If you are arrested for a DUI, it’s important to hire a skilled lawyer as soon as possible. That’s because proper representation in the courtroom can make the difference between being convicted as charged and dropped or reduced charges. Here are the most important steps to take immediately after being arrested for DUI:
1. You Have the Right To Remain Silent
As soon as you are arrested, anything that you say can and will be used against you in court. However, you have the right to remain silent. Therefore, you should not agree to be questioned without an attorney present. However, refusing a drug test or breathalyzer is ill-advised.
In many states, refusing a drug test or breathalyzer is a crime in and of itself, which can result in fines and license suspension. However, some states make a distinction between mobile breathalyzer tests administered in the field and tests administered post-arrest. Refusal of tests administered post-arrest comes with significantly more severe penalties in these states.
2. Choose an Attorney
Ideally, you should hire an attorney who specializes in DUI cases. However, even if you do not have funds to hire a lawyer, you’ll still have access to legal representation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re seeking out legal help after a DUI:
- If possible, talk to past clients. This can be a great way to get an idea of how they’re likely to handle your case.
- Read online reviews that were written by people who also were charged with a DUI.
- Schedule a free consultation with any lawyer you’re considering.
That’s because anyone charged with a crime in the United States has the right to legal representation. If you cannot afford a lawyer, your case will be assigned to a public defender in your area.
3. Review All Documents Related to Your Arrest
It’s important to look over all documents related to your arrest with your attorney. This will help to ensure that your lawyer will be able to present the best possible case when you go to court.
4. Ask for a License Suspension Hearing
In some states, your license is suspended if you are arrested for a DUI. However, you may be able to have this initial suspension overturned at a license suspension hearing. Though, you’ll need to request one.
5. Obtain All Evidence Related to Your Case
Your lawyer will be able to obtain all evidence related to your case, such as police video, breathalyzer and drug test results, and documents related to your arrest. This will allow your lawyer to more effectively present your case in the courtroom.
Not only does this include evidence that the police currently have access to, but it also includes information that they may not have. For instance, testimony of a person who is likely to be neutral to your case or security camera footage may be beneficial to your case.
6. Familiarize Yourself With the Local Courts
While DUI laws are state-specific rather than region-specific, the specific location that you were charged is important. That’s because different local judges and prosecutors approach these cases differently. Luckily, an attorney in your area will be familiar with the ins and outs of your local court system.
In some regions, first-time offenders are typically offered a plea deal, which may lead to reduced charges and/or no jail time. However, the specific nature of the plea deal that’s offered will depend on your specific court system.