You just got home from a very late night that involved one too many glasses of wine, and an unexpected stop at the police station.  Luckily you had a sober friend who could pick you up from the station, so you got to sleep it off in your own bed.  You now have several forms in your pocket that you are not sure what to do with, and a court date.  Great.  But what does all this mean in the “real world?”

Fourth Degree DWI / DUI

If this is the very first time you have been issued a citation / ticket for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI / DUI), and there are no “aggravating factors” present, it is considered a Fourth Degree, misdemeanor level offense.  Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days as soon as the official test results are obtained.  If you took an Intoxilyzer (breath) test at the police station, your license will likely be suspended that night.  If you provided a blood or urine sample, the results will not be available for some weeks and you will receive notice of the suspension in the mail.  If you plead guilty to the charge before the 90 day suspension ends, the suspension period will be shortened to as little as 30 days. 

The maximum possible criminal penalty for a misdemeanor level DWI / DUI is a $1,000.00 fine and/or 90 days in jail, though jail time is not usually imposed for a first time DWI / DUI.  If convicted, in addition to suffering the license suspension and paying a fine, you will also have to complete a chemical use assessment and follow any recommendations it makes.  You will be on probation for two years, though it is not typically the type of supervised probation where you are required to meet with a probation officer on a regular basis. 

There are very important, very short, deadlines which must be met if you want to challenge the license suspension.  For this reason, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible so that she / he can provide you with legal advice regarding your best course of action.