The answer to the question posed in the title of this page depends on four factors:
1) the nature of the offense,
2) the circumstances of the events surrounding the offense,
3) the state in which the offense occurs, and
4) your driving record or history. As an example, speeding isn’t a driving offense that usually results in an arrest or going to jail.
If, however, you were speeding and you caused an accident resulting in serious injuries to another, you chances of going to jail are substantially increased.
Offenses that Usually Result in Arrest and Jail
No matter where you are, and regardless of the circumstances, the following offenses will usually result in your arrest and at least a few hours jail while you wait for someone to post bail or wait your turn to go before a judge for a preliminary hearing. Depending on the specifics of your arrest, you will most likely need to contact a lawyer to arrange your defense if you are later brought to trial.
- Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide
Depending on where an accident occurs, if you were involved in an accident where someone was killed, you almost certainly will be charged with manslaughter or vehicular homicide. Since these charges are felonies, you will probably have to wait until you enter a plea at a preliminary hearing before a judge will set your bail.
- DUI / DWI (Second offense or more)
Given the low tolerance that the public has for DUI / DWI, a second offense of driving under the influence or driving while impaired will also earn you a few hours in jail while you wait to see a judge. Again, depending on your location, you can also expect your driver’s license will be immediately suspended and that your car will be impounded or even confiscated.
You should also be aware that in many states a second arrest on a driving under the influence / while intoxicated puts you at risk of an automatic jail sentence.
- DUI / DWI (First offense)
A first offense driving under the influence / while impaired arrest will usually allow you to post bail without having to see a judge but, in many states, your license is automatically suspended until your case moves through the courts. You also face having your car impounded.
All states have an “implied consent” law, which means that if you refuse to take a breath or blood test that has been requested by a police officer it means that your license is immediately revoked. In some states, a refusal is also considered the same as a positive alcohol test and leads to an automatic license suspension or revocation.
- Multiple Outstanding Traffic Tickets or Failure to Appear
In most cases if you fail to appear in a traffic or some similar court, the judge will enter a guilty plea on your behalf and order your bail forfeited. If you were given a court appearance date and you didn’t show up as ordered, the court could order your license to be suspended and a warrant for your arrest could be issued.
All of the above arrests place you at risk of losing your driver’s license, your car, and your freedom! It is strongly advised that you contact an experience Florida DUI lawyer that is familiar with the traffic laws of your state as well as the sentencing habits of the local courts to handle your defense if you are arrested on any of the charges mentioned above.