Your life will change after a DUI arrest, especially if it leads to a conviction. If police recently arrested you for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, it would be a good idea for you to learn as much as you can about Tennessee laws governing alcohol-related offenses and your options for defending yourself against the charges.
Whether you realize you should not have been behind the wheel that night or you believe there has been a big misunderstanding, having a criminal defense attorney by your side can make a difference in the outcome. From the moment of your arrest, you have the right to legal counsel to guide you through each step of the process. Knowing what to expect may relieve some of your stress so you can better participate in your defense.
What happens next?
Each state is different, and laws change frequently, but the process following a DUI arrest is essentially the same. You can expect the following events after your arrest:
- Police will ask you to submit to a breath test to confirm your blood alcohol count is over the legal limit, and you must comply or face immediate penalties, such as the suspension of your license.
- Police will book you, which means they will fingerprint you and take your picture.
- A judge will decide if you will remain in jail or if you will pay bail for release until your court date.
- On the day of your court appearance, you have the option of pleading guilty and accepting your penalties or of presenting a defense.
- If you opt for a trial, police and prosecutors will present their evidence against you, and you will have a chance to refute the evidence.
- If the court convicts you, you will face fines, potential jail time, loss of your license, alcohol treatment or education, and other penalties the court may order.
- The judge may order you to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle.
- You can also expect your car insurance rates to soar.
As you can see, the consequences of a conviction can be inconvenient at the least and life changing at the worst. If aggravating factors exist at the time of your arrest, your penalties for a conviction will likely be more severe. In the time between your arrest and your court date, it is wise for you to build your defense strategy with the help of an attorney who is knowledgeable in Tennessee DUI laws.