Nobody plans to be arrested for drunk driving, which means a lot of people have no idea what steps they should take in the wake of a DUI arrest. Between talking to the police, finding legal counsel, planning for the weeks ahead and helping prepare for trial, figuring out the best steps to take after an arrest can be difficult. Here are some steps to consider – and some pitfalls to avoid – if you’ve been arrested for drunk driving.
Hire An Attorney – Most people are comfortable handling the legal system on their own for minor traffic offenses, but a drunk driving charge is much more complex. Do some research on lawyers in your area who specialize in drunk driving charges and set up a meeting or two. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations where they’ll go over the basics of your case and discuss the weak spots of the state’s case. Ask questions, and if you feel comfortable with the attorney, go ahead and hire them as your legal counsel.
Overshare With Police – The vast majority of police officers are trustworthy and honest, but that doesn’t mean they are your friends in this scenario. Sharing all the details of your night or admitting to certain behaviors only serves to build the state’s case against you. Don’t lie to the officer, but don’t be an open book either. You are always within your right to ask to consult with your attorney.
Cover All Potential Outcomes – Use the time before trial to go over all your options and position yourself appropriately for all potential outcomes. If you face the possibility of jail time, make sure your spouse or a family member can take care of your kids in your absence. If your lawyer believes a license suspension is possible, figure out alternate ways to get to work. If you know the odds are stacked against you, see what considerations the state will make in the form of a plea deal. Make sure all your bases are covered so the mud doesn’t hit the fan if the case doesn’t turn out as expected.
Continue Your Same Habits – One thing that the court takes into consideration when looking at your case is how likely you are to re-offend. If you get in a bar fight or even publish photos of you drinking in excess on social media, those same habits can be used against you in court. That said, knowing how the court will perceive your actions can actually work in your favor. Before trial, attend alcohol or substance counseling. Attending substance abuse sessions is not an admission of guilt; all it does is showcase that you are committed to putting this incident behind you and moving on with your life.
Avery Appelman is a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Avery the owner and managing partner at Appelman Law Firm. If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI or for any other criminal charge in the greater Twin Cities area, reach out to Avery for a free consultation.