DUI refers to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although consumption of alcohol is the most common cause, some people get behind the wheel while under the influence of narcotics or medicine. The most common term is driving under the influence (DUI), however, other states use DUI, DWI, OUI, or OUI. There are many different names, but they all relate to the same thing. If convicted, you might lose your driving license for a few months and face a fine of several hundred to several thousand dollars. A judge might also mandate that you have an ignition interlock device placed in your car. The main purpose of this penalty is that it would deter the person from doing it again. We hope you never need to use this guide, but since many people get scared and don’t know what to do following a DUI arrest, we’ve laid out 8 essential things.
Cooperate With the Officer
The first task at hand is to avoid adding to the problems you currently have. The majority of people who are pulled over for speeding or driving under the influence argue with police officers. All of this will be for nothing if and when you are apprehended. An officer’s testimony will always be given more weight in court if they find you to be inebriated. Even though it may be difficult to keep your cool under the influence of alcohol, it’s in your best interest to do what the police officer asks. Other than giving your name and address, you should remain silent.
Don’t Submit Any Field Sobriety Test
Do not consent to any field sobriety testing, such as walking in a straight line or balancing on one leg. You might expect to be asked to take a field sobriety test by law enforcement. Yet, you are well within your rights to decline this kind of examination. This is not an excuse to avoid taking a chemical test, like a breathalyzer. If you are asked to take a portable breathalyzer and refuse, you will likely have your license taken away. When you arrive at the station, you’ll be asked to submit to chemical screening. Always choose the breath test over the blood test if given the opportunity at the station. Since they are so much less accurate, it’s considerably simpler to challenge their admissibility in court.
If this is your first arrest, the whole process might be frightening, but a competent lawyer can put your mind at ease. Police and prosecutors are known for their intense questioning tactics, and as noted by a DUI lawyer in Denver, Colorado, even if you believe you have been wrongly accused, trying to handle the accusations on your own might be a huge mistake. You have the right to an attorney and should keep asking the authorities when you will be able to reach one. Choose a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases and is familiar with the relevant local legislation. The court will appoint a public defender to represent you if you cannot afford private lawyers. They are also outstanding lawyers, but they manage hundreds of cases at once, so you may have trouble obtaining their attention.
Write Down Everything
The most important thing is to make a written record of what happened. Note that even if you were impaired, your memory is at its peak immediately after the incident, making that period crucial in your case. Document every detail, no matter how minor it may appear. Many cases involving DUI may be won by focusing on a single detail. For instance, why did the police stop you? Stops for suspected drunk driving often include a breach of traffic law. When police pull you over, they must write down what traffic rule they believe you broke. If a court determines that there was insufficient proof of a traffic infraction to justify stopping your car, they may dismiss your DUI charges. This information is privileged and should not be shared with anyone other than your lawyer.
Talk to Witnesses
You should talk to anybody you saw or interacted with the night you were arrested, including friends, family, and acquaintances, particularly if they were there with you or saw what happened just before, during, or after your arrest. Be careful to write down their names, contact information, and any pertinent details they recall. Inquire if they might meet with your defense counsel to provide testimony. In a case involving a DUI or any other criminal offense, witnesses might be crucial. The arresting officer or officers will detail their version of events in a police report, and prosecutors rely on their report more than anything else to determine what they believe happened – but statements or witness testimony presented by you and your defense lawyer that corroborate your defense or show that you were not as intoxicated as the police allege (or not intoxicated at all) can help your case.
Make Your Social Accounts Private
Although it’s great to connect with friends and family online and swap tales of daily life, social media may be a legal nightmare if you’re already facing charges for DUI or any other crime. There’s a lot of truth to the sentence, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Social media sites are often combed by prosecutors and investigators in search of evidence. Evidence from the night of your arrest or statements you make afterward might hurt your case. Until your DUI case is dropped or settled, you should delete any public posts and set your social media accounts to private.
Stay Out of Trouble
You should avoid doing anything that might get you in trouble after posting bail. Any more arrests, while your DUI case is underway, would severely damage your case. If this occurs, you may be required to wear special gear or have your bail revoked. Most courts will impose uncomfortable alcohol interlock devices as a punishment. If your DUI case does not involve an accident, a competent attorney should be able to have the charges and penalties against you reduced to the lowest possible level. Stay out of trouble, so you don’t have to go through any more pain than you have to.
Notify Your Employer If Necessary
You may not be able to keep an arrest a secret, no matter how hard you try. You may be required to notify your employer if you are arrested following company policy. This might be particularly true if you need a driver’s license for your employment but are facing a suspension because of a criminal charge. Choose the best course of action by reviewing business policies.
Driving after drinking is a bad decision, no matter the circumstances. Driving under the influence compromises your safety and the safety of others on the road. We hope you will always drive sensibly, but accidents may happen, so if you are ever arrested for DUI, keep these points in mind.