Being arrested for a DUI can be a life-changing event, especially for those who have never been in trouble before. However, the key to getting through this tough time is all in how you deal with the aftermath.
Most people who are facing a court hearing for the first time in their lives have no idea what to do. In fact, many people tend to avoid the situation in hopes it will disappear, or just let it play out and face the consequences as they are handed down.
However, neither of these options is a good idea.
Let’s look at 5 crucial things you should do immediately following a DUI arrest to protect yourself from receiving the stiffest penalties possible.
1. Utilize Your Rights
Anyone who is arrested in the United States is entitled to the right to remain silent. In fact, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You are also entitled to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
If you are arrested under suspicion of a DUI, keep quiet. Never admit that you were drinking to the arresting officer, to anyone in the jail you may come in contact with (other inmates included), or the person that picks you up from jail the next morning.
2. Write Everything Down
As soon as you get home from your night in jail, jot down every single detail you can remember from the night before. This is important because 30 days from now when you are being questioned in court, you will quickly find your memory is hazy when it comes to specifics.
Write down things like:
- When and where you were arrested
- The reason for being pulled over
- Whether you participated in field sobriety tests
- What questions the arresting officer asked you
Do this as soon as possible so you don’t forget anything. And, make sure you bring these notes to your attorney during your first consultation.
3. Gather Witnesses
When you attend your first court hearing, it is likely you will have the opportunity to present witnesses to help shape your defense. Talk to family, friends, and even acquaintances that may have seen you right before, after, or even during your traffic stop. Sometimes a solid character defense can help lessen the punishment you receive from the judge.
4. Hire an Attorney
Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney that works for a DUI law firm is going to give you the best chances of minimizing the penalties that come with a DUI conviction.
DUI cases are tough to defend, though it is not impossible for you to win. A knowledgeable DUI attorney with a proven track record, and a passion for defending those charged with DUIs, can help you negotiate the best possible outcome for your case.
5. Cut Yourself a Break
A DUI conviction looming over your head can weigh heavily in your personal life. Though self-doubt might creep in, especially if getting into legal trouble is not something you have experienced before, know that in the end everything will work out. Learn from your mistake and move forward. It’s the best thing anyone facing DUI charges can do.