When it comes to DUIs, you may first think about state laws. All states have laws regarding how they handle DUI charges. However, DUIs can also be charged federally. State and federal DUI cases are handled somewhat differently. The following are some things you should know about federally charged DUIs.
Where Do Federal DUIs Occur?
Federal DUIs occur when someone is arrested for DUI on federal land or on any property owned by the federal government. Examples of federal land or property include a courthouse, national parks or forests, military installations, federal airports, or any government parking lot. If you are driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 on federal property, you can be arrested.
How Is a Federal DUI Different From a State DUI?
Other than the site of the DUI, a federal DUI is also different from a state-charged DUI in other ways. A federal DUI is charged in the federal court system. The judicial proceeding for a federal DUI begins in the United States Federal District Court.
The judicial process is similar to what you might expect in a state court. The process begins with arraignment in which the defendant can offer a defense to the DUI charge. The federal judge will evaluate the evidence and render a final decision.
Unlike with state cases, federal cases have no jury. The judge in your case will evaluate the arguments as well as all the evidence for and against the charge to decide whether or not federal DUI law was violated.
This is often a drawback of a federal DUI case. In state DUI cases, the jury may be more sympathetic to a driver and his or her position. However, a single judge has the final say as to what happens, and the accused may not be able to appeal sympathetically to a judge.
How Is a Federal DUI Penalized?
A federal DUI is typically considered a misdemeanor, but the charged can be increased in some circumstances. Increases in the penalty include cases in which the driver was egregiously over the legal limit of blood alcohol, was driving with a child in the vehicle, or has prior DUI convictions.
When someone drives under the influence on federal property, they do so under the law of implied consent. Implied consent means the driver must submit evidence for a chemical test. A chemical test can be a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test to test blood alcohol content.
If the driver refuses the chemical test after the arrest, they face a misdemeanor within the Code of Federal Regulations. If they choose not to take a chemical test, they could also lose their driving privileges on federal land for up to a year.
If the driver is convicted of a federal DUI charge, they can face time in jail, probation, fines, and educational courses about alcohol safety.
Those who serve in the military and are charged with a federal DUI can also face other penalties, such as a demotion, a letter of reprimand, and even dismissal from the military altogether. The severity of the charges will ultimately determine the penalty.
What Type of Attorney Should You Hire?
If you are arrested for a federal DUI, you should consider hiring a DUI defense attorney. A DUI attorney can help you navigate this complex process. You especially need a DUI attorney if you are a military member who was arrested for a federal DUI. Your DUI attorney should understand both Illinois state law and federal law.
If you find yourself in a position in which you are arrested for a DUI on federal property, please contact us at Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC.