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A Helpful Guide on What to Do After a DUI

10% of all arrests in the United States are DUI charges. Despite its commonality, the stigma surrounding DUI charges can horribly affect your life. The good news is that there are many steps you can take to reduce the impact of these charges and maintain your ability to get a job.

Here’s what to do after a DUI so you can move on with your life.

Cooperate With the Police Officer

If you’re caught drinking and driving, don’t resist arrest. When asked to perform a field sobriety test, follow their instructions. They will probably ask you to complete a breathalyzer test as well.

If you refuse, the officers could consider this obstruction of justice—which is another crime in itself!

Never fight officers attempting to restrain you (even if they’re being aggressive). Resisting arrest carries its own punishment under state law.

Do Not Confess

Staying silent is the best option for you. The police will try to get you to admit you’re driving under the influence, but this is not in your best interest. You should never admit guilt for drinking and driving until after you’ve consulted with an attorney.

Record the Details

Record the officer’s name, badge number, and any other information you can remember. Note the time and date of your arrest as well as the location.

If possible, ask to see a copy of the police report. If there are any discrepancies between their version of events and yours later on down the line, you will have documentation backing up your story.

Identify Witnesses

The best witnesses are people you contact immediately after your arrest. Their stories won’t be influenced by others or forgotten over time. You may want to ask the following questions:

  • Did they see you being pulled over?
  • Were you driving erratically?
  • Did you appear intoxicated?

Plead for them to write down their version of events. You’ll need to consult these accounts when preparing your defense.

Seek Legal Representation

A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you and how getting a DUI may affect your life. They can also explain what’s in store for you if convicted of the crime, including possible jail time and fines.

A good attorney will know how best to defend your case—whether that means challenging evidence or negotiating with prosecutors on your behalf.

Call a Friend

Once you’ve arrived home, call someone that you trust and let them know where you are. A nonjudgemental friend or family member will ensure the situation doesn’t spiral out of control. They should be able to offer some emotional support during this time of uncertainty.

When they offer words of encouragement, take their comments seriously! They’re coming from a place of love and trying to remind you that everyone makes mistakes.

Complete Your Community Service

If a judge convicts you of a DUI, chances are the court will order you to complete community service as part of your sentence. Community service is a punishment that allows offenders to repay their debt to society by performing tasks like cleaning up parks or helping at food banks.

Finish your community service in a timely manner. If you fail to complete your obligations, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest and you may be required to spend even more time behind bars.

Seek Treatment

There are two main types of treatment programs: inpatient rehab centers and outpatient rehab centers. Inpatient programs require that patients live at the facility while receiving care. Outpatient programs allow patients to have regular lives while still getting treatment for their challenges with alcohol abuse.

Both kinds of programs have benefits. Inpatient treatment gives you a chance to focus on getting sober. Outpatient treatment allows more freedom and flexibility during recovery.

If your DUI results from alcohol abuse, strongly consider seeking treatment. The best way to find a program that meets your needs is to ask a professional for a recommendation.

Have Your DUI Arrest Expunged

An expungement is when you ask a court to remove the public record of your conviction from the state and federal criminal databases. If you have an expungement, it’ll look like you were never arrested for driving under the influence.

You can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for this process, depending on which state you live in and how much paperwork needs to be done. Beyond the financial commitment, there are some requirements you need to meet to be eligible for an expungement:

  • Have a probationary period
  • Comply with all probationary requirements
  • File a petition
  • Have no pending criminal charges

The last thing is to ask for a conversation with the judge. If they give you the chance, you must prove why you deserve to wipe the DUI blemish off your record.

Your lawyer will do the talking for you, but the judge might want to hear from you, too. Prepare to have a little chat and answer some questions.

What to Do After a DUI: Call a Professional

Now that you know what to do after a DUI, it’s time to call an experienced attorney. The last thing you want is to lose your driver’s license and have an arrest record that could ruin your future. The best way to avoid these outcomes is by hiring a lawyer with a few years of experience under their belt.

If you’re trying to avoid another DUI, stop your alcohol abuse and turn to our health section for new habits that will improve the quality of your life.