Given that there are 1.5 million DUI arrests every year, there are a lot of people who are going through the taxing experience of fighting one in court.
While it’s a straightforward process of determining whether someone is guilty of a DUI or DWI, police wrongfully accuse people all the time. If you’re not sure what to do after getting a DUI, you need to stay level headed and focused on winning your case.
Here are 5 things you need to do immediately after being issued a DUI.
1. Start Taking Notes
It’s the details of your case that will determine whether or not you end up with a DUI on your record or, worse, in jail if this is a repeat offense. DUI cases rely on details and so when you write everything down, you can keep the events together. The most important details could be easily forgotten leaving you without a way to prove your innocence.
Write down every detail from your DUI stop as you remember them. Because your memory is subject to degradation over time, take down all the details now before you forget. Those details, how the officer spoke to you, what they said, how you reacted, are all important for building a case.
Take note of when and where you were stopped. Take down the time. Try to remember what the officer said they stopped you for because they might not have a valid reason.
If there was a breath test done, try to remember what the device they used looked like. Sometimes an officer will ask what you had to eat or drink. Write down your answer.
If the officer made you do an eye tracking or walking test, write down all the details of exactly what you had to do. Don’t share this information with anyone but your attorney. Anyone of these details could crack open their case against you.
2. Make Your Social Media Private
Unfortunately, social media is now a tool that can be used against you in a court of law. Where once it was that anything you said could be held against you, anything you post could be as well. If a prosecutor is looking to take you down, they’ll look for any obvious mistakes you made online.
Posts made from a party on the evening of the arrest where you’re taking shots or see around drugs could harm your case. Incriminating photos are often brought into evidence when people fight a DUI. Anything taken that night could be misinterpreted as showing your guilt and culpability.
Whenever people present our words or images out of context, it damages the reputations of ourselves or others. Even if you’re innocent, any damage to your reputation could be misinterpreted by a jury as culpability.
Rather than leave any ammunition on the table, drop everything and make your social media private ASAP. If there are photos that you think are incriminating at all, take them down or make them private.
3. Witnesses Help
If you have anyone at all to speak on your behalf, you should have them show up for you. When you have to testify, it’s always good to have character witnesses to talk about why this action is unlike you. If there were people who you saw right before your stop or who were riding in the car, they should hump in to help.
Witnesses can strengthen your case and give it depth. The more witnesses you can get to speak for you, the stronger your case will be. You or your attorney will need to gather their statements as soon as possible as their memories are just as apt to fade as yours.
An alibi that can state that you weren’t drinking or weren’t drunk could make a huge difference in whether the case goes guilty or not guilty.
4. Hire a Strong Lawyer
You need to hire a lawyer who can get the job done. You need a lawyer who is willing to ask more questions and discover more about your case. Deciding on your lawyer is the difference between winning or losing.
Check your attorney’s record before you hire them. They need to know the science around DUIs and will probably have you get test results done before you go into the courtroom. So long as your attorney seems knowledgeable and is prioritizing the science, you’ll be in good hands.
Ask about your attorney’s DUI specific work. Ask about how many cases they’ve managed to fight and to win. Make a diligent effort to look into what their reviews are online.
Your attorney could make a huge difference as to whether or not you get locked in jail or if you just get a stern lesson.
You should shop around and meet a few different lawyers before you settle into one. This is a huge decision and they should understand that.
5. Don’t Let it Ruin Your Life
Dealing with a DUI can do damage to your spirit. It can start to seep into different parts of your life and make otherwise joyous moments feel soured.
While you might go over the consequences over and over in your mind, it doesn’t matter. Until you’re in that courtroom, you need to put your trust in your attorney. Continue to live your life, spend time with friends, go to work, and just make sure you continue to make better and better decisions.
Getting a DUI Can Be Life Changing
Whether you end up being found guilty or not, just getting a DUI is a significant experience. The penalties for a DUI are so harsh that you might find you reshape your whole life. Some people stop driving altogether to avoid any future DUI.
After a DUI, you could see your insurance go up, so make sure you check out our guide for finding the cheapest insurance around.