What Happens After
a Drunk Driving Arrest
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DUI | DWI | OVI | OWI | OUI
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Actual Physical Control
THE DAYS AFTER
I just got arrested for a DUI. What do I need to know? What do I do next?
First, gather your paperwork together.
Second, if your car was towed, determine how to retrieve it (from your paperwork).
Some jurisdictions charge storage fees for each day the car is impounded.
Some jurisdictions charge storage fees for each day the car is impounded.
Do NOT show up drunk to get your car; you don't need a second DUI charge.
show up drunk to get your car; you don't need a second DUI charge.
Third, determine the date, time, and place of your court date(s).
Do NOT miss any court appearances and don't show up late.
Dress appropriately for court; do not bring your children; don't have alcohol on your breath.
If you have to leave the state in the next month or two notify the court of this fact at your initial appearance.
Fourth, determine if you face a suspension for failing or refusing the breath or blood test and when the suspension begins.
Do NOT drive on a suspended or revoked license.
Fifth, read your paperwork to determine how to appeal / challenge your administrative (implied consent) license suspension so you don't miss any deadline(s).
Sixth, read the information below for general information on how the arrest and prosecution process works.
Next , click on one of the links below to get information on your
state's specific drunk driving laws,
, click on one of the links below to get information on your state's specific drunk driving laws,
Finally, call a DUI lawyer for legal advice and information specific to your situation.
THE BIG PICTURE
There are usually two aspects to a drunk driving arrest:
(1) the implied consent suspension or revocation for failing or refusing a chemical test (a breath test; a blood test; and / or a urine test); and
(2) the criminal charge of driving under the influence / driving while intoxicated.
These are separate and distinct proceedings.
ISSUE ONE: The Implied Consent / Express Consent / Administrative License Suspension / Administrative License Revocation Proceeding for Failing or Refusing a Chemical Test: If you refused a breath, blood, or urine test, you likely face some type of license suspension under your state's implied consent law. Virtually every U.S. state imposes penalties (typically a license suspension or revocation) for refusing a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test. Additionally, 44 states impose penalties (either a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges) for failing a breath or blood test (typically showing a BAC of 0.08 % or greater).
If you're under 21 years of age, you typically "fail" a breath or blood test with a BAC of as little as 0.01% to 0.02%. Persons driving a commercial motor vehicle typically fail a breath or blood test with a BAC of 0.04% or more. For the rest of us, if your test shows .08% or greater then you fail the test.
Read your paperwork carefully. You generally have a right to appeal / challenge any implied consent / administrative license sanction imposed. This appeal is sometimes referred to as a "DMV Hearing;" a "BMV Hearing;" a "MVD Hearing;" an "ALS Hearing;" or and "ALR Hearing." Keep in mind that strict deadlines apply. Speak to an attorney in the state where you were arrested for more information about your right to contest the implied consent suspension / revocation.
ISSUE TWO: The Drunk Driving Criminal Charge: Separate from any suspension or revocation received for failing or refusing a breath, blood, or urine test is the criminal charge for operating / driving / being in physical control of a vehicle under the influence / impaired / intoxicated. While laws vary from state to state, typically it is unlawful for any person who:
to drive or operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle. Some states have additional charges such as driving while ability impaired, aggravated DUI's, and extreme DUI's, super extreme DUI's and the like. In most states, there is some type of additional penalty for a high BAC such as an increased fine or increased jail time. In nearly every state, a first non-injury DUI / DWI is a misdemeanor crime. See the links to the right for individual state specific information.
Important: The implied consent / express consent / statutory summary suspension proceeding and the criminal DUI case are completely separate from one another. Picture two separate boxes:
Will my license to drive be revoked / suspended?
RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your driver license (or your right to drive if you do not have a valid license) may be suspended or revoked for refusing (and often for failing) a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test for alcohol and / or drugs. Again, you may challenge this revocation / suspension by filing a timely appeal. Keep in mind though that requesting an appeal will not necessarily overturn the suspension / revocation; rather, it merely provides with a chance to overturn the suspension / revocation. If you lose your appeal or do not appeal at all, the suspension or revocation takes effect.
RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: In most states, if you are convicted of the drunk driving charge, you will also typically lose your license (or your right to drive license) for a period of time. This suspension or revocation is generally separate and distinct from the implied consent / administrative / statutory summary suspension or revocation. Talk to your attorney for possible suspension and revocation lengths that you may face.
Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended or revoked for a variety of reasons unrelated to any DWI arrest e.g. excessive tickets, excessive points, convictions for hit and run, drug charges, reckless driving, etc. In most states, suspensions and revocations run concurrently with each other; however, sometimes a suspension or revocation run consecutively to one another.
What happens if I'm facing other criminal charges along with my drunk driving offense?
It is not unusual to face additional charges along with your DWI offense. Sometimes, the officer will also charge you with whatever traffic infraction led to your being pulled over (speeding, for example). Other times, you face additional criminal charges. Examples include: hit and run (aka hit and skip aka failure to perform the duties of a driver aka failure to render aid) charge for failing to stop and provide information after an accident; vehicular assault for injuring someone in a drunk driving collision; reckless driving for operating the vehicle in a particularly poor or dangerous manner; and driving while your license is suspended or revoked.
Usually, these offenses are misdemeanor crimes unless someone is injured in a hit and run or unless someone is seriously injured or killed (vehicular assault / intoxication assualt / vehicular homicide / manslaughter). These crimes are generally felonies.
What happens if I get caught driving / operating while my license is suspended / revoked?
It is illegal to drive on a suspended or revoked license in every state. If you are on probation for a DUI conviction, you will also violate your probation by driving on a suspended or revoked license. Penalties for a driving / operating while your license is suspended / revoked charge vary from state to state but generally include fines, possible jail time, and an often an additional license suspension / revocation.
I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a restricted / occupational / conditional / probationary license or permit?
Most states offer some type of occupational type license that allows individuals to drive for limited purposes while serving a DUI / DWI related suspension or revocation and / or an implied consent suspension or revocation. There is often a significant waiting period before you may be eligible for a restricted license. Also, you may have to install an ignition interlock device and / or file an SR-22 before qualifying. Your lawyer can explain whether and when you may be eligible for this type of license.
A restricted license of this type generally only allows for driving to and from work, to treatment, and often not much else. No state issues restricted / occupational licenses that allow operation of a commercial vehicle.
What is meant by the terms DUI, DWI, OWI, OVI, DAI, OVUII, DWAI, OUI, OUIL, DWUI, UBAL, DUII etc.? What's the difference?
These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as "drunk driving." Different states have different names for the crime. Typically those acronyms are based on the following abbreviations:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, Washington and most other states use the term driving under the influence (DUI).
Oregon uses the term driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUII).
Wyoming uses the term driving while under the influence (DWUI).
Some states have a two-tier drunk driving system. For example in New York State, the standard charge is a DWI but they also have a lesser type charge called driving while ability impaired (DWAI). The DWAI offense is usually seen when law enforcement believes you to be impaired by alcohol or drugs but your BAC is something less than 0.08 percent. Colorado is another two-tier state with the primary charge being DUI and DWAI as the lesser type offense. Maryland is similar but it uses the term DUI for the standard charge and driving while impaired (DWI) for the lesser type offense.
Other states, such as Arizona, have a different charge for high BAC (blood / breath alcohol content) DUI's. Arizona uses the term Extreme DUI for a BAC of 0.15% or greater and Super Extreme DUI for a BAC of 0.20% or more. Some states use the term "high tier" to refer to an elevated blood alcohol content.
In some states (Oklahoma, Arizona, Illinois, Mississippi, Kentucky, Idaho, New York) the term "Aggravated DUI" or "Aggravated DWI" is used. This might refer to a DWI / DUI with a suspended license, with a child in the car, or with prior DWI / DUI convictions.
In some states proof of driving or operating a vehicle is not required. If you're in actual physical control (APC) a vehicle while under the influence you can be prosecuted. Arizona, Oklahoma, and Washington State are among those with actual physical control statutes.
Other acronyms sometimes related to drunk driving arrests include: FST-field sobriety tests; IID-ignition interlock device; HGN-horizontal gaze nystagmus; DL-driver license; DWS-driving while suspended; DWLS-driving while license suspended; DWR-driving while revoked; DWLR-driving while license revoked; BAC-Blood / Breath Alcohol Content.
I refused the breath test. That means I can beat the charges because they don't have any evidence to use against me. Right?
