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Implied Consent Law in USA: DWI-DUI Defense Attorney Blog

After a DUI arrest, if you’re facing a driving under the influence accusation, it’s crucial to start searching for a top-rated drunk driving lawyer immediately. While most people have heard that a DUI conviction usually carries mandatory jail time, hefty fines, and a possible lifetime criminal history, few are aware of the related, immediate driver license suspension or revocation that is typically imposed.

The goal of an arresting police officer (in impaired driving arrests) is to obtain proof that your BAC level was over the legal limit. If you took the officer’s field sobriety tests, these cannot quantitate an alcohol level or detect the presence of drugs. Watch this YouTube video of what you should and should not do or say if pulled over by police.

Only by obtaining a contemporaneous breath alcohol or blood alcohol extraction can that officer determine what impairing substances were in that driver’s body at the time of driving. Implied consent laws were “created” by NHTSA, a federal highway safety agency in the early 1970s. All states’ implied consent laws are different, but generally penalize any arrested DUI suspect who does not comply with an officer’s request for post-arrest forensic testing.

Drunk Driving Defense is a national directory of criminal law professionals who have aggressively undertaken additional forensic training, trial technique training and learned how to debunk "police science" related to roadside testing and other screening protocols.

SPOILER ALERT: Lawyers for DUI near me will have (as an initial job) the task of helping the arrested citizen continue to be able to drive, if at all possible. This page points out several pitfalls that can negatively impact those who DON’T ACT immediately, to protect their driving privileges.

This federal highway safety, N.H.T.S.A., established national “standards” by which states must enact certain driving laws pertaining to driving drunk of operating a vehicle while stoned. Simply stated, all states that wanted to get full highway funding from the federal government must comply with the Agency’s rules.

By NOT consulting with a skilled drunk driving attorney, you RISK not being allowed to legally drive. This directory is staffed by super lawyers at law offices nationwide to help those citizens after a DUI or DWI arrest protect their ability to drive.

What are Implied Consent Laws?

Facing D.U.I. charges? Virtually 100% of all criminal DUI-DWI cases will have a related civil driver license suspension or revocation proceeding that starts the day of arrest. To NOT get immediately suspended by these implied consent statutes, your first step is to locate drunk driving lawyers near me to obtain guidance on what to do to avoid this TOTAL loss of driving privileges.

DWI-DUI charges mean that a CIVIL suspension or revocation is also being sought. These “implied consent” statutes totally suspend or revoke an arrested DUI driver who refuses to agree to the arresting officer’s requested post-arrest forensic testing of blood, breath urine or other bodily substances.

For your DWI defense, you need one of the best impaired driving lawyers at a well-established DUI law firm in your Court location. Making that DUI-OWI lawyer “locator” function easy was the very purpose of this Website.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are just two of more than 10 different acronyms used in the United States to identify drunken driving or drugged driving. Others include OVI, DWUI, DUII, OWI, OUI and several more abbreviations.

What is a DWI attorney? This stands for driving while intoxicated attorney or driving while impaired attorney.

In addition, under implied consent laws (which ONLY apply to driving intoxicated cases), the arrested driver faces an immediate administrative (not criminal) suspension or revocation of her or his driving privileges, depending on state law and facts of each specific case.

CAUTION: Some states require that any appeals by a defense attorney (DUI specialist) to challenge these implied consent civil actions be filed in as little as 7 days or 10 days after the criminal arrest date, in some states.

The immediacy of these critically important implied consent suspensions or revocations is why the best OWI-DWI lawyers tend to answer potential OWI-DUI client calls 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Virtually no other legal professionals except a DWI defense attorney must adhere to such a burdensome “availability” schedule.

The high costs of not being able to drive (e.g., daily rideshare or taxi expense, or via other transportation means), and possible car insurance cancellation due to the total loss of all driving privileges. In addition, other negative impacts of being administratively suspended or revoked can turn into a complete embargo of that arrested driver’s ability to keep driving.

