Friday, September 9, 2016

DUI Consequences - Criminal and Administrative

We spend a fair amount of time talking about DUI here...

... but we are in Las Vegas, after all. One thing that a lot of people seem to misunderstand about getting in trouble for DUI is that you actually get punished twice. 

So this is where "over a barrel" comes from... ouch!

Many people don't realize this, or forget, but having a driver's license is not a right to which you are guaranteed. Having a driver's license is a privilege which is extended to you once you attain a certain age and pass a certain number of tests. In Nevada, possessing a driver's license is also a contract between you and the state. When you sign for your license, you are actually promising that you will never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you are also giving consent to be tested if you are detained by law enforcement under suspicion of driving under the influence. 

What this means in simple terms is that if you have been arrested for the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, there are now TWO entities you are in trouble with!

It's the modern-day equivalent of
"Wait until your father gets home!"
See, an arrest for DUI obviously gets you into trouble with the law. This takes the form of going to jail and then having to stand before a judge where you may receive a sentence in the form of jail time, hefty monetary fines, community service and/or classes and presentations about how driving drunk affects the lives of others. These types of punishments can take away your freedom for a period of time and typically will cost you many, many thousands of dollars. 

Drivin' drunk? That's a paddlin'.

What people sometimes don't realize is that when you get arrested for DUI, you are also in hot water with the Department of Motor Vehicles. And what really surprises people is that even if your criminal case gets dismissed or reduced to something less, like reckless driving, DMV STILL PUNISHES YOU FOR GETTING CAUGHT DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE! 

See, when you get arrested for DUI and then hire a lawyer, the lawyer's job is to pick through your arrest with a fine-tooth comb and see if the officer(s) who arrested you made any mistakes. If there are any cracks in the case filed against you, your lawyer may have some leverage in court to get your criminal case reduced so you may possibly be convicted of something other than DUI. However, DMV, much like honey badger, don't care. 

At that point, DMV may as well change their name to IDGAF because no matter happens in court they will suspend your driver's license for at least 90 days! 

And here's the thing, you may think: "who cares? I'll just drive without my license!" 

Well, you may not want to risk that, because many times, when the court agrees to reduce your criminal charges to something more pleasant than a DUI, they do it with a few conditions. In 99% of these cases, one of the conditions is a 'Stay Out Of Trouble' order. Normally the court will order you to STAY OUT OF TROUBLE for one year, under the penalty of a suspended sentence. 

It's like the court is saying:
Okay, we'll cut you some slack this time and let you off easy, but we want to make sure you have really learned your lesson, so we'll be watching you. If you mess up, we're really going to screw you hard. 
If you violate your Stay Out Of Trouble order, you risk ruining the whole deal the court gave you. In fact, if you violate the SOOT order, you may even be arrested and forced to serve out your suspended jail sentence! 

Of course the easiest way to avoid all of this is to not drive after you've had ANY alcohol or drugs (even prescriptions). Remember, Uber and Lyft are your friends! 

However, if you have found yourself on the wrong side of the criminal justice system, give me a call!

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