suspicion for DUI.

Law enforcement officers look for signs that a motorist is driving impaired. Once they spot any indicator, they’ll have the reasonable suspicion they need to make a DUI stop.

When they start conversations with the driver, police will continue looking for signs that will give them enough reason to suspect that the person is either driving drunk or committing a DUI for drugged driving.

So, what are these things that give police officers reasonable suspicion for DUI?

Speeding

Driving above the speed limit will get the attention of any cop, whether you’re driving drunk or not. Police will give chase, stop you, and issue a ticket, as well as check if you are driving under the influence.

Aggressive Driving

Speeding is already a sign of aggressive driving. Merging in and out of lanes quickly without checking for other vehicles, tailgating, and yelling at other motorists while at full speed are also indicators that the person behind the wheel is driving aggressively.

Driving Slowly

At the other end of the spectrum are people who drive very slowly. Some drivers with alcohol in their systems may resort to driving at extremely low speeds in an effort to avoid getting involved in an accident. Unfortunately for them, police officers are likely to notice cars that drive so slowly that they’re holding up traffic.

Ignoring Traffic Rules

Police will also suspect a driver of DUI when they see a blatant disregard of traffic rules, like running through red lights, ignoring stop signs, making illegal U-turns, or refusing or failing to yield to other vehicles.

Erratic Driving

Drunk drivers typically swerve from time to time, step on the brakes repeatedly, get too close to other vehicles or objects by the roadside, and stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. Vigilant cops will likely interpret these as signs that the driver is drunk and will promptly pull the vehicle over.

Physical And Behavioral Signs

When police officers make a DUI stop, they will ask drivers to roll the window down and start interacting with them.

While doing so, law enforcement officers will observe whether the eyes of the driver are watery or bloodshot, the face is flush, and if he or she reeks of alcohol.

Police will also be on the lookout for any slurring in the driver’s speech, as it’s a clear indicator of drunkenness.

If the driver doesn’t appear or smell drunk, but is showing signs of impairment, police will likely check for physical signs of drug use. Excessive sweating, dilated pupils, and a coated tongue can give drug-impaired drivers away. Some may even have drug residue on their nostrils or skin.

The conversations police strike with suspected drunk drivers also yield results. Aside from slurred speech, drunk drivers also tend not to make much sense when talking. It’s also common for them to give delayed responses to queries. There are also cases where drivers are so drunk they readily admit that they are, indeed, drunk, and incriminate themselves in the process.

Once they have confirmed their suspicions, police will then proceed to find probable cause for a DUI arrest by administering breath and field sobriety tests. If they suspect a DUI for drugged driving, they can conduct swab tests that detect traces of substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Many people end up getting arrested for DUI because of the things listed above. In any case, always seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney should you find yourself facing DUI charges. Your arresting officer may have fulfilled the reasonable suspicion and probable cause requirements to arrest you for DUI, but a skilled DUI lawyer can, among other things, question the legality of your arrest.

With their extensive experience in handling drunk driving cases, DUI attorneys are your best hope of getting the best possible result for your DUI case.

Drug Possession vs. Drug Distribution: Everything You Need to Know

Under state and federal laws, the willful possession of controlled substances is considered a crime. Those who get arrested for drug possession will need the help of first-rate drug lawyers to guide them on how to move forward.

Drug possession is a serious charge that carries heavy penalties like fines and jail time. However, if authorities find evidence there was an intent to sell or distribute the drugs found in someone’s possession, they will be liable to face drug distribution charges.

Unfortunately, consequences for the latter are more severe compared to mere drug possession. Regardless of the charges faced, the help of a seasoned and competent drug lawyer is required.

Drug Possession Vs. Drug Distribution: How is One Different from the Other?

If you are found with illicit substances, you could face any of the following charges, depending on the evidence against you:

  • Possession
  • Trafficking
  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing

Drug Possession

The most common charge among the four is possession, as more people are likely to purchase drugs rather than distribute or sell them. Possession is defined as intentionally and knowingly having the controlled substance without any valid prescription and quantity that’s enough for selling or personal use.

In some states like Ohio, if you are caught in possession of 100-200 grams of marijuana, you will be slapped with a 4th degree misdemeanor. You can pay as much as $250 in fines and can face 30 days in jail.

Any more and you will be charged with a felony, which carries a harsher consequence—$2,500-$15,000 in fines and 6 to 8 years in prison, depending on the amount. Possession of more dangerous substances can automatically result in a felony. The severity of the punishment can vary depending on the quantity and the type of drug.

The law provides for two types of drug possession. One is actual possession, also known as “possession in fact.” In this type of drug possession, the drug is either found on the individual’s person, or the individual was caught having immediate physical contact with the controlled substance.

The other type of drug possession is called constructive possession. It is also sometimes referred to as “possession in law.” When charged with constructive possession, it means the suspect had knowledge, access to, and the ability to control the controlled substances found, even if it was not on their person at the time of the arrest.

One or more can be charged with constructive possession, like in the case of controlled substances found in an apartment where multiple people have keys.

Drug Distribution

Possession with intent to distribute is considered a more serious offense. Drug distribution is defined as a person offering or selling a controlled substance. It is also defined as the preparation, shipping, delivery, transportation, and distribution of an illegal drug when the individual knows it will be sold or resold by someone else.

If the quantity is 20 grams or less, the crime is a misdemeanor. However, when the quantity is 21-200 grams, it will be a felony charge. Those who are convicted of distribution of more than 40,000 grams of marijuana can get a mandatory sentence of 8 years and a penalty of up to $20,000.

Punishment for selling more dangerous drugs often come with harsher penalties. For instance, possession of heroin with intent to sell carries a maximum term of 11 years.

Conclusion

If you are facing drug-related charges, ensure you hire a lawyer with a lot of experience handling similar cases. Drug lawyers often know more about state and federal drug laws. Therefore, they are better equipped to help you out and get you the best possible results for your case.