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Brunswick County First Offense DUI Lawyer

Being arrested for first time Brunswick DUI charges can be a stressful and frightening experience. DUIs carry penalties such as fines and even jail time. If you are facing DUI charges for the first time, the help of a knowledgeable DUI lawyer can be invaluable in helping you build your case.

Mistakes to Avoid For First Time DUI Defendants

The biggest mistake to avoid for someone with a first time DUI is making statements to law enforcement on the side of the road.

People want to be seen as cooperative by the law enforcement representative who pulled them over. They do not realize that the conversation is designed and manipulated in a way to get them to make statements that can be used against them in court.

How Prosecutors Handle First Time DUI Charges

First time Brunswick DUI charges are typically heard in Brunswick County General District Court. Prosecutors are conscientious about whether the evidence supports the charge.

They review the person’s previous record for driving to see if there is a history of driving issues beyond DUI. The prosecutor wants to know if the person was convicted of reckless driving charges, whether they have a valid license or not, and if they have a history of other criminal charges.

Leniency of  Judges and Juries

Generally, courts are tolerant of first time Brunswick DUI charges if there are no extenuating circumstances that make it more inherently dangerous by behavior. When the driving behavior was extremely reckless or there was a child in the car or other extenuating circumstances, the courts are not as lenient.

How Brunswick Lawyers Build a Defense

A Brunswick DUI lawyer first looks at the client’s version of events and how they first began to interact with law enforcement. The DUI lawyer identifies the probable cause for initiating the stop and whether there was a constitutional issue with the stop.

The lawyer determines whether the person was advised of their rights, whether they refused the preliminary breath test, and whether they participated in a field sobriety test.

If they did participate in field sobriety tests, the lawyer finds out if the tests were properly explained to the person and whether there is anything about the client that makes their participation inherently less valuable. Perhaps they have physical or learning disabilities that prevent them from completing the test in a satisfactory manner even if they were not under the influence of anything.

Penalties for a First Time Conviction

When there are no extenuating circumstances, the penalties for a first time DUI are 30 days in jail, fully suspended; a $250 fine; a 12-month loss of license with a restricted application eligible; and a referral to VASAP. There can be mandatory jail time associated with a first DUI. However, if the situation does not have extenuating circumstances with an enhanced BAC, generally, there is no active jail time.

What Does VASAP do?

VASAP provides many services such as driver safety courses and pretrial monitoring of offenders. They install and supervise the alcohol monitoring devices including an ignition interlock and systems that can be put in someone’s home. VSAP provides counseling and assesses offender risk, alcohol, and drug abuse.

What Happens to a Person’s Driver’s License

After a first time Brunswick DUI charge, person’s driver’s license is suspended administratively and the law enforcement officer takes their license on the side of the road.

In Brunswick County, the driver’s license is given to the Brunswick General District Court clerk’s office and is held for seven days. At that point, if the person is local or if it is convenient for them, they can come to the clerk’s office and pick up their driver’s license pending their trial.

If the person is from out of town, out-of-state, or it is not convenient, they can call and arrange to have the Brunswick County General District Court clerk’s office mail their license back to them after seven days. After conviction, a person’s driver’s license is suspended for 12 months.

Applying For a Restricted License

When an individual is found guilty of the DUI, they are eligible to apply for a restricted license. If the person was found to have a BAC of 0.15 or more, they must meet with VASAP prior to applying for a restricted license.

They may be required to have the ignition interlock installed in their vehicle before they are eligible to drive with a restricted license.

When someone is found guilty, sometimes the lawyer can get the restricted application done on the same day and signed by the judge. It just depends on the size of the court’s docket.

Challenging the Suspension of a License

While the charges are pending, an individual loses their license for only seven days. Their license is returned pending trial. There can be a period of numerous months before going to trial so it is not really an issue after the first seven days.

Importance of an Attorney

If you face first time DUI charges in Brunswick, a lawyer can help you by answering any questions you may have. If you decide to challenge the suspension of your license, a lawyer can help you do so. Most importantly, an experienced attorney will also have a more comprehensive understanding of the local court system and can start to build a defense based off of that knowledge.

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