Drinking and driving is a dangerous act that, unfortunately, many Americans commit on a daily basis. When you get caught, the first thing you’re probably wondering is, “do you lose your license immediately after a DUI?”.
In most cases, you can lose your license, whereas, in other situations, you may be able to get your license back after challenging the court. So what happens when you get caught driving drunk, and what can you do to regain your driving privileges? Continue reading below to learn about what happens when you get caught driving while under the influence and who you can contact for more information.
What is a DWI in Texas?
A DWI, or driving while drunk or intoxicated, is a charge you receive if an officer finds you driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The federal legal alcohol limit is 0.0% which many people can easily reach by drinking one or two drinks.
Some people metabolize alcohol quicker than others, whereas others take more time. So if you’ve been at a bar and you’ve had a few drinks, you may not feel the effects until later when you get in your vehicle. It is best that you call an Uber or have a designated driver who can drive you home if you plan on going out to drink.
Do You Lose Your License Immediately after a DUI?
Immediately after being arrested for a DUI, the officer will confiscate your ID, and you may not get it back until after your hearing. If you are successful at the hearing, the court may give you back your attorney. Depending on the nature of the DUI, the court may not provide you with your driver’s license until you complete an alcohol program or spend time in jail.
Dui License Suspensions
In general, driving while under the influence can lead to two different types of license suspensions: administrative DMV suspension or a suspension based on a criminal conviction. Either of these two convictions is triggered by your DUI arrest when you either refuse the test or fail it. If you receive both of these suspensions, the court can have them overlap, so you won’t have to complete them one after the other.
DUI Conviction Suspensions
Most states suspend your driving privileges on your first DUI. You may not be able to drive for as little as three months or as much as one year for the first offense.
In Texas, your first conviction comes with either a 90-day suspension or a year suspension, depending on the nature of the DUI. If you commit a second offense, you can result in a suspension of 180 days or up to two years.
Implied consent laws require drivers to take a blood or breathalyzer test if they are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. The DMV has the right to administratively suspend your driving privileges if you refuse to take the chemical test or if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more.
Can I Challenge the Suspension?
If you wish to challenge your license suspension, you will need to request a hearing from the Department of Motor Vehicles. As mentioned earlier, if you are successful at the hearing, the court may give you back your driver’s license. If you plan on challenging the suspension, you may want to reach out to an attorney for more help.
Do I Need an Attorney for My DUI?
In general, you don’t need an attorney to fight your DUI charge, but it does not hurt to at least reach out to an attorney for more information. If you decide to represent yourself, you risk spending time in jail or paying high fines and fees, even if it is only your first offense. You also risk having your license revoked.
When you get a DUI conviction, you not only face jail time or high fees but that DUI sticks to your personal record. This means when you apply for a new job or an apartment for housing, the person running the background check can see that information. A DUI on your record can cost you a job or housing opportunities.
Will My Current Employer Know?
A DWI or DUI conviction in Texas doesn’t only affect any future opportunities but also your current job. A DUI conviction can lead to losing your security clearance if you need one for your job. This means it can affect your nursing license, medical license, or pilot license if you are in those types of professions.
Penalties for Drunk Driving
In Texas, the first offense for a DUI is a fine of up to $2,000, and you may have to spend some time in jail. Depending on other factors involving the DUI, you may have to get an ignition interlock device attached to your vehicle that you must use before you can start your car.
Even if you received a conviction for the first time, there are other factors that can enhance your charges. Instead of having to pay those more minor fines or shorter jail times, you will have to spend more time in jail or have harsher penalties if there are other factors. For example, if you operated a vehicle under the influence while children were present, you could face higher charges.
Reasons to Partner with a DUI Attorney
As mentioned earlier, you don’t necessarily need an attorney to represent you if you are charged with a DUI, but it doesn’t hurt to reach out to one. Not only can they fight on your behalf, but they can also work on expunging your record, so future and current employers don’t see your DUI charge.
