If you're vacationing out of state or drinking with coworkers on a business trip, what happens if you're pulled over for a DUI?
What Happens After a DUI Arrest?
The Department of Motor Vehicles establishes and enforces its own processes for dealing with DUI charges. In general, your license can get suspended for two reasons: a blood alcohol level (BAC) over the legal limit, or you refused to take a breathalyzer test.
If either factor is true in your case, the officer will send a report to the DMV office in the area. Once the DMV has received the information, your license is suspended until your case goes to court. You may have time to file an appeal, but depending on the laws in the state of your arrest, your chances of avoiding court could be slim to none.
It's also important to remember that should you fail to show up at your hearing, your license suspension will continue indefinitely in the state where you were arrested and your home state. So, regardless of how far away your hearing is, if you don't show up, there will be serious consequences.
Criminal DUI Charges
The arresting officer will give you a court summons to plead guilty or not guilty to the DUI charges. If your hearing is out of state, you MUST appear in court. If you fail to appear, not only will your license be officially suspended, but the court may issue a warrant for your arrest.
If you are facing criminal DUI charges in an out-of-state court, contact a local attorney as soon as possible.
Penalties for an Out-of-State DUI
When a court finds someone guilty of a DUI, they face fines, license suspension, and court fees. If the DUI resulted in injuries or death, the court may sentence you to prison time and/or damages to the victim's family.
Out-of-state DUI cases are particularly complicated because not only do you have to attend court in another state, but if you're sentenced to jail time, you might not spend that time on your home turf.
It's also important to note that all DUI charges are communicated to your home state. This means that while the crime may have been committed in another state, you could face penalties there and at home.
All license suspensions are added to the National Driver Registry, enabling law enforcement to keep track of your driving record regardless of how many state lines you may cross.
What You Can Do
Out-of-state DUI charges seem bleak, but your case isn't a lost cause. If you are arrested for a DUI in West Virginia, don't hesitate to contact The Wagner Law Firm.
Attorney Harley Wagner has over two decades of experience with DUI cases alone, and he has defended thousands of clients in West Virginia courts. While you may be unfamiliar with the laws in our state, Attorney Wagner has an intricate knowledge of the law as it applies to DUI cases.
Don't leave your case to chance. Contact The Wagner Law Firm today for more information.