Alcohol crime attorneys differ by state. This is because, unlike other types of criminal charges, each state carries its own unique set of laws regarding drunk driving and other alcohol-related crimes.Drunk driving itself is given different official titles depending on the jurisdiction. In Texas, for example, the specific criminal offense is called Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) while in California, it is referred to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Still, in other jurisdictions, the offense may be called Operating While Impaired (OWI) or Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI). The penalties for drunk driving differ by state as well. For this reason, it is best to enlist the help of a local defense lawyer should one get accused of committing the offense outside of one’s home state.Alcohol crime attorneys work best when they represent cases within the jurisdiction they are stationed in. A defense lawyer specializing in alcohol-related crime charges is likely to have an intimate knowledge of the specific laws that govern the state he practices in. He would know what penalties are given for which offense, and can therefore devise an effective plan to draw out the best possible outcome for the defendant.If one already has a lawyer residing in one’s home state, it would be a good idea to tap into the defense attorney’s network or colleagues. If the defense attorney is affiliated with a large defense law firm with bases from coast to coast, it may be easier to find legal assistance where one has had the misfortune of being accused of drunk driving out of town.
Initial Procedures. If you are arrested for DUI (or drunk driving) in California, you should have been given a choice of a chemical test of your breath or blood. If you take a breath test and the results are .08% blood-alcohol or higher, your driver’s license will be taken by the officer and you will be given a Notice of Suspension. This pink document operates both to formally advise you of the immediate suspension and as a temporary permit to drive (unrestricted) for thirty days. If you give a blood rather than breath sample in a California DUI case, the results will probably not be available for a few days; the suspension begins but will be conditional upon later results being over .08%. If you should refuse to take a chemical test, your license will still be confiscated but the period of suspension will be substantially longer.Out-of-State Drivers. If you are an out-of-state driver, the police in California cannot confiscate your license, as it is the property of another state government. You will receive the same Notice of Suspension, but this serves only to suspend your driving privilege within the state of California; your license remains valid outside of the state. You should be aware, however, that your state’s motor vehicle department will probably suspend your license upon being notified by the California DMV of the DUI license suspension.Administrative Penalties. A first drunk driving offense carries a suspension of 4 months. You should be aware, however, that this can be reduced to 1 month followed by work-restriction of 5 months if you file proof of insurance (the SR-22 form) and proof of enrollment in a state-approved DUI school. If you refused to take a chemical test, the suspension is for 1 year – and no work restriction is permitted. If this is a second offense within 10 years, the suspension is for one year, two if for a refusal – and again, no work restriction will be granted.Challenging the Suspension. You have a right to contest the suspension (called an Administrative License Suspension, or ALS). This is completely separate and apart from the criminal proceedings. It is strongly recommended that an ALS hearing be requested: There is a good chance of having the suspension thrown out. In any event, the worst thing that can happen is that you will receive the same suspension as if you had not requested a hearing
First, you need to contact the police directly after an accident occurs. The authorities must investigate the scene of a crime when fresh evidence is still available to them. Police must be able to prove that the opposing driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.Next, be sure that the witnesses give direct statements to the authorities. This is to ensure that there were eye-witness accounts, and it will strengthen your case. The longer you wait to get these statements the more likely witnesses will disappear or insurance companies will get a hold of them.One of the most important steps is to consult an attorney about your case soon after it occurs. They can give you useful advice about the next steps to take. Most consultations with personal injury lawyers are free of charge.Finally, make an insurance claim. Automobile insurance should cover all your vehicular damage when you are the victim in this type of accident. After first consulting with an attorney, provide as much evidence of the damages as possible. There is also a significant amount of medical coverage that you can receive for your case. This includes doctor’s visits, hospital bills, transportation costs, and professional. Being out of work for an extended period of time due to an accident can be financially straining, and many people do not know that they can be compensated for their time and money lost.Alcohol-related crashes are tragic, but it is important to take these steps in order to receive the proper settlement for your case. These types of cases are serious and in many cases loved ones are lost.