The First 48 Hours After a DUI Arrest: What You Need to Know

arrested for dui

Getting arrested for a DUI can be a scary and overwhelming experience. As attorneys who regularly advise clients facing impaired driving charges, we understand how confusing navigating the legal process can be.

Our aim here is to offer clear guidance on what typically happens during and after a DUI arrest, discuss defense strategies, and explain what potential penalties may apply depending on case specifics under Nevada or Utah state law. Our DUI Lawyers explore the step-by-step approach.

What Happens During a Typical DUI Arrest

Getting pulled over and questioned by a law enforcement officer is nerve-wracking enough on its own. Discovering those flashing red-and-blue lights in your rearview mirror quickly escalates stress levels. When alcohol or substances are involved, emotions and anxiety run even higher.

Here’s an overview of standard protocols to expect from start to finish during a DUI arrest:

Field Sobriety Testing Starts the Investigative Process

If an officer suspects impaired driving, he or she will typically request you step out of the vehicle to perform standardized field sobriety tests. These on-site evaluations analyze balance, coordination, concentration, and other capacities that may be diminished when over the legal alcohol limit.

The officer looks for an inability to properly follow instructions, as well as visible signs of intoxication like slurred speech. You may be asked to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line or stand on one leg. Failure to pass these physical tests provides evidence toward the officer’s overall determination.

Chemical Testing Screens Blood Alcohol Concentration

In addition to physical assessments, you will likely need to submit either a breath, blood, or urine sample for BAC analysis. Portable roadside devices can provide quick breathalyzer readings, while formal blood draws or urine samples occur at police stations or medical clinics.

Nevada’s legal BAC limit for driving is 0.08%. Higher levels lead to harsher potential DUI penalties. Though never advisable behind the wheel, you have the right to consult a criminal defense attorney and refuse tests in many cases. We can advise on the best approach here, as test refusal also comes with penalties.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest Occurs

The arrest process continues at the local precinct or jail for booking, charging documents, fingerprinting, and paperwork. Additional steps come later through both criminal court hearings and DMV administrative reviews.

Expect Booking, Fingerprinting and Mugshots

Post-arrest protocol involves paperwork and processing similar to other criminal violations. After field sobriety tests end, the officer handcuffs and transports you to their station or nearest jail. They file an initial report, take fingerprints and mugshots, and you remain detained in a holding cell.

Depending on factors like belligerence and prior records, you may be released on your own recognizance or need to post bail money as assurance you’ll return for court hearings. We can ask about options to lower bail requirements if finances get tight.

Navigating the Legal Process after a DUI Charge

Following an arrest and booking, your case enters the criminal court system while the DMV also reviews driving privileges administratively. With overlapping timelines and processes, having guidance from a criminal defense attorney here provides invaluable perspective.

Arraignment and Hearings Establish Charges on Record

Within 1-3 days after booking, your first court date gets scheduled—the arraignment hearing. The judge formally presents specific DUI charges against you on the official court records. We advise clients to enter a “not guilty” plea here to engage in defense preparation efforts.

Later pretrial conferences occur to negotiate deals or agreements before the final trial itself. We utilize this advanced time to build argument strategies around common angles like improper testing procedures or protocol errors.

DMV Hearings Threaten License Suspension

Beyond criminal consequences, an administrative DMV hearing also reviews the arrest details to determine driver’s license restrictions. Hearings typically occur 10-30 days post-arrest.

The DMV may suspend privileges for anywhere from several months up to a year, depending on case details and prior offenses. We can request temporary reinstatement in some situations, particularly if livelihood depends on driving duties.

Mounting an Effective Legal Defense Strategy

Because DUI charges can carry severe penalties, constructing an assertive defense makes or breaks the case. We understand standard law enforcement tactics and where vulnerability may exist.

Questioning Stop Circumstances and Test Compliance

There are dozens of variables we examine to assemble defense arguments, but common themes include questioning the reasonability behind the initial traffic stop or later investigation protocols. Were field sobriety tests conducted properly? Did the Datamaster machine get calibrated correctly for an accurate BAC analysis?

Any technicalities or procedural errors get highlighted to cast doubt. We’ll also thoroughly reexamine case files and evidence for additional dispute grounds if possible.

What Mitigating Factors Can Lessen the Blow?

No two cases mirror identical characteristics, so we dive deeply into your singular circumstances, too. Were you swerving erratically, or is the 0.09% BAC reading barely over the legal limit? Any admissions of guilt made or level of cooperation with officers shown also sways outcomes.

