The Coronavirus has disrupted the way we live our lives and function as a society on so many different levels – and this includes our courts and justice system. In fact, even as industries and businesses are slowly reopening, most courts have yet to return to full operations.
But just because court hearings are suspended for the time being does not mean the law isn’t being enforced. If you’re drunk driving during the pandemic, chances are, you will still get pulled over, arrested, and face DUI penalties.
The consequences for drunk driving during the pandemic are just as bad, if not worse than before.
4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink and Drive During COVID-19
1. You may still end up in jail.
Make no mistake: DUI is considered a grave offense in all the states and, despite the health protocols and social distancing measures in force around the country, driving under the influence during the pandemic will still get you arrested.
To prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the courts aim to keep people out of jail as much as possible these days. This means that persons arrested for DUI are likely to be sent home to wait for their arraignment. However, you cannot entirely eliminate the possibility of landing in jail.
If you do end up in police custody after a DUI arrest, get in touch with a DUI attorney immediately. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and get you out of jail, especially with the COVID-19 restrictions still in place.
2. The Courts aren’t running at full swing.
Courts have ceased nearly all in-court hearings in the wake of the pandemic. Under normal circumstances (pre COVID-19), your arraignment should take plays just days after your arrest. But because courts are extending their court dates, you may have to wait for months before your case is heard. In fact, several states have moved their jury trials indefinitely.
If you’re lucky, though, your DUI attorney can get you a virtual hearing for your DUI case and the process can move a little bit faster then.
3. You will still have to attend DUI school.
The pandemic has made it unsafe for people to attend face-to-face classes, but many DUI schools are now operating remotely through Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms. Yes, you will have to attend online DUI classes if you want to have your driver’s license reinstated. And yes, it will cost you a pretty penny.
If you’re a first-time DUI offender, you may also be required to complete 34-hours of AB541 classes over the course of three months.
4. It’s harder to get conditional driving privileges.
You run the risk of getting your license suspended longer than necessary if you get arrested for DUI during the pandemic.
Many DMV (Department of Motor Services) offices are only operating at 50% capacity and some only accept visitors by appointment. This means it may take you a while to complete the requirements for license reinstatement or application for temporary driving privileges.
Got Arrested for DUI During the Pandemic?
We are at a confusing and unprecedented time, and our courts and legal system are not as efficient as they used to be. With all that’s going on, getting arrested for DUI in the midst of COVID-19 can be very troublesome. DUI cases are already complex and the current situation is only making it more complicated.
Pandemic or not, you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. But if you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI during this difficult time, seek the guidance and support of an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.