Not necessarily. Often times, the state has ample evidence to convict even if a suspect refuses a breath or blood test. Depending on the circumstances, the state may be able to present a number of the following pieces of evidence:
Additionally, the prosecution can often use the test refusal itself as evidence that a suspect is trying to hide their impairment.
I took / refused to take field sobriety tests. How will this effect my case?
Field sobriety tests (commonly referred to as FST's) are tests generally performed at the traffic stop that are designed to assist an officer in his or her determination of a person's impairment if any. Unlike a breath or blood test refusal, drivers generally do not face any type of suspension or revocation for refusing FST's. Sometimes the refusal to perform these tests can be used against you at a trial. Likewise, if you take the tests, your performance may be used against you at trial.
The most commonly used "standardized" field sobriety tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN); the nine step walk and turn; and the one leg stand.
Is a DUI a misdemeanor or felony offense?
In nearly every state, a first-time, standard drunk driving offense is a misdemeanor crime. [In a small number of jurisdictions (Wisconsin and New Jersey), a first DUI / DWI arrest is not a crime; rather it is a traffic violation / offense.]
In many states, a drunk driving offense can become a felony if certain aggravating factors are present. These include: multiple prior DUI convictions; injuries to others; or having a child in the car. In Oregon, for example, if you have two or more prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years the third or greater DUII is a felony. In Texas, if you have a child under 15 in your car, even a first DWI is a felony. Talk to your attorney for more information about the level of offense you face.
What goes on at my first court appearance?
Your first court appearance is commonly called an arraignment or an initial appearance. At your arraignment you receive formal notice of charge or charges against you. This document is commonly called a complaint; an information; a citation; or an indictment. At the arraignment, you may apply for a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire your own DWI lawyer. A second court date will then be scheduled for you.
What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of a DWI offense?
Upon conviction of an DWI offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including probation; alcohol treatment / education; attendance at a victims impact panel class; fines; jail time; and a license suspension or revocation. Additionally, in order to reinstate your license, you may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for some time; maintain an SR-22 or FR-44; pay a fee; and / or show proof of treatment completion.
What is a SCRAM / TAD device?
A Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device is an ankle bracelet that periodically measures a person's BAC through perspiration (trans-dermal). A competing product working in a similar manner is known as TAD (Tansdermal Alcohol Detection).
Courts are increasingly ordering the wearing of the devices as a condition of probation. As you might expect, the devices are more commonly used for offenders with multiple drunk driving convictions.
Will my defense attorney be able to plea bargain / negotiate my DWI / DUI offense down to another (lesser) offense?
Possibly. Plea bargaining and charge reduction are two areas that any experienced DUI attorney would discuss with the prosecutor on the client's behalf. Several states like New Mexico and Oregon have anti-plea bargaining laws that prohibit reducing or changing a DUI / DWI offense to another charge.
While many states allow plea bargaining this does not mean that the prosecutor will agree to lower or reduce the charge in every instance. Your best chance to get a reduction is with a low BAC and no prior offenses and no collision and no child passenger(s).
Will a DUI conviction go on "my driving record?"
Typically, yes. A DUI conviction will go on your driving record for some period of time. The implied consent suspension or revocation will usually appear on your driving record as well. Talk to your attorney about your state's individual procedures.
Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI offense?
Most persons convicted of a DUI are placed on probation with a variety of conditions including some custody (jail) time. The amount of incarceration (jail or prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:
In some states, you will face minimal or no jail time for a first DUI offense. However, a second offense within the past five to ten years will result in at least some jail in most every state.
Will an out of state drunk driving conviction be counted against me for a DWI I received in a new state?
Typically, yes. Assuming that the prosecutor identifies your prior out of state drunk driving conviction, it will generally count against you as if it had occurred in the state where you're now charged. Your lawyer may be able to argue that the prior conviction is not similar enough to be treated as a prior conviction.
How old do my prior DUI's have to be before they stop counting against me as "prior convictions."
It varies from state to state. Some states count prior drunk driving convictions no matter how old. Other states enhance penalties for subsequent convictions that are within five, seven, ten, or fifteen years of a prior drunk driving offense. Your attorney will let you know what you can expect if you have prior drunk driving convictions.
I am licensed to drive in a state other than the state where I received my DUI / DWI offense. Will my license be suspended?
The state that you're charged in only has the authority to suspend / revoke your right to drive in that state. However, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact." Those states will report a DUI conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact). [Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan are non-compact states.] The home state will then generally take action to suspend your license. Keep in mind that even if your state is not a compact state, the state may still learn of the conviction and suspend or revoke your license.
