Frequent Questions

  1. What if the officer didn't give me a ticket or a court date?
  2. What does the hole punched in my license mean?
  3. Will I have to go to court and jury trial?
  4. Can I just plead guilty to get it over?
  5. Won't the judge be more harsh if I get an attorney or plead not guilty?
  6. If I plead not guilty, how long will this take?
  7. Must I be given jail time?
  8. Must I lose my license?
  9. What if I need to drive to work?
  10. Is there any way to avoid the jail, fines and license suspension?
  11. How much will my DUI cost?
  12. What if I have a CDL?
  13. How much booze is required to blow .08?
  14. What is an EHM?
  15. What is an IID?
  16. What if I'm under 21?
  17. Will I be able to travel to Canada?


  1. No ticket given? - Officers have traditionally issued DUI citations at the time of the stop. Recently, they have forwarded the citations to the prosecuting attorney for review and mailing. This delays your first court appearance, but does not mean you will not be charged. It does not delay or postpone the deadlines for any Department of Licensing suspension action and, within 20 days of your being stopped, you must send a written hearing request with $375 to avoid the pending automatic suspension or revocation.
  2. Hole punched? - The hole renders your license in temporary status and is intended to notify you that you 20 days to request a hearing or suffer the automatic suspension of your license.
  3. Court required? - Most cases are resolved without a jury trial; however, court appearances are required in every DUI case. Anytime the judge takes any action in your case you must be present
  4. Plead Guilty OK? - You can always plead guilty, but it is NOT RECOMMENDED, at least not until you consult with an attorney. Most judges will refuse to accept guilty pleas unless you have received counsel and are aware of all of the possible consequences in addition to jail and fines.
  5. Tougher if I get an attorney? - No, judges are prohibited from punishing you for asserting your constitutional rights, including representation and trial.
  6. How long? - Courts are supposed to complete DUI cases in no more than 90 days from your first appearance in court and will initially be scheduled for trial in about 85 days. It is difficult to get them scheduled more quickly. In fact, most cases are extended by agreement and take 4 - 6 months to complete.
  7. Jail necessary? - If you are convicted, the judge must impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least 24 hours, more if you have an earlier conviction or a high alcohol level. Some municipal judges allow for work crew or other alternatives but those are seldom allowed in state courts.
  8. Suspension necessary? - If you are convicted, your drivers license will be suspended for at least 90 days, or as much as 4 years, depending on your past record. This is in addition to the Department of Licensing suspension that is already pending.
  9. Work license? - Occupational, or work permits, are for limited times and areas, and only available for reckless driving charges. After January 1, 2009, it is possible to obtain a new ignition interlock license (IIL) for everyone, except those convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide. Occupation or IID licenses will not allow for CDL reinstatement.
  10. Avoid completely? - Admitted alcoholics are allowed a one-time alcohol treatment program called deferred prosecution. If they complete 5 years of total abstinence, including at least 2 years of successful counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, their DUI is dismissed without jail, fine or license suspension.
  11. DUI cost? - DUIs are extremely expensive and cost from $3,851.00 to $22,461.00, depending on your past record and level of intoxication. This does not include lost wages, attorney fees or costs you may not think of, such as inability to travel internationally or the added difficulty of renting, obtaining credit or finding employment.
  12. CDL? - Commercial drivers no longer get the benefit of a separate record for their commercial driving. DUIs always cost a commercial driver his/her license even if stopped while driving a private vehicle. Many of the plea bargains and programs such as deferred prosecution will still cause the suspension of a commercial license even though they save your personal drivers license.
  13. .08? - The amount of alcohol required to produce an illegal concentration of .08 may be specifically calculated and depends upon your sex and body weight. However, calculating breath alcohol levels relying merely upon the number of drinks necessary to reach a .08 level also depends upon your metabolism, what you have eaten, the strength of the drinks, etc. [click here for male BAC chart] [click here for female BAC chart]
  14. EHM? - Electronic Home Monitoring is an alternative to part of the required jail sentence in DUIs. You wear an ankle bracelet which confirms that you are at home on weekends, evenings and when you are not working on weekdays. The cost is usually $5 to $25 per day, paid in advance.
  15. IID? - Ignition Interlock Devices are the breath testing devices that keep your car from starting if alcohol is detected in your system. They are required for one, five or ten years for every driver convicted of DUI or entering a deferred prosecution program. The cost is typically $85 per month, paid at least two months in advance.
  16. Under 21? - If you are under twenty-one years old, the law lowers the legal breath level of intoxication to .02 grams per 210 liters of breath. In reality, this represents zero tolerance and provides for conviction with license suspension even when the level of alcohol is not sufficient to produce "intoxication." It recognizes that minors are legally prohibited from drinking any alcohol. This kind of conviction can affect your life for many years.
  17. Canada Travel? - Conviction of any charge considered serious under Canadian immigration law makes you unacceptable to cross the border. For years, this type of disqualification was not enforced by Canadian border guards; however, since 9/11, the rule is regularly being enforced and I predict that a DUI conviction will always prevent you from traveling to Canada in the near future.

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