DUI litigation is essentially fought in two battlegrounds: (1) license suspension proceedings brought by the Department of Licensing (DOL) and (2) criminal charges initiated from the Prosecutor. You should consider hiring an attorney who can maneuver both venues aggressively and not just one aspect of the case.
If the officer punched your license and provided a slip of paper regarding a license suspension, it means the State Department of Licensing (DOL) shall try suspending or revoking your license VERY SOON. These suspensions can and should always be challenged! No matter what the circumstances, the DOL Hearing Examiner must analyze four issues:
• Whether you were lawfully arrested / contacted
• Whether there were reasonable grounds to believe you were DUI
• Whether you were read your implied consent warnings properly
• Whether you either refused the breath test or blew over the legal limit.
The DOL cannot suspend you license if your constitutional rights are violated, evidence is lacking, the BAC machine has malfunctioned, or government agents fail to follow proper procedure. It is imperative you hire an attorney soon if you want to maximize your chance of saving your license. If not, you run the risk of unnecessary suspension, costly insurance increases, and an ignition interlock device on your car. You have a very short time after a DUI arrest in order to properly set up a challenge.
Most DUI’s are gross misdemeanors punishable up to a year in jail. Additional consequences include mandatory ignition interlock device, lack of access to Canada, alcohol evaluations, follow-up treatment up to five years, costly probation, and fines from around $1000 to $5000. However, many consequences are negotiable, and can be modified to your benefit with the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Every case is different, and there can be no set or promised outcome. There are always many factors. Legal issues include whether the initial stop was unlawful, whether probable cause existed to investigate for DUI, and whether officers obtained evidence that is admissible in trial.
Another thing to consider is whether your most recent DUI happened within 7 years of the last one. If so, you're facing stiffer penalties in fines, jail sentences, probation etc.
A deferred prosecution gives an opportunity to dismiss a DUI after 5 years. However, the conditions are rigorous. You must obtain an alcohol evaluation set up for deferred prosecution, admit you have a drinking problem, engage a very intense treatment program, and obtain an ignition interlock device. Any further violations of the law place your deferred prosecution in jeopardy. Worst-case scenario, you could lose your deferred and immediately get sentenced on the DUI if you violate conditions. Best case scenario? Dismissal.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
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