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How Do I Know If I Got a DUI?

About 1.5 million people are arrested every year in the United States for drunk driving.

If you’re driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) that’s at or over 0.08%, you’re over the legal limit.

When you get pulled over driving while intoxicated, things can get confusing. The officer might give you a series of tests to determine how drunk you are, and you’ll most likely be arrested.

If they give you a ticket, that ticket won’t necessarily indicate a DUI, which is why many drivers wonder, “How do I know if I got a DUI?”

Keep reading to learn more about DUIs and to determine whether or not you’ve been charged with one.

How Do I Know If I Got a DUI?

If a police officer notes signs of impairment in your driving (such as swerving while driving), they’ll pull you over. They can also pull you over for a traffic violation, like running a stop sign or even driving with a broken taillight.

If you feel there was no reason for the cop to pull you over, then you’ll have to bring a motion to suppress later in your case.

When the police officer approaches your vehicle and asks for license and registration, they’ll look for additional signs of intoxication, and put it all in their police report.

Depending on the situation, they might search the car, ask you to get out and perform a series of tests and ask you questions about your day or night. If they determine that you are, in fact, drunk driving, you’ll be arrested and taken to the station.

What’s confusing for some drivers is that the traffic violation ticket doesn’t necessarily take note of the DUI. If you run a red light or speed, you’ll get a ticket for those violations.

Lookup Your DUI Record

To find your DUI record, you’ll have to look it up in the system once you’re released from custody. It’s also a good idea to get a copy of the DUI police report. In most states, the report isn’t available until your arraignment (your first day in court).

Talk to your lawyer about getting a copy and taking a look before your first court date. Any DUI lawyer will be able to analyze the report, identifying key strengths and weaknesses in your case.

What Happens When You Get a DUI?

If police determine they have probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving, you’ll be cuffed and taken to jail or the police station.

Typically, they’ll take your driver’s license and issue you a temporary paper driving permit, which is effective until the court determines whether or not to suspend your license.

When you initially get taken to jail, you’ll be booked and cited for your offense. 

What Happens at the Station?

It’ll likely take hours for you to be processed at the police station, and if it’s your first offense, it could take longer. During your intake process, an intake officer will take your mug shot and get your fingerprints. Another police officer may ask you questions about what happened, your driving, and drugs or alcohol.

At that point, you’ll be provided with the opportunity to call your lawyer.

Typically, you’ll stay there until the judge releases you on your own recognizance or when someone bails you out.

Are You Charged With a DUI Immediately After Your Arrest?

Your arraignment (first court date) is where you’ll be charged with a crime. At this hearing, you’ll plead guilty or not guilty, and have the opportunity to demand a jury trial.

If you receive any sentence for jail time, the time you spend at the station after your arrest will count towards that future time. 

DUI Consequences

What happens if you get a DUI? It’s so important to discuss your case with a professional DUI lawyer as there are multiple ways any DUI case can go.

Driving while intoxicated is illegal, but there are circumstances and details that could make or break your case, or determine whether or not you face a misdemeanor or felony charge.

A seasoned lawyer should be able to tell you how to beat a DUI, and whether or not you have a chance at doing so.

In some cases, a plea bargain could work in your favor, especially if it’s your first offense and you want to get your charges reduced to reckless driving.

A lawyer will help you better determine what your best course of action is. Should you go to trial, ask for a plea bargain, or plead guilty to your DUI charges?

Will You Lose Your License?

In most cases, the cops will confiscate your license when they arrest you and issue you a temporary one.

If that’s the case, you can use your temporary license until your first hearing.

Every circumstance is different though, and there are those in which you could lose your license completely, such as:

  • You don’t request a hearing for your case
  • You refuse to give your blood sample when you’re arrested
  • You refuse to provide a urine or breath sample when you’re arrested

If those situations apply to you, you’ll lose your license initially, regardless of if you end up getting charged with a DUI.

Take Action Before Your First Hearing

Are you still wondering, “How do I know if I got a DUI?” If you were arrested for drunk driving, you’ll likely be presented with your DUI charges at your arraignment.

Whether or not those charges stick depends on a variety of factors, including whether or not it’s your first offense, and how serious your traffic violations were. 

Make sure you request a court hearing and talk to a lawyer about your case, the police report, and any other details before your arraignment. While you might be feeling scared and overwhelmed, your best bet at getting your charges reduced is with the help of a DUI lawyer.

If you found this article useful, check our legal articles daily for more advice and news concerning all things law-related.