What Happens After a DUI Arrest? A Comprehensive Guide from a Drunk Driving Attorney

What Happens After a DUI Arrest? Comprehensive Guide from a Drunk Driving Attorney Being arrested for a DUI is a stressful, unexpected experience, leaving many unsure of what steps to take next. The legal landscape following a DUI arrest is complex, so understanding what happens after being charged with a DUI is helpful for protecting your future. This comprehensive guide will give an overview of the legal journey that follows a DUI arrest.

From the immediate steps to take following an arrest to the role of blood alcohol content, we’ll provide you with essential information. This article is designed to offer clarity and support every step of the way. It will cover:

  1. The Immediate Aftermath of a DUI Arrest: What to Expect
  2. Understanding Your Rights After a DUI Arrest
  3. The Role of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in DUI Arrests
  4. Potential Penalties and Consequences of a DUI Conviction
  5. Hiring a Skilled OWI Attorney in Milwaukee

1. The Immediate Aftermath of a DUI Arrest: What to Expect

Following a DUI arrest, individuals face a sequence of legal steps that begin the moment they are taken into custody. These include:

  • Initial Detention and Testing: Following a DUI arrest, the individual is typically taken into police custody for further evaluation. This often includes breathalyzer tests or blood tests to accurately measure blood alcohol content (BAC), which are crucial in establishing the level of intoxication and supporting the DUI charge.
  • Booking Process: After being detained, the arrestee undergoes the booking process, where personal information, fingerprints, and photographs are collected. This step formally records the arrest in the legal system.
  • Temporary License Suspension: In many jurisdictions, a DUI arrest leads to the immediate suspension of the driver’s license. The arrested individual might receive a temporary license that lasts until the date of the court hearing.
  • Release from Custody: Depending on the jurisdiction and the specifics of the case, individuals arrested for DUI could be released after sobering up, posting bail, or promising to appear in court. Conditions for release may vary, including the severity of the offense and whether the individual has a prior DUI record.
  • Court Summons: The arrested individual will receive a summons to appear in court for their arraignment, where charges are formally presented, and the defendant will enter a plea. This marks the beginning of the legal process where the defense and prosecution prepare for trial or seek a plea agreement.
  • Seek Legal Assistance: It is essential to consult with a skilled DUI attorney at this stage to have adequate legal representation in court. An experienced drunk driving attorney can help navigate the complex legal process and protect your rights.

2. Understanding Your Rights After a DUI Arrest

As an individual charged with DUI, you have certain rights protected by law, including:

  • The Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to refuse to answer any questions. Anything you say during your arrest can be used against you in court, so it is best to remain silent until you have consulted with your attorney.
  • The Right to an Attorney: You have the right to seek legal representation at any point in the legal process, starting from your arrest. An experienced DUI attorney will guide you through the legal system and protect your rights.
  • The Right to a Fair Trial: You have the right to a fair trial by a jury of your peers. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the DUI charge.

3. The Role of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in DUI Arrests

The role of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in DUI arrests is pivotal, serving as a critical piece of evidence that law enforcement and courts rely on to establish intoxication levels. BAC measures the concentration of alcohol in an individual’s bloodstream, expressed as a percentage, which directly correlates with the degree of impairment.

Legal limits for BAC vary by jurisdiction but typically range around 0.08% for drivers operating personal vehicles. A BAC at or above this threshold constitutes legal impairment, making it a central factor in DUI cases. The method of determining BAC, whether through breath, blood, or urine tests, is rigorously standardized to ensure accuracy.

The significance of BAC in DUI arrests cannot be overstated, as it quantitatively establishes the level of intoxication, thereby influencing charges, legal proceedings, and potential penalties. You can learn more about this in our previous guide “The Role of Blood Alcohol Content in Milwaukee DUI/OWI Cases.”

4. Potential Penalties and Consequences of a DUI Conviction

The potential penalties and consequences of a DUI conviction are designed to serve as a deterrent against impaired driving. Upon conviction, individuals face a spectrum of penalties that may include imprisonment, substantial fines, and a mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment program.

Specific consequences vary by jurisdiction but commonly involve the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. In many cases, offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, a tool that prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. Additionally, a DUI conviction often leads to increased insurance rates.

For those asking, how long do you have to sit in jail for a DUI? Know that jail time is possible but it depends on the factors surrounding your arrest. For first offenses, penalties can include up to six months in jail, with some states imposing minimum jail time for certain BAC levels. Repeat offenses see progressively harsher penalties. In Milwaukee, for example, a fourth OWI/DUI conviction is classified as a felony with potential sentences of up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

5. Hiring a Skilled OWI Attorney in Milwaukee

After a DUI Arrest: Expert Insights from a Drunk Driving AttorneyHiring a skilled drunk driving lawyer in Milwaukee is crucial for navigating the complexities of Wisconsin’s DUI laws and can significantly impact the outcome of your case. An experienced attorney brings a deep understanding of local legal procedures, potential defenses, and the nuances of how DUI cases are handled within the Milwaukee judicial system.

Given that Wisconsin law imposes strict penalties for DUI convictions, which can include hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time, the expertise of a dedicated OWI attorney is invaluable. Their guidance not only aids in achieving a more favorable legal outcome but also helps mitigate the long-term consequences that a DUI conviction can have.

For a trusted drunk driving attorney in Milwaukee, call Fenton Law. Fenton Law is a leading criminal defense firm with years of experience in DUI cases and a strong commitment to protecting the rights of our clients. Contact Fenton Law today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you navigate the legal system with confidence.

By Attorney Jay Fenton, Owner of Fenton Law Office

Jay Fenton is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee who goes above and beyond for his clients. He has successfully secured favorable outcomes in countless cases, from negotiating plea agreements to filing pre-trial motions and managing complex appeals. Attorney Fenton also has had tremendous success achieving not-guilty verdicts at trial. His dedication and aggressiveness make him one of the best attorneys around.