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Tips for Dealing with a DUI Charge

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Being charged with a DUI can be extremely scary and frightening. But it doesn’t matter how intimidating the experience is – you still have to deal with the consequences. Knowing what to say and do – and what not to say and do – can be a key factor in limiting the consequences you face.

1. Understand the DUI Laws in Your State

Every state has its own set of laws and penalties regarding DUI charges. The first step after being charged is to educate yourself about these laws. You need to know the severity of what you’re facing, including all possible outcomes.

Understanding the specific consequences you could be facing, such as fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education classes, or even jail time, is crucial. This knowledge will help you grasp the severity of the charge and what’s at stake. Once you have this understanding, you’ll feel motivated to pursue the right defense.

2. Choose the Right DUI Attorney

Selecting an attorney who specializes in DUI cases can make a significant difference in how your case is handled and its ultimate outcome. Look for a lawyer with extensive experience in dealing with DUI cases, particularly someone familiar with the local court system and judges. 

good DUI lawyer will have a track record of negotiating favorable outcomes for their clients, such as reduced penalties or even getting charges dropped altogether under certain circumstances. They won’t have a 100 percent success rate – as this is impossible – but they’ll show a penchant for being able to achieve positive outcomes.

When choosing a lawyer, consider the following:

Specialization: Ensure the lawyer specializes in DUI law. You want someone who does this for a living and doesn’t split their time practicing five other types of law.

  • Experience: Look for a lawyer who has handled numerous DUI cases similar to yours. Consider the specific circumstances of your case and ask if they’ve handled cases that involve similar factors.
  • Reputation: Check reviews and seek personal referrals. There are plenty of resources online that allow you to research an attorney’s professional track record and accreditations.
  • Success Rate: Ask about their success in previous cases, especially those that went to trial. While many DUI cases get settled, you have to be prepared for the possibility that your case goes to trial.

3. Document Everything

From the moment of your arrest, start documenting everything related to your DUI charge. Take note of the events leading up to your arrest, the behavior of the arresting officer, what was said during your arrest, and any tests (like breathalyzer or field sobriety tests) you were subjected to. 

Your lawyer is going to work with you to find ways to pick apart your DUI charge. Sometimes, things like discrepancies or procedural errors can be used to your advantage. The more detailed and perceptive you are in remembering key information, the better.

4. Stay Silent About Your Case

Avoid discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in court. This includes posts on social media, discussions with friends, or conversations with family. 

Keep all communications about your case between you and your lawyer. Even doing something that seems private – like sending a social media DM to a friend – can actually end up costing you. Depending on the circumstances, it’s possible for law enforcement to access your private DMs and messages. The best thing you can do is stay silent.

5. Prepare for Court

Your attorney will guide you through the process of preparing for your initial court appearance and any subsequent proceedings. This may involve gathering further evidence, lining up witnesses, or preparing statements. 

It’s important to follow your attorney’s advice closely and make any necessary appearances in court as required. While you’re ultimately being judged based on the details of your case, how you handle yourself throughout the process will have some influence over the details of your settlement or ruling.

Consider Your Options

When it comes down to it, it’s important that you discuss all available options with your attorney. Depending on the circumstances of your case and your prior history, you might be able to plea bargain for lesser charges or enter into a diversion program if it’s your first offense. Understanding all possible outcomes will help you make more informed decisions about how to proceed.