Virtually 100% of criminal DUI arrests will have a separate (but related) civil (administrative) driver's license suspension. This second impact relates to taking away your right to drive if you (1) refused to take the post-arrest forensic test) or (2) you took the test and had a forensic test result above the State's legal limit.

Some decide that they will keep driving after being suspended or revoked. This can be a very bad decision since computerized automatic license plate readers (ALPR) are now very common. These ALPR devices instantly can match up that vehicle owner to DMV-DPS-BMV-SOS records, and police then will pull that vehicle over.

Continuing to drive while suspended also can mean a very painful jail sentence. In addition, some state laws call for possible forfeiture of the vehicle and add another year or more of remaining suspended or revoked, so that illegal driving options should never be risked.

Why You Need a DUI Lawyer, even if that Needs to be a Public Defender

Being accused of driving under the influence is a potentially life-changing issue. Being broke or having no savings to pay private attorneys is not an excuse since the United States Constitution guarantees legal counsel in serious criminal law cases like a DWI-DUI arrest.

On average, private drunk driving attorneys near me will have more time per client to devote to your case than a court-appointed attorney. Yet, these court-appointed lawyers often are well-received by judges in many courts, so make certain you do not try to self-represent.

DWI-DUI arrests are part of a misdemeanor or felony driving crime for which you can lose the ability to drive and go to jail. Plus, in many states, these convictions cannot EVER be expunged or have the criminal record restricted.

A trained, DWI defense attorney knows that pleading guilty or losing your driving while impaired case by entering a guilty plea, or losing at trial by way of a guilty verdict can lead to:

  • Monetary penalties are called fines and additional state or local surcharges.
  • Mandatory community service hours (possibly up to 480 or more hours) that can be the equivalent of over one-fourth of a typical person’s full work year.
  • Incarceration (being put in jail) for some period of time.
  • Revocation or suspension of your driving privileges, either pursuant to implied consent laws, a criminal conviction, or both.
  • Creating a highly negative criminal history that (in some states) can NEVER be expunged or restricted from being viewed.
  • Almost every state now mandates the installation of an “I.I.D.”, which stands for breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID), that is wired into your vehicle’s ignition system, to not let you crank the vehicle if any alcohol is on your breath.
  • DUI School: Mandatory participation in and completion of an alcohol education course or (for some repeat offenders) lengthy and costly alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs.

One Word of Caution if Represented by a Public Defender

First, in most states, the chance to get a public defender will not be available until your first criminal court date. By then, your license will almost always be administratively suspended or revoked. This message is given here so that you at least CALL one of our Directory’s DUI-DWI attorneys for guidance on saving your driving privileges.

In some states (e.g., Georgia) the public defender cannot handle the administrative part of your DWI-OUI case, because it is a civil matter and not a criminal matter. This is a treacherous and unfortunate drawback for those too broke to hire private legal counsel, since the “negotiation” of this administrative loss of license is highly important.

However, because our DUI defense lawyers will provide an initial case interview with you, be certain to ask if you are eligible to opt for an interlock restricted limited permit after a “refusal” to be tested and try to get the DDS-DMV web link in your state that can provide you guidance you through this important non-criminal process.

Being convicted of a DWI-DUI is a conviction that you take to the grave, in most states. The federal record remains for life, even if state laws mask the conviction from local court records.

How can I Know who The Best DUI Attorney will be for my Court Case?

Finding the right DUI lawyer can be hard because there are many legal professionals claiming to be the best. When dealing with criminal charges, it’s important to find an experienced DUI lawyer who is successful in defending clients in your court jurisdiction.

Traditionally, those arrested for DUI are hesitant to ask for a recommendation from family members, co-workers, or friends, since they are embarrassed to disclose the fact that they went to jail. Plus, most of the time (over 98%), a person who was arrested and self-represented lost their DWI/DUI case or just pleaded guilty, which is not what those uninformed and unrepresented people needed to happen.

Find The Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Near You

We have listings for the top DUI lawyers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Find the best DUI lawyer for you by clicking on your state here.

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