If this is your first time getting arrested for a DUI, it is essential for you to stay calm and be mindful of your actions. What you do leading up to your court date could potentially impact the outcome. The law takes a strict stance against alleged offenders. That is why a thoughtful defense is so important when facing a DUI charge.
Penalties can significantly impact your life
A first-time DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction can result in your license being revoked for a minimum of one year, in addition to hefty fines. You must then have a hearing before the Secretary of State to reinstate your driving privileges, which adds more time.
To lessen the chances of this poor outcome, keep in mind the following mistakes to avoid.
Brushing off the charges
A DUI is a relatively common offense. But all criminal charges are serious, especially a DUI. Ignoring the charges against you could subject you to the harshest sentence possible. A DUI conviction can have significant consequences for many years, so it is vital to protect yourself to the fullest extent possible.
Do not plead guilty or not guilty without first consulting an experienced lawyer. The evidence against you may not be enough to justify a conviction. Some evidence against you may not be used in court, for example, if police pulled you over without probable cause.
Remember that until the prosecution can prove you broke the law beyond a reasonable doubt, you are innocent.
Saying too much
When under arrest for a DUI charge, you should say as little as possible to keep from potentially incriminating yourself. Law enforcement may ask questions and try to maintain a conversation to draw more information from you that could end up as evidence to support the DUI charge. You have the right to remain silent, and using it can aid your defense. This includes not talking about the case or your situation after the fact on social media.
Going it alone
You have options besides pleading guilty. That is why you need to consult with an attorney when faced with DUI charges. An attorney can help you to determine whether to plead not guilty or whether an alternative such as court supervision is appropriate and available. Through court supervision penalties are lessened and you may still be able to drive legally. Which option is right for you depends on the circumstances of your arrest and your goals.