Answering 4 FAQs about Driving under the Influence
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” which is a crime in many countries. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. A DUI is also referred to as a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or an OVI (operating a vehicle while impaired).
That said, DUI laws vary from state to state, leaving some people confused as to whether or not a DUI is a criminal offense or a simple traffic violation. Needless to say, there’s nothing simple about a DUI.
Today, we’ll delve into DUIs, answering frequently asked questions to help you better understand what can happen should you be charged with a DUI:
1. Is It a Crime? Can It Be Treated as a Felony?
In the United States, DUI is a criminal offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally, a first-time offense is considered a misdemeanor and can result in fines, probation, or even jail time. However, if the DUI offense involves an accident resulting in serious injury or death, the charges can be upgraded to a felony. A felony DUI conviction could result in prison time, hefty fines, and even a permanent criminal record.
2. Will It Result in a Criminal Record?
The short answer is yes. A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is considered a criminal offense in most jurisdictions and can therefore result in a criminal record.
A criminal record is a public record that includes all convictions of criminal offenses. These records are kept by the police department, court system, and other government agencies. When someone is convicted of a DUI, the conviction is added to their criminal record, which can then be accessed by employers, landlords, educational institutions, and other organizations.
3. Can an Expungement Be Used?
Yes, an expungement can be used for DUI charges. An expungement is a legal process in which a person’s criminal record is sealed or erased from public view. This means that even if a person has been convicted of a DUI charge, the expungement process can make it so that the record of the conviction is hidden from public view.
However, although expungement can be used for DUI charges, it is important to note that it is not always possible to expunge a DUI charge. In some cases, the court may choose to deny the expungement. There may also be some restrictions on expungement, such as the length of time that must pass before a DUI can be expunged. Additionally, some states may have laws that prevent the expungement of DUI charges.
4. Does One Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
A DUI charge can lead to serious consequences, including jail time, hefty fines, the loss of driving privileges, and the possibility of having a permanent criminal record. A criminal defense attorney will help you understand your legal rights and will work to protect them. An attorney can also help you build a strong defense by examining the evidence against you and challenging any weak evidence.
An attorney can also help you navigate the court system and negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor, if necessary. A plea deal can help you avoid the maximum penalties, such as jail time. An attorney can also help you understand your options and make sure that you make the best decision for your situation.
Remember, a DUI can be a serious crime, and as such, it is vital to reach out for help wherever you can. This means reaching out to a professional attorney to help you navigate through the criminal justice system and protect your rights!
Hanks, Ballard & Barth is a high-powered law firm offering attorneys ready to assist in various areas of the law. If you are looking for the best criminal lawyer in Georgia, work with us today.