If you have recently been charged with a DUI/DWI while out of state, or even in another country, you may be concerned about how this is going to affect your life and what your next steps should be to resolve this issue. After all, it can be difficult enough to deal with a local DUI/DWI charge, but having to go through the entire legal process in another state or country’s jurisdiction can make matters even more stressful. Luckily, there are some basic tips and steps that you can follow to get past this part of your life and move on to a brighter future.
What Are the Consequences of a DUI/DWI While Traveling?
First of all, it is important to recognize that DUI/DWI laws vary from state to state. Therefore, if you are arrested for a DUI while vacationing in Florida, the same consequences may not apply as they would if you were arrested in New York, for example. In fact, the only real nationwide law regarding a DUI charge is that a person is classified as driving over the legal limit if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more. Aside from that, the legal consequences of a DUI charge are entirely up to the state legislature. These consequences can include anything from a suspended license, towing of the person’s vehicle, or even jail time.
If you were charged with a DUI while traveling out of state, there is a good chance that you were bailed out of jail that same night, or soon thereafter, and are now being summoned for a court hearing. This can be a very stressful time, especially if it means you will have to travel back to the state in which you were arrested. Not only is this costly, but it is time consuming as well, perhaps forcing you to take additional unplanned, or even unpaid vacation days away from your job.
What to Do Next
When facing DUI/DWI charges after your out-of-state vacation, it may be in your best interests to consider hiring a qualified attorney. If, for example, you were arrested while on vacation in Niagara Falls, New York, an experienced Buffalo DWI lawyer will be able to help you with your case. More times than not, hiring a legal team provides you with the best chance of reducing your charges, rather than being subjected to the full offense and punishment at the sole scrutiny of a judge. Whether traveling or at home, if this is your first DUI charge, having a dedicated criminal defense team on your side can make all the difference in how it will affect your future.
In addition to the possibility of reduced charges, some states will even allow your lawyer to make an appearance in court on your behalf, meaning that you will save time, money and stress by not having to travel back to the state where you were originally charged with the crime. Instead, your Buffalo criminal attorney can represent you in court, and report the judge ruling on how you should proceed next. Even in a best-case scenario with an out-of-state DUI, you can expect to serve some type of probation and pay hefty fines, in addition to your legal fees.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the best way to handle a DUI/DWI while traveling in another state is to avoid one in the first place. Drinking and driving is never a good decision while at home or on vacation. However, everyone makes mistakes, and the good news is that there are plenty of experienced and qualified lawyers in every state across the country who can help you effectively deal with your out-of-state DUI/DWI charges.
Karla M. Somers is an avid traveler, writer and former mediator for the state of New York. She is a frequent contributing author for the criminal defense team of Trbovich Law Offices in Buffalo, New York. The Trbovich Law Firm helps people facing drug and alcohol-related cases including motion practice, trials and appellate court.