Nothing can be more intimidating than seeing those red and blue flashing lights behind you while driving. Those feelings can be exasperated when you know you have been drinking before getting behind the wheel. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, it means that you risked the safety and health of yourself and others because you were driving intoxicated. This type of charge can have serious consequences in your life.
It is important to follow certain steps after getting arrested and charged with a DUI offense to keep matters from getting worse. Below are some tips to take into consideration after a first DUI offense.
- Keep Records
From the start, it is important to keep records of everything that happens. As soon as your arrest happens and you can catch your breath, write down everything you remember during the process. The sooner you write down information, the more likely you will be able to recall it. Small details that may seem insignificant now could be important down the road. Some crucial details that you should write down include the following:
- Where the officer pulls you over at.
- What time were you pulled over?
- Details regarding tests the police administered on you or had you complete.
- Key specifics about the conversations you had with the police officers.
- Elements that seemed unusual during your arrest.
- Any other details you may think are pertinent to the situation.
- Contact DUI Defense Attorney
If you plan on trying to contest the DUI charges, you should seriously consider hiring a reputable DUI defense attorney. Even if you plan to plead guilty, an experienced attorney should be by your side to ensure your rights are protected. A benefit of hiring an attorney is that you will have someone to explain all options available to you based on your charges.
- Go Private Online
When fighting a DUI case, the state will try to find information about you to build their case with. They will look online through your social media profiles to try and find ammunition they will use against you during the case. Even if something in your profile doesn’t pertain to the night you were arrested or a DUI, they may take things out of context to try and ruin your character. Do not talk about your arrest or your charges before the trial is over, and set all of your profiles to private or delete them.
- Don’t Miss Court Appearances
It is crucial not to miss any court dates your lawyer tells you about. Be sure you are on time and dressed appropriately in courtroom attire. Do not wear baggy clothing, show excessive skin or sandals and flip-flops. Be groomed and compose yourself accordingly. If you have loved ones or friends accompanying you to your court date, be sure they are composed and groomed as well. Remember to be polite and do not speak out of turn, act angry or make obscene gestures. You’re trying to make a good impression of yourself with the judge.
- Accept Consequences
Even if you have the best attorney, you may still get punishment for your first DUI offense. Some punishments you may receive are fines, community service hours, probation, time in prison, loss of license and more.
- Get License Reinstated
Once you have fulfilled all of your penalties and paid your fees and fines, it is time to get your license back and rebuild your life. In most cases, you will lose your license for up to 180 days. If you need to drive to work, you may be able to apply for a hardship license in the meantime.
- Obtaining Car Insurance
A DUI offense may cause your car insurance rates to increase. Once your trial has been completed, it may be best to search around for a new insurance company if your current one denied your coverage due to the arrest and DUI charge. Some insurance companies specialize in helping DUI offenders.
Following a DUI arrest, you may feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It is important to remain focused on getting your life back together and accepting any penalties.