As your right as an American, you have the right to counsel. These attorneys are public defenders who get assigned to your case. They can help negotiate a better deal on your behalf or try to get your case thrown out.
Unfortunately, most public defenders have other cases they have to juggle at the same time as yours. This means they may not be able to provide you with the appropriate attention needed to give you the best defense. If anything, the best they may be able to do is get you a reduced sentence or fine.
With a private attorney, you will have to pay for their representation. In the long run, hiring a private attorney may be the best option for many different reasons.
For example, not only can they dedicate more time to your case, but they also have the resources to do so. Public defenders have several cases they have to work through, and they don’t have many resources to lighten that load or to do the necessary research for the best defense.
Can Save You Money
Although you have to pay for their representation, private attorneys can save you money in the long run. These types of attorneys can help you get your license back or prevent it from being suspended in the first place. If you face possible jail time or high fines, the attorney can help fight to have them reduced or taken out entirely, so you don’t have to deal with that.
If you plan on partnering with a private attorney, make sure they specialize in DUI charges. There are several different criminal attorneys who specialize in other areas of law and not with DWI or DUI charges. Attorneys with specializations in DUI have more experience arguing cases similar to yours, and they have a greater understanding of DUI laws.
When you get arrested for a DUI or face serious penalties and punishments for the conviction, you are most likely scared and confused. To atone, you may want to agree to the terms of the court so you can get the case over with. This is not a good idea especially if you want to keep your license or avoid paying high fines and fees.
Attorneys don’t have the same feelings attached to the case so they can look at your situation objectively. They have the ability to create the best defense plan possible depending on your situation.
Extensive Knowledge of the Law
Attorneys who specialize in DUI cases have a better understanding of the court proceedings and charges that you potentially face. Instead of you spending hours on Google searching for how to best fight your DUI, you can rely on the expertise of a law professional.
Not only do they understand DUI laws, but they also have a relationship with local prosecutors and judges. They know what defenses work best in certain courts and they can provide you with the results you deserve.
How to Find the Right Attorney
There are several different attorneys available for you to choose from, so choosing the right one can become very overwhelming. When trying to find the right fit, there are a few things you should do to ensure they are the right fit for you.
Ask for Recommendations
Your trusted friends and family members are the best first line of defense when looking for a reputable attorney. Ask them for any recommendations for attorneys they’ve previously used.
When asking them about who they’ve used, ask them about their experience. How did they like the working relationship? What was something they did not like about working with a certain lawyer.
Check Out Reviews
Once you have a list of attorneys to check out, take a look at their reviews. You can look at the reviews on their websites, or you can look at third party review sites.
For example, Google or the Better Business Bureau are great resources to get to see what other clients liked or did not care for when working with a certain attorney.
Schedule a Consultation
The best way to gauge if an attorney is good for you is to meet with them in person. Most attorneys have free no-obligation case evaluations where you can meet with them about your situation. While you are at their office, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about your case or about anything on your mind.
The right attorney will make sure you are comfortable and that you understand what is going to happen next. While you are at their office, feel out their staff. After all, an attorney works with their paralegals and other legal staff members to make sure your case moves along as it should. You should feel comfortable while in their presence.
Check Their Licenses
A reputable attorney has the applicable licenses needed to practice law in your state. You can check your state bar association to double-check to see if an attorney has the right licenses needed to practice law. If you are unable to find a license for a specific attorney, they may not be licensed to practice which is a huge red flag.
Get the Right Representation
Now that you know the answer to, “do you lose your license immediately after a DUI?” its time to find you the right representation for your case. Not all cases require you to partner with a DUI attorney, but it does not hurt to at least get a consultation from an attorney about your case.
If you face a DUI charge and you need more information on how to best proceed next, contact us. We offer our clients a free no-obligation case evaluation and we are here to answer any questions or concerns you have about your case!