DUI Stages:

  • Arraignment
  • Plea Bargain
  • Preliminary Hearing
  • Appellate and Post Conviction
  • Sentencing
  • Expungement
  • License Suspension

In addition to the criminal drunk driving charges brought against you, your state's department of motor vehicles can also take administrative action against you if you are arrested for drunk driving.

Administrative License Sanctions: This term refers to any sanctions legally imposed by state agencies without first requiring court orders. The exact scope, procedures, and limitations of administrative license sanction programs vary among states. In general, they are used to provide rapid, consistent treatment of offenders against the state's DUI defense laws or its DUI, DWS, DWR, and DWU laws. Typical administrative sanctions include license suspension, mandatory evaluation or treatment, fees, and education.

Depending on what state in which you are charged, drunk driving offenses can also be known as any of the following:

DUBAL - Driving with an Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level

  • DUI - Driving Under the Influence
  • DUII - Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant
  • DUIL - Driving Under the Influence of Liquor
  • DWAI - Driving While Ability Impaired
  • DWI - abbreviation could be interpreted as Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired, depending on the state in which you were arrested
  • DWUI - Driving While Under the Influence
  • OMVI - Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated
  • OUI - Operating Under the Influence
  • OUIL - Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Liquor
  • OUIN - Operating Under the Influence of Narcotics
  • OWI - Operating While Intoxicated
  • OWVI - Operating While Visibly Impaired
  • UBAL - Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level

Because drunk driving laws are complex, you not only need to hire a lawyer, but one who specifically specializes in DUI defense. Paul Ryan & Associates Attorneys at Law knows that some of the enforcement and judicial procedures are unconstitutional and violate motorists' rights. We are more well versed with the different sobriety tests and their varying accuracy levels. Don't give up your rights. Contact Paul Ryan & Associates Attorneys at Law, who understands your particular needs and situation.

DUI Stages Definitions:

DUI Arraignment

You have the right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay - usually within two court days - after being arrested. You will appear before a judge who will tell you officially of the charges against you. At the arraignment, an attorney may be appointed for you if you cannot afford one, and bail can be raised or lowered. You also can ask to be released on personal recognizance, even if bail was previously set.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor you can plead guilty or not guilty at the arraignment. If misdemeanor charges are not dropped, a trial will be held later in the county court of law. If you are charged with a DUI felony, however, and the charges are not dismissed, the next step is a preliminary hearing.

DUI Plea Bargain

In arriving at an appropriate sentence, a sentencing hearing may be held at which evidence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances is considered. The sentence hearing is also known as the "sentencing phase," "penalty phase" and "punishment phase." In assessing the circumstances surrounding a convicted person's criminal behavior, state courts often rely on pre-sentence investigations by probation agencies or other designated authorities. Courts may also consider victim impact statements, particularly in sentencing defendants convicted of serious or particularly violent crimes.

Preliminary Hearing

Every person who is charged with DUI is entitled to a preliminary hearing. If a person remains in jail, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing usually within 10 days of arrest. If a person is released from jail on bond, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing usually within 30 days of arrest. A preliminary hearing is an examination of the charge against the accused. The prosecutor must present evidence and witnesses that prove that it appears that an offense has been committed that there is probable cause to believe that the person accused committed it. The accused may cross-examine witnesses and may present evidence if he or she wishes.

If the judge makes a finding of probable cause after hearing the evidence, the charge is sent to the grand jury. If the judge does not find that it appears that an offense has been committed or that the accused is likely the person who committed an offense, the accused is discharged and the charge is dismissed. If the accused is discharged and the charge dismissed after a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor may still present evidence to the grand jury to see if they will find probable cause.

Appellate and Post Conviction

In a DUI appeal, an appellate court reviews the record of the pre-trial and trial proceedings for legal errors. The record includes the court file, the court reporter's transcript and the evidence and exhibits introduced in the trial court. In general, an appellate court does not consider information that is not contained in the record.

Sentencing

In arriving at an appropriate sentence, a sentencing hearing may be held at which evidence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances is considered. The sentence hearing is also known as the "sentencing phase," "penalty phase" and "punishment phase." In assessing the circumstances surrounding a convicted person's criminal behavior, state courts often rely on pre-sentence investigations by probation agencies or other designated authorities. Courts may also consider victim impact statements, particularly in sentencing defendants convicted of serious or particularly violent crimes.

Expungement Motions

An Expungement of your record results in the extraction and isolation of all records on file with any court correctional facility or law enforcement agency. The records that are expunged include complaints, warrants, arrests reports, commitments, criminal history records, fingerprints and your rap sheet.

