I am being charged with OUID. I am 19, a college student with great grades and no previous record. I have court on Thursday, what can I expect?
3 Answers from Attorneys
You need to ask this question to your attorney, if he/she cannot answer it for you then you need a new one. If you do not have one, YOU NEED TO HIRE ONE!
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You need to retain a lawyer. All courts are very strict when it comes to alcohol related driving offenses. Only a lawyer acting in your interests can review the court's file, police reports, evidence (including any breath or alcohol tests), to determine if there were any errors in the process, defects in evidence, errors in the arrest and booking procedure, etc. Assuming there were not, a lawyer can negotiate the best deal possible for you which is likely a "driving while impaired" or DWI, which is slightly less detrimental than an OUIL/OUID, but is the best deal you can hope for, unless there is a defect in the evidence which could be used to negotiate to a non-alcohol related driving offense, such as reckless driving.
You never want to take any chances with such a serious charge that is going to follow you throughout your entire life - you must get a lawyer. Nobody else is looking out for your best interests - not the prosecutor or the police. A public defender will only spend 2 minutes on your case and does not really benefit you. Now is the time to do whatever it takes to come up with the money to defend these charges and ensure your rights are protected.
Your lawyer will also be able to give you specific advice after reviewing the police report and details regarding the incident, and depending on the court, the judge, etc. Generally a person with a first offense is looking at probation, which likely includes most of the following: regular drug/substance testing several times a week, substantial fines, community service, attendance at seminars, tether, AA and other therapy or treatment, keeping a job and/or being enrolled in school, and jail time, etc. A lawyer would also advise you on steps you can take now, while your case is pending, to slightly improve your chances and lessen the ultimate blow, such as by immediately enrolling in AA, obtaining a sponsor, and thereby having 30-60 consecutive days of AA under your belt by the time of sentencing. Courts are especially strict on young persons, as the chances of you getting another DD within a few years are substantially higher than if a person received their first DD at age 35. In other words, the earlier you start, the more likely you are to continue down this road. Courts are harsh so as to avoid this happening again, but every person says "you will never see me again - I will never do this again," and 9 times out of 10, it happens again.
You also need advice on what to say and what not to say, your attitude, what actions to take to show you have learned from this and that it was an isolated mistake, and also what actions not to engage in while your case is pending, and while you are on probation. For example, you will have to undergo random alcohol testing while your case is pending, likely 1-3 times per week. There is no excuse for missing a test and if you do, it is presumed you had something to hide. Also, there is a test that can detect alcohol in your system for the prior 7 days. Most people do not know this and think there is only the 24-hour test - wrong. You also cannot have any illegal substances in your system, even though that's not what the charge is for. Any prescription medications must be noted in the court and in the drug testing facility's records - you have to provide them with that documentation when you register at the facility. Again, lots of details and information that can only be discussed and learned through a lawyer - the initial consultation should be 1-2 hours long so as to go over all this information to discuss your plan of action while the charges are pending to minimize the ultimate severity of your sentence.
Please feel free to contact me if you decide to retain a lawyer - do not wait until the last minute. While your lawyer can likely adjourn the court date, depending on what it is, you still need to contact and retain a lawyer immediately.
I'm assuming that since you were arrested for OUID, there was no alcohol involved, and you were blood tested. Since you're under 21, any alcohol in your system should have resulted in a zero tolerance charge but the officer may have charged you with OUID instead as that carries more of a penalty.The results of your blood test won't be available for several months so, until then, plead not guilty at your arraignment and stop the drugs now - especially if you were smoking marijuana.
Even if you stop now, getting pulled over in the next 30-60 days could get you charged with OUID again (which is zero tolerance) as THC stays in your system. If that happens, you will do time.
And, if you do drugs, no one really cares about your grade point.
The assistance of a competent lawyer would definitely be a benefit to you. Your parents will be very unhappy for all the tuition they paid if you get kicked out of school.
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