When you’ve made an error in judgment by driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, the consequences of this action can be severe and long-reaching. There are several laws and regulations designed to limit DUIs, but this charge is still common in Lenexa, KS. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney may help you avoid some of the most serious consequences of this charge.
Why Should You Hire a DUI Attorney? 6 Big Ways It Could Affect Your Future
So, how can a DUI charge affect your future? From losing your license to jail time, there are serious consequences for driving under the influence or being intoxicated behind the wheel. Here are a few of the biggest ways this charge can negatively impact your future.
1. Financial Loss
Whether you’re a first-time offender for driving under the influence or you’ve been charged with this offense before, one of the first consequences you will face as a result of this charge is a monetary fine. In Kansas, even minimum fines for a DUI can be very expensive. This is largely because Kansas DUI charges are more serious than other states, so even first-time offenders will have a very expensive fine on top of other legal consequences – for example, a first-time offense fine is $750 to $1,000.
Furthermore, the financial loss of a DUI charge doesn’t stop with the fine you have to pay. The financial implications can also refer to the loss of wages you might have when you are serving time in custody after your offense or even losing your job because your employer has their own policies about employees who have been convicted of crimes.
The probation period starts after you have served your time for driving under the influence. Probation applies to all offenders, even for those who have first-time charges. The probation process in Kansas is more intensive than in other states; first-time offenders may have a probation period of one year, while drivers who have three or more offenses may have a probation period of two years, along with other court-ordered demands. Usually, your probation period will start a few days after you begin serving time for your offense.
3. Jail Time
If you are convicted or found guilty of driving under the influence, then you will likely be facing jail time or, if you meet certain requirements, community service. For first-time offenders, the minimum jail time is 48 hours to a maximum of six months, or at least 100 hours of community service as decided by the court. For repeat offenders, the minimum jail time increases to at least 90 days to one year of time in jail. Repeat offenders may not have a community service alternative.
4. Suspended License
Another consequence of driving under the influence is a suspended license, which is a common consequence regardless of how many times you have been guilty of DUI. That said, the amount of time your license will be suspended will depend on your level of intoxication at the time of your arrest – the more intoxicated you are, the longer you will not be allowed to drive.
For those who have a test below .150, your license will be suspended for at least 30 days and you will only be allowed to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. For drivers with a test of .150 or above, your license will be suspended for up to one year along with an additional year, and you will only be allowed to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. For repeated offenders, the ignition interlock device may be installed on your vehicle for more than two to ten years, depending on the number of your offenses.
What If Your Charges Are Acquitted?
If you are acquitted of the DUI charges against you, it’s likely that you will still need to deal with the consequences of a suspended license. The DMV will automatically revoke your license privileges when you are arrested for a DUI, so even if your case is dismissed, you may not be able to drive until you can resolve your license suspension. There is a 14-day appeal period you may utilize to prevent license suspension, but if you miss this window, then you may not be able to drive until the suspension lifts after several months.
5. Drug and Alcohol Education
In addition to other consequences of driving under the influence, your charges will also mandate that you attend drug and alcohol education courses during your probation period. These mandatory classes must be attended and certified as complete with the court. The education program is meant to help you learn about the dangers of intoxication to hopefully prevent further incidents. These courses are typically mandated for all offenders, even first-time convictions.
6. Additional Punishments
The circumstances of your arrest will also directly impact the charges you will face in the future. For example, if you are arrested for driving under the influence when a child under the age of 14 is in the care, you will likely have another month of jail time added to your punishment. If someone was injured due to your actions, you will likely face imprisonment for 136 days to 31 months based on your previous DUI history and the severity of the injury. If someone died as a result of your DUI, you may face additional charges from the state or family.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help You in Lenexa, KS?
The consequences for driving under the influence in Kansas are steep and long-reaching. Ideally, you should never drive while intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs – but if you are arrested, you do have the right to legal representation. So, how can a DUI attorney help you with your charges? Skilled lawyers are knowledgeable in the aspects of Kansas law that may be used to dismiss your case or grant you leniency in your punishment. Some strategies include:
Illegal Traffic Stops
If you were pulled over under the pretense of a traffic violation and were then arrested for a DUI, then it’s possible your charges may be thrown out. The police are not allowed to pull drivers over without a reasonable belief that a crime is being committed, such as speeding. However, if there was not a legitimate reason to stop you, the traffic stop may be considered illegal or unethical.
The police often implement sobriety field tests for those who they believe are driving under the influence. A field test may include walking in a straight line or completing other basic instructions. If you pass a field sobriety test and are then asked to submit to blood alcohol testing without reasonable cause, your case may have grounds for dismissal. Similarly, if your field sobriety tests include non-standard instructions, it may be considered inaccurate.
When you are pulled over for a DUI, you may not realize the consequences of your actions until you are facing charges like fines, mandatory classes, and license suspension. Fortunately, an experienced DUI attorney can help you minimize your charges or fight for dismissal if there are any doubts related to your case. For more information about DUI defense, please contact Billam & Henderson in Overland Park, KS today.