Contrary to popular belief, your record is not automatically cleared or expunged with the passage of time. Even if you were never found guilty, an arrest is not expunged unless a court grants your Expungement petition. State statutes impose application guidelines and waiting periods for various types of arrests and convictions. The guidelines provide instruction for what can be expunged and set forth certain specific types of offenses that cannot. The guidelines also impose waiting periods that are calculated from the completion of the sentence imposed by the court.

It is important to note that an Expungement does not destroy records; it extracts and isolates the records. Under most circumstances, once an Expungement has been granted those records cannot be disclosed. A person who has been granted an Expungement can respond that he or she has no conviction when asked a question about having a criminal record. Exceptions to this rule include a person seeking a second Expungement, a person seeking a conditional discharge, and a person seeking to obtain employment in law enforcement.

License Suspension

Causes of Driving License Suspension:

  • Caught driving under the influence of intoxicants
  • Driver becomes incompetent to drive because of ill health
  • Multiple traffic offense convictions
  • Failure to report an accident
  • Failure to appear for a court hearing
  • Failure to obey a court order
  • Failure to provide proof of vehicle insurance
  • Failure to take a breath test when you are arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants
  • Driving while you have a suspended license is usually a misdemeanor, which means you could be arrested and sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail and or fined up to $5,000, depending on the state in which you live.

The registration of the vehicle that was driven at the time of arrest also will be suspended for up to 120 days and the court can order the vehicle "impounded" for up to three months.

Questions/Answers

What is DUI?

DUI is shorthand for Driving Under the Influence. A person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance to the extent that his or her mental faculties are impaired or when his or her blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit for the state.

Is there anyway to avoid a DUI?

It sounds simple, but don`t drink and drive. Take a taxi, designate a driver, walk, call a friend, but no matter what, do not drink and drive.

Can I still be in trouble for driving, even if my BAC is below the legal limit?

Yes. It is also unlawful to drive with your normal faculties impaired. Normal faculties are those faculties of a person, such as the ability to walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies, etc.

Does the car have to be moving for me to be guilty of DUI?

No. You can be arrested for DUI by driving while over the legal BAC in your state or while impaired. But, you need not actually operate the car in order to be arrested. You can still be found guilty if you had the capability and power to dominate, direct, or regulate the vehicle, regardless of whether you were exercising that capability or power at the time of the arrest. In other words, simply sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition can lead to your arrest for DUI by being in actual physical control of the car.

Do I have to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test?

No. However, refusing such tests is generally not a good idea. The laws of most states permit the motor vehicle department to suspend your privilege to drive. In addition, your refusal to submit to a test upon the request of a law enforcement officer is admissible in any criminal proceeding against you as evidence of you consciousness of guilt. By accepting the privilege extended by the laws of most states to drive, the courts have determined that you have given your consent to submit to an approved chemical or physical test of your breath for the purposes of determining your BAC, and to a urine test for the purposes of detecting the presence of drugs. Therefore, when you sign your name on your license, you are saying that if stopped for a possible DUI, you will accept to take the test.

Can I fight my DUI arrest?

Yes. You may request a review of the driver`s license suspension by the department of motor vehicles within a specified number of days following your arrest. At a formal review, the hearing officer is authorized to administer oaths, examine witnesses and take testimony. If you request an informal review hearing, it shall consist solely of an examination by the department of the written materials submitted by the arresting officer, as well as anything you wish to submit. You generally cannot attend an informal hearing.

If I am arrested for a DUI, will I lose my license?

Yes, the law enforcement officer will seize your license if you are arrested for DUI with an unlawful BAC or after you refused to submit to a chemical or physical test. Your license will be seized, and the officer will issue you a traffic ticket, which acts as both a temporary driver`s license and as your notice of suspension.

How long will I lose my license?

This will vary from state to state. However, if you have refused to submit to a chemical or physical test, your license will likely be suspended for a period of one year for a first refusal, or for eighteen months if you have previously refused to submit to such a test. If you have an unlawful BAC, your driving privilege will likely be suspended for six months for a first offense, and one year for a second offense.

What else will happen to me?

Once again, this varies from state to state. But more than likely, you will be given a jail term. Most states require a mandatory one-night stay on the first offense. In addition, most second offenses within five years, results in a mandatory 30 day jail term and a third offense usually results in a sentence of no less than ninety days. Furthermore, your insurance company may discontinue its coverage or at the very least, assign you to a high-risk category, resulting in a substantial increase in your premiums.