DUI Phases: 5 Phases From Getting Stopped to Sentencing

Being arrested for DUI in Asheville can happen quickly, and it might be challenging to remember all of the specifics the longer you wait. That is why it is critical that you notify your attorney as soon as possible about the specifics of your arrest and processing so that they can begin preparing your case.

Between the social stigma associated with DWI arrests and the possibility of criminal charges, this experience can have a significant impact on you. We’re going to explain the process for a standard DWI to help you better understand both the experience and the impact.

Phase One: You Are Driving

You are in your car driving, and police just pulled over. Being pulled over does not automatically imply that you will be arrested, but it is the starting point for any DWI arrest. An officer will typically pull you over, ask you a few questions about what you’ve had to drink, and possibly administer a battery of field sobriety tests. If the police feel you failed these tests, you may be arrested on suspicion of DWI.

At this stage of a DWI stop, law enforcement looks for reasons that indicate whether or not the driver is inebriated. Weaving, slow driving, slow response to signals, failure to dim lights, and so on are examples of these cues. A qualified DWI defense attorney will examine this phase for the possible lack of these cues. For example, swerving must be of a specific type for the stop to be justified.

Law enforcement cannot simply pull you over for no reason. There must be some traffic infraction or, at the very least, a substantial articulated combination of facts that would persuade the officer to assume criminal activity is taking place or is going to take place.

Phase Two: Contact With the Officer

Once the police pull you over, they start looking at every indicator to prove that you might be impaired. The officer will be looking for usual indications during the second phase of the DWI stop. Empty containers, bloodshot eyes, fumbling, slurred speech, aggressive language, and the odor of alcohol or other narcotics are just a few examples.

During phase two, officers ask specific questions on purpose. The primary aim is to watch if you will get confused easily or have any other communication issues. The length of time these breaks take is significant because they must be relatively brief. Many post-stop cues may or may not be visible in each circumstance. Your DWI defense attorney must review this section of the stop to determine whether any viable defenses exist at this point.

Phase Three: Getting Ready to Arrest You

At this stage, the police will request that you take field sobriety tests in an attempt to validate that you are intoxicated. You are not obliged to give your permission for the field tests.

The police will most likely begin by administering a series of physical sobriety tests. The officer will likely request that you perform a field breathalyzer test in order to obtain reliable confirmation of your alcohol levels. During these times, your behavior will be scrutinized. In general, the police are looking for physical abilities such as balance, eye movements, etc.

It is critical to understand that not all officers are certified to administer these tests and that before any test is initiated, the officer must establish a probable cause. Without a warrant, you cannot be arrested. Your legal team will be able to examine this process and determine if there are any “holes” in it.

Phase Four: Your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) Is Over the Limit

The administration of the INTOX 5000 or Blood Test must be considered at this stage. In order to check the legitimacy of this process, a number of rules and regulations must be followed. Many people are astonished to learn that drivers with BAC levels at or below the legal limit of.08 are frequently charged regardless of their BAC level. An effective DWI defense attorney will analyze this process to see if any results can be suppressed.

Phase Five: How Will You Be Sentenced?

If you were not able to dismiss the case in any of the previous four phases, you are now being faced with phase five – the sentencing.

You will need an attorney to make this phase as painless as possible.

Here is some information to keep in mind:

Levels of DUI

DUI is penalized on a six-level scale ranging from 5 to 1. (plus an aggravated level 1, the worst level of punishment).

The convicted will receive a sentencing level and the appropriate punishment based on past DWI – DUI arrests and the weighting of various variables that either help or hurt.

A finding of one or more grossly aggravating elements may raise the level of penalty to 1-2, where penalties can reach $10,000 and prison time can be measured in years. Even the less severe levels 3-5 can result in hundreds of dollars in penalties and many days of community service and/or jail time.

Mitigating Variables

Mitigating variables (positive things) serve to balance out negative aspects and reduce the punishment level. Such variables include minor impairment caused entirely by alcohol with a BAC of.09 or lower, safe driving except for the impairment, participation in an assessment and treatment program if appropriate, a clean driving record, and others. Fortunately, a lower level of proof, “preponderance of evidence,” is all that is required for you and your DWI defense attorney to demonstrate the mitigating (helpful) elements.

Aggravating Factors

The severity and penalty are exacerbated by aggravating factors. For example, driving with a blood-alcohol level of .16 or above, reckless driving, driving while license revoked (DWLR) at the time of the occurrence, causing an accident, and several others. As the state must show these aggravating elements beyond a reasonable doubt, your DWI defense attorney may be able to argue against weak aggravating factors.

DWI within seven years of the present offense, passengers under the age of 18, revoked for impaired driving at the time of the occurrence, or inflicting serious injury to someone as a result of the incident are grossly aggravating elements that significantly increase the amount of penalty. Again, your DWI defense attorney should be prepared to argue against a case for grossly aggravating elements.

Contact Us Today

At this point, representation is critical because your DWI defense attorney will work to ensure that the aggravating circumstances are proven and the mitigating factors are examined to reduce the harm to as little as feasible for sentence purposes. Our expert legal professionals are ready to assist you. Call us today at 828-759-5556.

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