The relevant portions of Articles III and IV of the compact are set forth below:
licensing authority of a party state shall report each conviction of a person
from another party state occurring within its jurisdiction to the licensing
authority of the home state of the licensee. Such report shall clearly identify
the person convicted; describe the violation specifying the section of the
statute, code or ordinance violated; identify the court in which action was
taken; indicate whether a plea of guilty or not
Effect of Conviction
(a) The licensing authority in the home state, for the purposes of suspension, revocation or limitation of the license to operate a motor vehicle, shall give the same effect to the conduct reported, pursuant to Article III of this Compact, as it would if such conduct had occurred in the home state, in the case of convictions for:
(1) Manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(2) Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a narcotic drug, or under the influence of any other drug to a degree which renders the driver incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle;
(3) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
(4) Failure to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death or personal injury of another.
Are there other concerns if I live in state other than the state where I was arrested for my drunk driving charge?
If this is your second DUI conviction you will be subject to the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. Once convicted, you will have to go through certain steps to return to your home state. You will be allowed to return however. If you are on probation for a second or greater DUI and you want to move out of state you will also have to go through the rules outlined in the Compact. Speak to your lawyer for more information.
Will I have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on my car?
An ignition interlock device (IID) also known as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition. In order to start the motor vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the device which then measures alcohol concentration. If the alcohol concentration exceeds the startup set point on the interlock device (e.g. 0.02 percent), the motor vehicle will not start. The devices also often require you to periodically provide a breath sample while driving (sometimes known as a rolling re-test).
Many states require the installation of an ignition interlock device during the period of time for any occupational / hardship license and / or for a specified period of time after you're eligible for reinstatement of your drivers license. An increasing number of states require an IID for a first DUI conviction: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. California has a pilot program that requires an IID for first time convictions in four counties. Some states imposes the requirement only for high BAC's or for second or greater convictions.
Currently, Alabama, South Dakota, and Vermont have no ignition interlock laws.
Talk to your lawyer about whether this requirement applies to your situation.
What happens if I was already on probation when I got arrested for a new DWI offense?
Committing a new offense while you're on probation for a previous crime creates two problems. First, you face the new DWI charge. Second, you face a probation violation hearing for failing to obey all laws (a standard condition of any probation). The most serious scenario is when you receive a new DWI offense when you're already on probation for a previous DWI. When this happens, its in your best interest to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, because you face revocation of your probation and substantial jail time.
I was also arrested for a Hit and Run offense. What can I expect from that charge?
Leaving the scene of an accident without providing / exchanging information is unlawful in every state. The offense has a variety of names: hit and run; hit - skip; failure to perform the duties of a driver; leaving the scene of an accident; failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
Often times, the offense is a misdemeanor if only property is damaged. The offense is usually a felony if someone is killed or at least seriously injured. In some states, any injury in a hit and run results in a felony offense.
Penalties include possible jail times, fines, and usually a license suspension or revocation of varying lengths. A hit and run conviction will result in a suspension of a CDL for at least one year (and possibly for life).
I'm not a United States citizen. Will a DWI conviction result in my removal from this country?
Probably not. Typical, run of the mill DWI offenses (no priors; no injury; no child in car) are not considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies resulting in removal. However, it is important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer about your situation just as you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your pending DUI / DWI charge.
Keep two points in mind. First, it is very important to answer honestly all questions about prior arrests / convictions on immigration and Visa applications and other forms. Lying on these documents is often considered more serious than any drunk driving conviction. Second, non-citizens (aliens) must take extra care not to drive on a suspended or revoked license.
I am seeking to enter the United States as a foreign national. Will a drunk driving conviction result in a denial of my entry?
Not necessarily. A single drunk driving conviction is not a statutory bar to admission to the United States. Sometimes, a DUI conviction may require further investigation to determine whether the applicant has a physical or mental disorder and demonstrates behavior associated with the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others. Typically, consular officers will refer applicants to panel physicians in two circumstances: (1) an applicant has a single drunk driving arrest or conviction within the last three years; or (2) two or more drunk driving arrests or convictions in any time period. Multiple DUI convictions can result in being barred from admission to the USA.
