“I got a DUI,” is probably not the best news to tell your friends and family, but it happens. In fact, 1.5 million people get pulled over and arrested for DUIs every year.
Now that you got a DUI, you’ll have to figure out what to do next.
Is there where you are right now – trying to figure out what to do next?
If so, continue reading this guide to determine what you must do after getting arrested for a DUI charge.
Follow the Orders of the Arresting Officer
If you’re reading this before getting a DUI, you must understand how to handle a DUI while the police stop takes place. The best advice to follow during a DUI stop is to do what the officer asks you to do.
A police officer will not arrest you without proper cause. Therefore, the officer may ask you to complete a field sobriety test. If so, follow these orders and instructions.
If the officer asks you to take a breathalyzer, take one. It’s often better to take one right away rather than wait. When you consume alcohol, it takes time for it to reach your bloodstream.
If you wait to take a breathalyzer, you’re giving yourself more time for the alcohol to get into your bloodstream. You might register higher than you would have if you had taken it right away.
Failing to abide by the instructions the officer gives can result in further problems with your case, charges, and arrest.
Find a Way to Get out of Jail
When the officer decides to arrest you, he or she will transport you to the local jail. Once you are there, you may have to stay for a specific length of time before they will release you.
During this time, you can start working on finding a way out, though. Getting out of jail is almost always an option after a DUI by paying bail.
To pay your bail, you’ll need cash. You will need enough money to pay the bail amount yourself, or you will need cash to pay the fee for a bail bond agent.
You’ll need less cash if you use a bail bond agent, but either way, you will still need some money to get released.
At this point, you might still be wondering what to do when you get a DUI. The best thing to do is work on getting out of jail so you can work on fighting your charges.
Call a Criminal Law Firm
While you are working on your bail, or shortly after your release, you must start your search for a DWI lawyer. You cannot face these charges without one unless you don’t care what the results are for your case.
As you look for a lawyer to hire, you should know what features and qualities to find in an attorney. Here are the primary attributes to examine and evaluate as you search for an attorney to hire:
Feel free to interview a few different lawyers to find the right one for your case.
Attend Your Arraignment Hearing
The next thing you must do is go to court. Shortly after your arrest, the court will schedule a hearing for the matter. Courts call this an arraignment hearing, and this hearing serves several purposes:
You should expect this hearing to occur within a few days of the incident, and you must show up for it.
If you are still in jail, the jail will transport you to the courthouse for the hearing. If you were released already, you are responsible for getting yourself there on time.
Work on Getting Your Driver’s License Back
After a DUI takes place, the court will typically suspend the defendant’s driver’s license. This suspension is not permanent in most cases, but it may last for weeks or months. It can even last for years if you do nothing about it.
If you have a clean record and have never had a DUI in the past, you can most likely get your driving privileges back quickly. You must complete a process to do this, though.
Your lawyer will assist you in this process if you wish to get your license back. It may involve attending a court hearing for the matter, but this is often a necessary step in the process.
Until the court approves your request for the suspension to end, you should not drive. You will not have a valid license during this time, and if you get caught driving without a license, you’ll face further problems.
Consider Contesting the Charges
At this point, you might also want to consider contesting the charges you face. Contesting the charges offers a way to get the charges dropped through the legal system. This option is not always a good idea, but it can be in some cases.
If, for example, the arresting officer forgot to read your rights, you may want to contest it. If the officer did not follow the protocol for the arrest, you might also have enough evidence to contest the charges.
If you tested over the legal limit of 0.08%, was it because the officer waited too long to test you? If so, your lawyer might believe that you have a good chance of winning if you contest it.
Determine a Strategy for Your Case
Challenging a case is not always the best option, as it requires proving fault through the evidence you have. Therefore, you will probably have to face the charges by determining a strategy.
A strategy might involve your lawyer negotiating for a plea bargain on your behalf. If the court offers a plea bargain, you’ll have an excellent way to settle the case without a trial.
Before you accept or reject a plea bargain, discuss it with your lawyer. Find out the pros and cons of both choices and weigh them. Comparing the pros and cons will help you choose the best option for your situation.
Here are some of the pros of accepting a plea bargain:
If the court is unwilling to negotiate with a plea bargain, your lawyer will determine a different strategy to use to fight for you. The purpose of developing a strategy is to help you get the best results possible from your case.
Follow Through With All the Requirements and Consequences
The last thing you must do when facing a DUI charge is follow through with all the requirements and consequences. If you have a court hearing for the case, you must attend. If you skip one, you’ll face further consequences.
Once you settle your case, you will no longer have to go to court unless you fail to follow through with the requirements you have. Therefore, you must complete the steps the court requires.
An example of a consequence you may have is paying fines. If you must pay fines as a consequence of the crime, you should pay them as soon as possible.
Another consequence you may face is community service. If the court asks you to complete 25 hours of community service, you’ll need to complete this requirement.
You might face additional consequences, too, including serving jail time or completing an alcohol counseling course.
“I Got a DUI” Your Next Steps
Educating yourself with the criminal law process is a helpful step to take, too. You can do this by reading our blogs or by talking to a criminal law firm.
“I got a DUI,” might not be the best news you have this year, but it is something you can settle with the right attorney by your side.
Check out our blog to learn more about what you should do after getting a DUI.