DUI Arrest: What To Do When You're Charged

If you've been cited for a DUI, you've been charged with a serious crime. Regardless of how guilty, ashamed, or wronged you might feel, what you do in the next 48 hours can drastically change the outcome of your arrest. 

Here are steps you can take in the 48 hours after you've been arrested to help you and/or your attorney fight your case.

Get Help

Hiring legal help can demonstrate to the prosecutor that you're willing to put up a fight. In many jurisdictions, simply filing the appeals available to you can be enough leverage to negotiate a reduced penalty. When you're seeking legal help, it's critical that you retain a legal expert with trial experience. Although virtually every DUI attorney you consider is likely to fit this bill, they are also likely to charge hire rates than a more general attorney with trial experience. 

Also, consider asking the following questions:

  • When was your last trial?
  • How much does the average DUI defense cost your clients?
  • What defense strategy do you plan on using?

If an attorney you're considering can't or won't answer these questions, keep searching for an attorney who can.

Do Some Self-Reflection

In the 48 hours after you've been cited for a DUI, your memory likely to be the strongest. Although some people find writing a detailed account of their arrest helpful, recording a conversation about it can give you unique ways to catalogue and articulate your experience. You might consider having a close friend and/or your attorney video or voice record a conversation that answers the following prompts:

  • Describe the first moment you realized you were being pulled over.
  • Describe your initial interaction with the police.
  • Describe the moment your realized they were going to cite you for a DUI.
  • Describe the moments immediately following your arrest.
  • Describe your experience at the police station. 

This self-reflection is often lengthy and exhausting. However, you might reveal something about your arrest that can be critical to your case. Additionally, someone was with you during your traffic stop, you should ask them to independently answer similar questions about the incident. 

Collect Documentation

Documenting your case can be the key to finding potential flaws in the evidence against you. When you begin documenting evidence, it's important to establish a timeline. This timeline should extend to 3 or 4 hours before and after your arrest. The more detailed you can make this timeline, the more useful it will be for your attorney. If you have any pictures, videos, or you can get eyewitness testimony of your arrest and/or the immediate aftermath, your attorney will have all the facts they need to mount the strongest defense. 

Get Your Papers in Order

Every document about your DUI can be critical. Categorized, organizing, scanning, copying, and saving these documents will ensure that they aren't lost. When you gather all of your documents you should turn them over to your attorney immediately (but only after you've hired them). Giving your attorney these documents as early as possible will give them more time to review the critical records and facts about your case.

Additionally, your attorney can only file the available appeals after they have all the documents they need to properly understand your case. If you are depending on your ability to drive for your livelihood, your attorney can file a temporary stay of your suspended license, which can allow you to drive to and from work. This appeal is often decided quickly and, if it's your first DUI offense, is likely to be granted by the court. It's important to also provide digital copies of your documents just in case you switch lawyers during the process of your DUI defense.

For more guidance, reach out to offices like the Law Office Of  Lori Crystal, LLC.