Drug crimes often do result in denial of admission to the United States as do crimes of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude generally involve fraud, larceny, or the intent to harm persons or thing.
What will a DUI conviction do to my ability to enter Canada?
Having a DUI conviction generally makes you criminally inadmissible to Canada for at least five (and sometimes 10) years from the time your sentence was completed. You will also likely be denied entry while your charge is pending.
If your drunk driving charge is dismissed or reduced to a non-DUI charge, you may be able to travel freely to Canada.
The following information is from the US State Department's website:
Anyone with a criminal record (including misdemeanors such as a DWI) may be barred from entering Canada and must obtain a special waiver well in advance of any planned travel. To determine whether you may be inadmissible and how to overcome this finding, please refer to the Canadian citizenship and immigration website.
For further information on entry requirements, travelers may contact the Canadian Embassy at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20001; (202) 682-1740; or the Canadian consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Juan or Seattle.
Consult Canada's Citizen and Immigration website to learn more. Plan ahead. Being denied entry at the border will ruin your trip.
What happens if I'm charged with a DUI on federal property?
Driving under the influence is prohibited on federal land (such as a federal military base) just as it is on state land. If the offense occurs in a National Park, then 36 CFR 4.23 applies. That regulation provides in part:
(a) Operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle is prohibited while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol, or a drug, or drugs, or any combination thereof, to a degree that renders the operator incapable of safe operation; or
(2) The alcohol concentration in the operator's blood or breath is 0.08 [percent or more.]
If the offense took place on federal property other than a National Park then the Assimilative Crimes Act applies. The Assimilative Crimes Act incorporates a state's criminal laws and provides for their enforcement on federal property. The Act provides that:
Whoever within or upon any [federal property], is guilty of any act or omission which, although not made punishable by any enactment of Congress, would be punishable if committed or omitted within the jurisdiction of the State . . . in which such place is situated, by the laws thereof in force at the time of such act or omission, shall be guilty of a like offense and subject to a like punishment.
18 U.S.C. sec. 13(a). These offenses are prosecuted in federal court.
Federal law also has an implied consent component that can result in a suspension of driving privileges on federal land. See 18 USC § 3118; 32 CFR 634.8.
Will my insurance company cover me for the accident that I got in even though I was arrested for DWI?
Yes. While your insurance company may drop you later, they will cover your accident no matter how drunk you were.
What will a DUI do to my ability obtain / maintain car insurance?
If your insurance company finds out about your DUI one of two things typically happen. Either your insurer will raise your insurance rates or your insurance carrier may cancel your policy or simply choose not to renew your coverage.
Your insurance company absolutely will learn of your drunk driving conviction if you have to file an SR-22 or an FR-44 (Virginia / Florida).
Can my insurance company really drop me if I get convicted of a drunk driving offense?
Yes; however, you should be able to find insurance elsewhere albeit at a higher rate.
What is an SR-22 / FR-44 / Certificate of Financial Responsibility?
Many states require the filing of an SR-22 or an FR-44 following a drunk driving conviction.
An SR-22 is a form from a licensed insurance company certifying that you have purchased liability insurance that meets the State's minimum required coverage limits. The SR-22 provides proof to your state's DMV that you are insured. If you cancel your insurance or your insurance company cancels your policy before your suspension period is over, the company must notify the DMV that the certificate is canceled. The SR-22 requirement must be maintained for a specified time period (often three years). Your DUI attorney will explain more about this requirement.
An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22 but it generally requires drivers to purchase coverage that is at least twice the minimum required liability coverage limits for other drivers. Virginia and Florida require an FR-44 filing following a DUI conviction.
Keep in mind that you should almost always have significantly more coverage than your minimum state requirements.
Will the DMV / BMV or the court notify my insurance company that I got a DUI?
Typically no. If your insurance company requests a copy of your driving record, your state motor vehicle department will supply it of course. However, motor vehicle departments and courts generally do not affirmatively notify insurance companies about drunk driving offenses on their own initiative.
How might my insurance company find out about my DUI charge?
As noted above, if you have to file an SR-22 or an FR-44 your insurance company will learn about your conviction. Insurance companies also order your driving record when you first sign up for service and periodically thereafter. Also, your insurance company may ask you about your ticket history (often in the last three years) if you contact the company to report a claim or to add or delete coverage. If your insurance company asks you whether you have gotten a DWI etc., you must answer truthfully. If you lie, you can expect the company to later deny coverage when you really need it.
