If you've recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), your primary concern may be retaining your ability to legally drive. Without a driver's license, you may be unable to find transportation to work or to pick up your children from school. However, it's important not to panic -- there are a few things you can to to dramatically limit the chances that you'll be stripped of your driver's license for an extended period of time. Read on to learn more about a few things you can do to improve your odds of being able to retain your driver's license following your DUI arrest.
Ask for a workplace transportation allowance
Depending on how you choose to proceed, your case can travel down one of several paths. First, you can choose to plead guilty and accept a plea bargain from the prosecutor, rather than taking your chances before a judge or jury. This will generally allow the case to be processed more quickly and can provide you with a penalty that may be less than you'd have received if you took the case to court.
If you don't want to plead guilty, you can request a trial -- either before the judge or before a jury of your peers. The prosecutor will be required to establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are found guilty, the judge will pronounce your sentence, while if you are acquitted, all charges will be dropped.
In any of these situations, you'll be facing a bit of a wait after the court sets a guilty plea hearing or jury trial on its calendar. During your arraignment or initial hearing, you might want to request that the court permit you an interim workplace transportation allowance. This will allow you to legally drive back and forth from work while still prohibiting you from driving recreationally. If you can show the court that it's important for you to be able to drive to work (for example, if you're the primary breadwinner or sole support for your family), it's likely that such a request will be granted.
It's important to abide by the terms of this allowance, no matter how restrictive they may seem -- a violation can not only subject you to instant license suspension, but can act as an aggravating factor in the underlying DUI case.
See if ignition interlock is an option
If you're unable to obtain a workplace transportation allowance, or if you need your vehicle to travel more than just to and from work (for example, to pick up your children or take them to activities), you may want to instead request that your vehicle be fitted with an ignition interlock system.
An ignition interlock is a type of portable breathalyzer that is installed in your vehicle to prevent you from starting or operating it until you can prove that you are not intoxicated. Before starting your car, you'll be required to provide a blood alcohol level (usually by blowing into a straw-like device attached to your gearshift). Once the interlock has determined that you are not under the influence of alcohol, the vehicle may be started.
After you've unlocked the ignition interlock to allow your vehicle to operate, you'll also be required to provide another breath sample at a random time while you're driving. This is an attempt to prevent you from simply having a sober friend blow into the device to force the car to start. If you fail to provide a negative sample in a timely manner, your vehicle will begin honking its horn and flashing its emergency lights, quickly attracting the attention of law enforcement.
Some states mandate the use of an ignition interlock in all DUI cases, while others permit it as an option if the defendant needs to be able to travel from place to place. You'll want to speak to an attorney to determine whether this is a good alternative for you.
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13 May 2015
My son and a group of his friends got in some trouble for trespassing and were arrested. Every one of the boys that were there were charged with trespassing, criminal mischief and vandalism. I contacted all of the other boys' parents and we got together to discuss the situation. After hearing the boys' stories about what happened that day, we knew that we had to hire an attorney to get the boys out of some of the trouble they were in. I have been working on my blog to help other parents that are struggling with the legal system prosecuting their kids for things that they may not have done.