DWI FAQ: I was arrested for a DWI, am I going to go to jail?

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Following a DWI, you might have a number of concerns, including whether or not you will face extended jail time. Just because you have been arrested and charged does not mean you will go to jail. Whether this is true will depend on the circumstances of the charges and any mitigating factors.

Understanding a DWI

Driving while intoxicated, or a DWI, is a serious offense that is considered to be punishable in all 50 states. In general, to be charged with a DWI, at least one of the following must apply:

  • You are under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • You have a BAC level of 0.08 or higher; or,
  • A blood test shows that there is more than the maximum limit for illegal or legal drugs (including medications).

To better understand this, it is illegal to consume a certain amount of drugs or alcohol which may prevent you from being able to operate your vehicle. Even if you do seem to be driving okay, if your BAC is above the legal limit, you are impaired and can be charged.

At the Time of Your Arrest

It is almost certain that you will not be allowed to leave the scene if you are found to be under the influence. Rather, police will arrest you and take you to jail. Bail may be set, and only after it has been posted can you leave. As soon as you have been charged you have the right to consult a drunk driving accident lawyer in DC.

First Time Offenders

These offenses are processed relatively quickly; therefore, it is advisable to consult a DWI lawyer as soon as possible. Every DWI is fact-specific which means the facts that a DWI lawyer can present could make or break your case. You will want to explain to the lawyer what happened, the interaction between you and the police officer, your arrest, your field sobriety testing, whether your Miranda Rights were read to you, and if there were witnesses.

Proving Your Case

It will be up to the prosecutor to prove your case by demonstrating that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. What this means is that if there is any doubt at all, you cannot be found guilty. A good DUI lawyer may arguing this by showing, for example, that your BAC results were compromised or that the officer did not have probable cause to stop you.

When This is Your First DWI

If this is your first DWI, and the following apply, you may only face fines, fees, and mandatory DWI school. Jail time is possible, but often not ordered by a judge.

  • You did not injure anyone
  • You did not cause property damage
  • You were not driving recklessly
  • You did not argue or cause distress at the scene of the arrest

When You Have a High BAC

If this is your first DWI, and your BAC was 0.18 or more, you may be ordered to take an evaluation test which determines whether or not you may be dependent on alcohol. If so, you may be ordered to rehab. An ignition interlock device may also have to be installed on your car, and you may be sentenced to jail for a short period of time.

When This is Not Your First DWI

If you have had other DWI offenses, you can expect to face harsher penalties. The likelihood of be sentenced to jail is higher. Should you have injured another person, or caused damage to property, you may be sentenced to jail or prison.

Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and what happens after being arrested for a DWI.