I live in area away from where my arrest took place. Will I be able to transfer my case to another court?
No. Your case is prosecuted in the city or county where you were arrested.
Will I be able to transfer my probation closer to where I live if I am convicted of my DUI?
Possibly. Probations are often transferred to the area where the probationer resides. You will need permission from the probation department and / or court. If this is a second DUI conviction you will need to go through the Interstate Compact and also get permission from the state that you wish to move to.
Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get a DUI offense?
Yes. The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions. A Motor Vehicle Action is any alcohol or drug related administrative action taken against your driver's license including suspensions, revocations, cancellations, or denials of a license to operate a motor vehicle (implied / express consent suspensions and revocations). A Motor Vehicle Action also includes a conviction for any alcohol / drug related motor vehicle offense (DUI type convictions). Learn more about reporting requirements here. Once your report your suspension / conviction, the FAA will likely contact you to request further information such as police reports, court documents, and a treatment synopsis.
Are there special concerns for license professionals that receive a DWI?
Sometimes. Many states require licensed professionals to self-report misdemeanor and felony convictions including drunk driving offenses. Sometimes mere arrests must be reported. Sometimes you must report arrests / convictions immediately and sometimes only upon license application / renewal. Always call your supervising board and ask if and when you're required to report an arrest or conviction. BE SURE TO TRUTHFULLY AND COMPLETELY DISCOSE ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION TO YOUR LICENSING BOARD. The failure to disclose is often a more serious violation that the underlying arrest / conviction itself.
These requirements often apply to the following occupations:
Contact your state licensing authority for specific information. Your attorney may also be able to advise you.
I have a commercial driver license (CDL). What effect will a DWI conviction have on my CDL
CDL drivers are govern by federal law. Federal law also has an implied consent component:
"Any person who holds a CLP or CDL or is required to hold a CLP or CDL is considered to have consented to such testing as is required by any State . . . . Consent is implied by driving a commercial motor vehicle." 49 CFR § 383.72.
DWI related incidents can result in result in a suspension to a CDL in a number of ways. Refer to the tables below:
I missed my appearance in court. What do I do now?
Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided. When you miss a court appearance, bad things happen. At a minimum, the court typically issues a warrant for your arrest (known as a bench warrant). Sometimes, failing to appear on a traffic related crime / offense will result in an indefinite suspension of your drivers license (until the FTA is cleared).
Sometimes, failing to appear / bail jumping is a new crime itself often referred to as "failure to appear." Talk to your attorney as soon as possible. Your only option may be to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant. A new court date will then be scheduled.
I failed to appear on my DWI charge, and I live in another state. Will I be extradited back to the charging state?
While the law allows a state to extradite a person on a misdemeanor charge, often states decline to extradite persons on misdemeanor warrants due to the cost involved. Most states will extradite persons wanted for a felony DWI offense.
My suspension / revocation is nearly up. How do I go about getting my license reinstated?
Contact your state DMV to determine what you need to do to complete your reinstatement. Nearly every state requires some sort of reinstatement fee. Many states require you to install an ignition interlock device for some period of time. Some states also require the filing of an SR-22 or FR-44. If you were revoked (as opposed to suspended) you may also have to re-take a driving test.
Can I represent myself in court on my DWI or other criminal charge(s)?
Yes. You have a constitutional right to represent yourself on any criminal charge no matter how serious including a DWI charge. Keep in mind that DWI defense is a complex legal area as shown by the information in this website. If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, you definitely should apply for court appointed counsel (a public defender) to represent you.
Keep in mind that the court or the prosecutor cannot give you legal advice. An attorney can be helpful in a number of ways including:
You have no right to a court appointed attorney at any implied consent / administrative appeal proceeding. Therefore, you have to hire your own attorney if you want a lawyer to handle that proceeding. Otherwise you have to represent yourself in the administrative proceeding.
THE FINE PRINT
Criminal defense websites, including this one, provide general information about DUI charges but do not provide legal advice or create an attorney / client relationship. General information cannot replace experienced legal advice specific to your charge, case, problem, or situation. Consult licensed attorneys for advice about any specific problem DUI charge that you have. Attorneys are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct in their State or Commonwealth. This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules. Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way. No attorney associated with duiattorney.pro is specialized or certified in any way.
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