It happened and you can’t believe it. You just got pulled over for a DUI. Your mind is churning, your pulse is jacked, and a thousand and one negative thoughts are storming through your brain. What’s going to happen? Will you go to jail? Will your DUI arrest ruin your life?
How about fines and insurance rates? What happens to your driver’s license after you lose the temporary license? What about your livelihood and reputation?
As most people know, DUI arrests can be life changing. If DUI charges turn into a DUI conviction, then what? How bad can it get?
If you’re nervous, scared, and confused after an arrest, don’t feel alone. Take a deep breath and calm your mind.
There are many things to do following an arrest before your DUI case even starts moving forward. Remember: you are not a lawyer. You are not expected to know the ins and outs of DUI laws.
That’s why the first thing you should do is contact an experienced DUI attorney.
Be Smart – What to Do After a DUI Arrest
The moment the police officer informs you that you’re under arrest for a DUI, you need to take control. No matter how intoxicated you may be, you mustn’t act rashly or irrationally. Be calm, and polite, but don’t tell the police officers anything.
You may incriminate yourself without even knowing it. The last thing you want is to tack on something else to your DUI charge. Remember, the average DUI is a misdemeanor offense, but in some cases, a felony may be placed on your criminal record.
Here are some important things you need to do immediately, once you have been arrested for a DUI. These steps include finding a general attorney, recording important factors mentioned in paperwork, gathering evidence, and other critical measures of criminal defense.
The following article outlines what you should do following your drunk driving arrest.
Make a Record of Your Arrest
A detailed record of what happened from the moment you were pulled over to the moment you leave jail is crucial. Not only is it useful to a knowledgeable DUI attorney, but it will also help reinvigorate your memory.
You should start this record as soon as you’re released from jail.
Important aspects of this written or audio record include the circumstances of the police officer’s encounter and interaction. What did the officer tell you? What was the reasoning for any suspicion? What was said and asked by the officer? What did the law enforcement officer have you do or not do?
What chemical tests or field sobriety tests did you do? Were you forced or asked? Try to remember every detail, from the frequency of tests, the demeanor and approach of the law enforcement officer, and what you were asked or forced to do at the scene of the drunk driving arrest as well as while at the police station.
All of this information should be presented to an experienced attorney. Many drunk driving attorneys may provide a free case review or free initial consultation. Contact them to find out.
Seek Witness Testimony
Your record may include information about your arrest and police station experience, but other critical aspects should also remain high on your list. You should establish the background. Were you coming from a bar, a friend or family’s house, a cookout, or some other event? Who were you with and what do they know?
Witnesses may be able to attest to your level of sobriety, which may be able to support or contest your blood alcohol level or chemical test result. Make sure to contact pertinent individuals about your alcohol consumption that day or any unique circumstances related to your DUI case.
Witness testimony may serve a vital role in your court appearance and help lessen or drop DUI charges, whether you face high court costs and jail time, or simply a slap on the wrist for a first DUI.
Also, be sure to consider other information that may corroborate your case at the hearing or court date.
Aggregate DUI Arrest Evidence
Witnesses are certainly helpful, but other information may help your case even more. Do yourself and your future a favor. Make contact with the bar or restaurant where you may have been drinking. Find your receipt to prove how much alcohol you may have consumed.
Were there cameras that caught you consuming alcohol? Did you seem sober? Does it undermine charges of substance abuse?
What if there is something wrong with your car that caused it to drive unsteadily or swerve? What was the street surface or weather like?
Beyond how much alcohol you may have consumed, other forms of information can help determine the favorable outcome of your case. Before you plead guilty, before you lose your driving privileges, before you face probationary periods, consult an attorney about any available information.
With the help of a top DUI lawyer, you can make the most of your criminal defense. Don’t rely on other attorneys. Contact an attorney who specializes in this unique area of law.
Request a Hearing About Your Driver’s License
There are typically two DUI cases that you may face following your DUI charge. One is an administrative hearing, and another is a criminal court proceeding where criminal charges may be presented.
Sometimes, a DUI conviction may lead to just hefty fines and insurance premiums. Other times, you may have to serve jail time, complete hundreds of community service hours, and undergo substance abuse rehabilitation. You may even need an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
Before you go to court for any criminal charges, however, you can make headwinds with a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing. Remember, you have a temporary license that will only last so long. You typically have just 30 days before your driver’s license suspension is enacted.
Scheduling a DMV Hearing After a DUI Arrest
This is why you need to request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the day you were arrested. This is your best way to prevent driver’s license suspension or potentially receive a restricted license.
A so-called hardship license is granted in circumstances where you can’t miss work, medical appointments, or other important obligations. To receive it, you need to prove that public transportation alone cannot allow you to meet your important obligations.
This restricted license allows you to drive at certain times for certain reasons only. Although it’s not ideal, it’s better than having your license completely revoked.
The last thing you want is to automatically lose your license. Consult with an attorney or law firm to prevent this automatic suspension.
Find a Top DUI Attorney Who Knows the Legal System
If it’s your first DUI or first offense of any kind, your penalties may be far less severe than if you are a repeat offender. But not always. Many factors affect the outcome, including your blood alcohol concentration, your behavior, other charges against you, and the area and state in which it occurred.
Fortunately, good attorneys will know what to do. Experienced DUI attorneys have seen it all and will immediately look to get the charges dropped or minimized based on technicalities.
In some cases, you may have been arrested based on faulty breath readings. You may have not been Mirandized when you were arrested. Perhaps, the police officer behaved unlawfully. In some cases, the chemical test was improperly conducted, or the sample improperly stored.
You must share all relevant details with your attorney or lawyer.
Using the DUI Attorney-Client Relationship for Your Benefit
At the end of the day, your attorney or lawyer can carefully examine all aspects of the case, do the necessary prep work, and help you build the best defense possible.
Look through attorney advertising, listen to word of mouth, and do your research. You want a top-tier lawyer whose attorney-client relationship you can trust.
Whether you’ve already been convicted and are worried about posting bail, or are just beginning your administrative and criminal proceedings, you need a lawyer who can make the most of your legal defense.
Don’t rely on mediocre legal minds or inexperienced DUI attorneys who fall short. Hire the best for the best results.