So you made the mistake of getting into your vehicle after one too many glasses of merlot. You thought you would be fine to make it home, which was just around the corner from the restaurant, but you were stopped by the police. Much to your surprise – and horror – you were arrested for a DUI.
While no one wants to experience the above situation, it does happen, and more often than you might think. No matter the circumstances, no one should get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, an arrest can occur, whether you felt intoxicated or not. No matter what circumstances led to your arrest, a DUI charge is a serious offense.
If found guilty of drunk driving, you may experience jail time, large fines, probation, suspension of your license, increased insurance rates, and embarrassment. Not to mention the stress it could cause on your finances, your ability to travel internationally, and your employment eligibilities. However, all that is not to say you can’t come out unscathed on the other end of drunk driving charge.
We understand that this is an emotional and stressful time in your life. When you understand what to do and what not to do after being charged with a DUI, you will better be able to prepare. Plus, when you opt for the right legal advice, you can strive for the best possible outcome. So, don’t panic, and follow these DUI dos and don’ts.
- Do write down everything about your arrest.
One of the every first things that will help you build your defense is writing every single detail down about your arrest. While it may be hard to remember, it is highly important that you record every detail that you can. This includes aspects of the arrest that you may not think are important. When you go to court, the judge will focus on several key elements, such as:
- The way you were driving when you pulled over and why you were pulled over
- Your appearance and actions during the arresting officer’s questions and testing
- The test result of your field sobriety test and/or chemical blood test
- To further help you write down all the details, do ask yourself these important questions:
- Do you remember the time when you were pulled over?
- Was anyone else in the car? If so, who?
- What questions did the police ask you, and how did you answer?
- Do you remember the name and number of the officer(s) who spoke and interacted with you before, during, and after the DUI arrest?
- How did you do on the field sobriety test? What did the officer say?
- When you were arrested, what did the officer do and say?
- Do you remember the exact time of the arrest?
- Where and what time did you submit to the chemical blood or breath tests? Which test? How many breath samples, if it was a breath test?
- Did you speak to anyone while in police custody? Do you remember who and what you said?
- What prescription drugs or other over-the-counter drugs had you taken the day you were arrested? When did you take them and in what quantity?
- Did you at any time ask for a lawyer? When and what was the response by the police officer?
- You are innocent until proven guilty – do remember this.
It’s easy to forget this, but even with results from a field sobriety test or BAC test, you have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, many times, people don’t even realize that they innocent. Don’t lose focus and be sure to research reputable lawyers in your area to defend your case.
- Do hire only qualified and experienced DUI attorneys.
While it will be vital for you to use a lawyer, you have to make sure he or she is qualified and has experience in the DUI field. You might think all lawyers are the same, but this is hardly the case. When dealing with the law, every aspect is different, and you want an attorney who practices DUI laws with clients every day. This way, you know you are represented in the best light possible.
- Do reach out to the DMV.
It is always a good idea to contact the DMV to prevent your license from being suspended. You can prevent a suspension of your license by requesting a DMV administrative hearing. This hearing can occur months from the date of the arrest, which means you can keep your license and the legal right to drive in the meantime.
- Don’t discuss your arrest with others.
In no way should you discuss your arrest and DUI charges with friends, colleagues, or anyone else. Discussing your arrest with coworkers can have a negative impact on your job. Discussing it with friends/family can lead to stress. If your boss or anyone else needs information, refer them to your lawyer.
- Don’t talk to police officers without your lawyer.
If for any reason the police need to contact you and ask questions after your arrest, you should always talk to them only with your lawyer present. If you are approached by the police, politely decline, and offer the contact info of your attorney.
- Don’t drive on a suspended license.
Chances are you will experience a suspension of your license whether you are found guilty of the DUI or not. Whatever you do, don’t drive on a revoked or suspended license. If you are caught, you will suffer serous consequences. More importantly, if you are caught doing this before your DUI trial, it can seriously and negatively affect the outcome.
- Don’t drink and drive.
Save yourself a world of trouble, and abstain from dinking and driving. This is the only way you can completely avoid a DUI arrest. While it is always important to rely on a designated driver, it is even more so after your first charge. A second offense only gets more expensive and stressful, and it becomes harder to prove your innocence.