What To Do When Charged With A DUI
You’ve just been arrested for driving under influence. What happens now? Drunk driving penalties, policies and procedures differ from state to state. Advocacy groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving have helped all 50 states pass increased and consistent penalties and consequences in an effort to deter people from driving drunk and to encourage drivers to call for rides home. Knowing the next steps in the legal process will help you get your life back on track without exacerbating the situation.
Write Everything Down
Once you’re released from police custody, take notes of what you remember about the night. The more detailed your notes are, the easier it will be for your attorney to fight your charges. Write down everything that you can think of, even if it doesn’t strike you as relevant. Here are a few questions to answer with your notes:
- Where were you and what were you doing before you started driving?
- How much did you drink?
- How long were you driving before you were arrested?
- Where were you pulled over and what reason did the officer provide to you for pulling you over?
- What was the officer’s behavior and what instructions were you given?
- What did you say to the officer?
- When were you read your Miranda rights?
- Which field sobriety exercises or BAC tests did you take? (blood, urine, or breath?)
- How long after your last drink did you take it?
Contact An Attorney
You’ll need an experienced DUI defense attorney who will fight for your rights. It’s the single most important thing you can do for yourself. Make sure your lawyer has extensive experience practicing and representing persons charged with DUI. Find out if he will personally handle your case and keep you informed of any challenges or developments.
Report To Court
Show up to your court date on time to avoid any further legal trouble. Most states require a DUI offender to appear in court within 30 days of the arrest.
Receive & Carry Out Your Punishment
If you’re convicted, you can be sentenced to a variety of punishments like fines, classes, probation, revocation or restriction of your license and even incarceration. The extent of your punishment will reflect the severity of your offense. In order to fulfill your conviction and get your license back, you must abide by the judge’s ruling.
Make Sure You’re Still Insured
Your insurance company will most likely terminate your policy if you are convicted of a DUI. In addition to finding a new policy, you will also have to file an SR-22. You will have to carry it for a minimum of three years and will serve as proof that you have the proper amount of insurance required by your state. If you still have your driver’s license—even a temporary license to get you to and from work—and your policy lapses, your insurance carrier will notify your state and it will likely result in the suspension of your license.
Should you find yourself facing a DUI charge, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. at 407.645.2195 for a free consultation.