If you’re charged with driving under the influence (DUI) it can rock your world. This is a legal issue that can stain your record for some time. It’s critical that you take the correct steps to minimize damage in these situations.
Getting a DUI doesn’t have to be calamitous. Follow the tips below so that you know how to respond.
Get Any Drinking Issues Under Control
Your first priority should be to shore up any sorts of drinking problems that you might have. This time requires honesty and self-reflection and could be the best decision you make for your life and your health.
If you do have a problem, find the help of an alcohol treatment center that can help you. Whether you need complete detox and rehabilitation or a 12-step program, go through the process in earnest so that you can avoid future incidents of drinking and driving.
It’s also best for your case to show that you are taking the matter seriously.
Learn Exactly What You Are Being Charged With
There are several levels of drinking and driving charges, so you need to learn precisely what you’re charged with. For instance, you might have a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge that turns into an aggravated charge if the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measured is particularly high.
In this situation, you’d be not just fighting the charge itself, but the severity. Find out how your state addresses DUI and Driving While Impaired (DWI) charges, so you’re aware of your burdens of proof and what steps you should take next.
You will typically be given a copy of formal charges by the magistrate and will have the chance to answer the charges on your terms.
Hire the Help of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Lawyer
Take the time to hire a DUI lawyer as well. You should speak to them in a consultation to start learning whether or not they’re the best fit to face the charges you are up against.
Never skip over this step, because DUI cases are complex and will need the attention of the best and brightest attorneys. Make sure that this lawyer is skilled both at trial law and negotiating plea deals. They’ll be valuable when you need skillfulness and the right advice.
Find out how much the lawyer charges per hour, or whether or not they’ll charge you a flat fee for their representation. The earlier you hire a credible, professional DUI attorney, the best shot you have at protection in your legal case.
Find Out How You’re Going to Proceed
There are a number of outcomes you might face when you have a DUI charge that you’re facing. Typically you’ll either plead guilty and ask for leniency, take an arranged plea bargain, or contest the charges in front of a judge.
When you talk to your lawyer and get advice, you’ll be better able to gauge the landscape of your case. Your lawyer will give you an idea about your chances of moving forward based on the evidence and the nature of the charges against you.
Keep in mind that a prolonged legal battle will also cost you more in attorney fees. Factor your finances into the equation so that you’re doing what’s best for you across the board.
Prepare for Court With Your Attorney
If you decide to contest the drinking and driving charges, it’s important that you work side by side with your lawyer. They will prepare you to go through several lines of questioning and testimony so that you’re ready.
The lawyer will also help you to figure out what you should wear in court, how you should conduct yourself, and will make sure you’re relaxed and ready to speak openly about the situation. An attorney will also advise you to refrain from talking about your case to anyone else or on social media.
Be Prepared to Face the Penalties
Look up the laws in your state so that you know how DUI penalties are handled. In general, the charges escalate based on your BAC and whether or not you’ve had any other incidents in the past.
The conviction will typically come with a fine and a certain amount of time behind bars, which can be suspended in exchange for community service or counseling. Some states will require you to install an ignition interlock device into your car that will measure whether you have alcohol in your system before it’ll start.
No matter what sort of penalties you’re facing, you’ll need to be prepared to handle the outcome and any next steps. Comply with the courts, figure out how this affects your employment, and address the fallout head-on.
Use These Tips to Respond After Getting a DUI
Use the tips in this article so that you can respond after getting a DUI. It’s not the kind of charge that you want to take lightly, since the next few years of your future depend on how you respond.
Take your time when hiring the help and service of a DUI lawyer, address any health and addiction issues, and stay consistent with your approach. Most importantly, come up with a plan and evaluate your life so that something like this never happens again.
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