Navigating The Legal Process: What to Expect After a DWI Arrest
Alcohol, as well as drugs, and driving are things that should never go with each other.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances is dangerous for the driver themself, their passengers (if there are any), and other fellow vehicle drivers on the road – hence, the passage of laws declaring driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances illegal in states across the United States.
But did you know that there are many classifications of driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances depending on the state you’re in and the laws that were passed there? For the sake of this post, the following sections will cover driving while impaired (DWI) charges.
Suppose you’ve been arrested for DWI in North Carolina. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and to be unsure of what to expect from the legal processes related to it – especially if it’s your first-time facing DWI.
Worry not; this post aims to lend a hand by providing insightful points about how to navigate the legal process after a DWI-related arrest. Keep on reading below to learn more.
Understanding What A DWI Charge Is
If you happen to be arrested for a DWI charge, it’s best to know what it is.
In North Carolina, a DWI is considered a misdemeanor offense. This means that if you’re convicted, you could face penalties such as fines, community service, and even jail time. The severity of the penalties will depend on various factors.
Hiring A Lawyer For DWI Charges
Facing a DWI charge is very difficult and can cause a lot of stress because of its legal nature. Nonetheless, you don’t need to subject yourself to a whole lot of trouble – you can work with a DWI lawyer to represent you and your best interests.
Hiring a Raleigh DWI lawyer can help you in many ways. For starters, your DWI attorney can help you understand the charges against you and advise you on the best course of action during the initial meeting. They can be there with you during your first hours while being held in jail and provide crucial legal advice during the first stages of your case.
Going To Court For DWI
After your arrest, you’ll be given a court date. It’s important that you attend all court appearances, as failing to do so could result in additional charges. At your first appearance, the judge will read the charges against you and ask if you plead guilty or not guilty.
If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for trial. During the trial, both sides will present evidence and call witnesses.
Your DWI lawyer will review the evidence against you and may challenge its admissibility in court. For example, if the arresting officer didn’t have probable cause to stop your vehicle or didn’t administer the sobriety tests correctly, your lawyer may be able to get the judge to declare the evidence collected against you inadmissible.
Lastly, the judge or jury will decide if you’re guilty or not guilty of the DWI charge filed against you based on the run of the whole trial.
If you’re found guilty, the judge will sentence you and it’ll be a matter of public record. As mentioned earlier, the penalties for a DWI conviction can vary depending on several factors.
Don’t worry. Your lawyer can advise you on what to expect even before the trial commences. They can forge a plea bargain with the prosecutor to reduce the charges or penalties imposed on you too.
Additional Consequences Of A DWI Conviction
Besides the legal penalties, a DWI conviction can have other consequences. For example, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked.
Also, a DWI conviction can affect your professional career. There are employers, for instance, that have policies against hiring employees with criminal records, and a DWI conviction could show up on a background check if you’re applying for a specific job. If you’re already employed, on the other hand, a DWI conviction could result in disciplinary action.
Insurance rates are another area where a DWI conviction can have an impact. After a conviction, your insurance company may consider you a high-risk driver and increase your rates accordingly. In some cases, they may even cancel your policy altogether.
Whatever happens after a court trial, being arrested for DWI and facing charges in court can have a lasting impact on individuals like yourself.
Being arrested alone can take an emotional toll on you that you’ll need to process properly. In the case of a conviction, you can face many hurdles besides the legal consequences imposed on you after sentencing, like having a hard time looking for a job, not being able to drive due to your license being suspended or revoked, and many more.
On the other hand, say you’re facing substance abuse issues. You’re going to need to handle them head-on to be able to get back on track with your whole life.
Luckily, there are many helpful many resources available, including support groups, counseling, and rehabilitation programs, that you can take advantage of to help you up back on your feet.
Indeed, getting arrested for a DWI charge can be a difficult experience. Yet with the help of a skilled DWI lawyer and the right resources, you can navigate the legal process and move forward with your life.