Bottom line: the less egregious the errors, the lighter the consequences. We present sympathy-inducing perspectives to courts seeking fair, redemption-focused punishment.

Potential Penalties Differ Based on Specifics

DUI penalty ranges in Nevada:

  • First offense – 2 days to 6 months in jail, $400 to $1,000 fine
  • Second offense – 10 days to 6 months in jail, $750 to $1,000 fine
  • Third offense – 1 to 6 years in prison, $2,000 to $5,000 fine

Utah DUI penalties include:

  • First offense – 48 hours to 6 months in jail, $700 to $1,500 fine
  • Second offense – 240 hours to 2 years in prison, $800 to $1,500 fine
  • Third offense – 180 days to 5 years prison, $1,500 to $5,000 fine

While scary to digest, actual sentencing really boils down to details individual to your case. Having an advocate well-versed in local courts and laws can make the difference between a misdemeanor citation and a multi-year felony outcome.

Ignition Interlock Devices: Costly Precautions

Following DUI violations, courts may require installing ignition interlock devices that prevent vehicles from starting without passing breathalyzers built into the starter system. These impose major access barriers and costs for convicted drivers. Here’s an overview of how they work and the downsides to expect:

Interlocks connect breathalyzers to a vehicle’s ignition system. Prior to starting the car, you must blow into the device, confirming blood alcohol concentration under 0.02% – 0.04%. The car only starts if you pass the test.

Throughout the operation of the vehicle, you will be required to provide further breath samples randomly to confirm ongoing sobriety. Failing built-in tests triggers the vehicle alarm system and reports violations to the court.

These devices incur significant expense, around $100 installation fee plus $80 monthly service costs in Nevada or Utah. The court specifies the mandated usage period ranging from 6 months to over 2 years for repeat offenses. It also delays license reinstatement rights.

In total, you can expect thousands of dollars in added ignition interlock costs if convicted and ordered to install these devices in your vehicles for months or years at a time. We advocate against their requirement whenever possible due to the substantial financial and accessibility hardships imposed on our clients.

Future Record Expungement Options

For those convicted of DUI charges and facing long-term impacts on employment, loans, or other opportunities from criminal records, we understand the importance of someday clearing the slate through record expungement or sealing remedies. Here are options to discuss with counsel:

Waiting Periods Apply

In Nevada, applications for DUI record expungement may only be submitted starting 7 years after the date or 1-5 years after completion of any court-ordered probation program – whichever date comes later. Utah law imposes a similar multi-year waiting period as well.

Conviction Severity Matters

While there is no guarantee in either state, lower-level misdemeanor DUIs often meet eligibility criteria for approval more easily than repeated and felonious offenses in the past. We secure the least severe convictions possible partly to preserve future expungement routes.

Expect Legal Costs, Too

Unfortunately, expungements require dedicated legal efforts, including petition drafting, case research, document filing, court appearances, and more. Our firm handles these matters regularly to offer informed guidance so collateral damage from DUI arrests does not haunt you indefinitely.

As your case progresses, we remain alert to long-term remedies that may someday exorcise lingering legal shadows from mistakes of the past. For now, stay focused on constructively moving your current situation toward the most favorable outcomes possible. Brighter days lie ahead.

Arrested for a DUI in Nevada or Utah?

Time is absolutely critical after any DUI arrest. The actions you do or do not take in the first 48 hours can significantly impact the outcome of your case down the road. That is why you need experienced legal help to get DUI charges dismissed.

Our team has defended thousands of DUI cases and helped countless drivers move on while protecting their records, keeping their jobs, and avoiding unnecessary fines or jail time. We know exactly what steps need to be taken in these crucial early moments.

Don’t leave anything to chance or wait to see how serious this may become. Reach out now for a free consultation, case review, and assessment from our top DUI defense attorneys. We can build your defense, gather evidence, answer all questions, and get your life back on track. But do not delay – the first 48 hours make all the difference.

Author Bio

Benjamin Durham is the principal attorney and founder of Benjamin Durham Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm based in Las Vegas, NV. With over 20 years of experience in the legal field, he represents clients in both injury and criminal cases. Over his career, he has secured favorable verdicts for clients in both state and federal courts and successfully defended numerous high-profile prosecutions.

Ben’s exceptional legal skills and dedication to his clients have earned him recognition as a life member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also has been honored as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, further solidifying his reputation as a top-notch legal practitioner.

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