What You Should Do After Getting A DUI
If you were recently pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you now have a DUI on your record. It is important to follow the right steps next to see if you have a possible defense and get the lowest sentence possible. Here are some things you should do after being arrested for a DUI.
Get a Good DUI Defense Lawyer
You should always start by finding a lawyer that specializes in DUI and DWI cases. While many people do decide to represent themselves when they get a DUI, it is highly recommended that you have legal counsel. It is possible that your case won't get past the hearing and you will never appear in court, but a lawyer can do more that just represent you in court. They can provide legal advice, decide if there is a defense you can use, and help you enter a plea deal where your sentence is lessened.
Know What Defenses You Can Use
It is possible that there are some defenses you are able to use that might either excuse the DUI entirely or lessen the sentence. With the right DUI defense, you may be able to avoid jail time, and instead pay fines. There are many different defenses, but a common one to use is when you had to get behind the wheel due to an emergency. Perhaps the person who was your designated driver was in the back seat and you were driving because they became severely ill while on the road, and you needed to bring them to the hospital. You might be able to use duress as a defense, which means you had to drive to avoid serious injury. If you did not know you were intoxicated because someone gave you an alcoholic drink without your knowledge, that might be a defense to use as well.
Prepare For Your Hearing
Once you have a lawyer and have considered the defenses you can use, you will then need to prepare for your haring. Make sure you or your lawyer requests the hearing within a certain period of time after the arrest. The court should give you information about what the length of time is to request a hearing, since it varies based on where you live. You are also able to review the police report, which can help you when getting ready for your defense. If you are using a lawyer, you might be given the option to try entering a plea deal. However, you can't do a plea bargain if representing yourself.
After the hearing, you will know what your fees are and what the sentence is. You will likely have a suspended driver's license and might need to attend alcohol and drug treatment classes. Some jail time might also be required, depending on the circumstances of the DUI arrest.