You just left a local restaurant after having dinner with friends when you look in the rearview mirror and see the flashing lights of a police car. No mistake, you are getting pulled over. Any other night this would just be an annoying end to an otherwise pleasant evening with friends; however, this night you had a couple of beers or glasses of wine with dinner. After all, you were celebrating your new promotion. An hour later you are sitting in the back of a police car on your way to the station under arrest for driving under the influence, or DUI. You know the potential consequences for a DUI conviction are serious; however, beyond that you don’t know much. You have never been in trouble with the law before, and have certainly never been arrested before tonight. As you sit there feeling humiliated, worried, and anxious knowing there is nothing you can do about your situation at the moment; however, you start to wonder “What should I do after my DUI arrest?”
Although there are certainly repeat DUI offenders, the vast majority of the people arrested and charged with a DUI are first time offenders who had a momentary lapse in judgment. If you are one of them, you likely know very little about the criminal justice system, meaning you have virtually no idea what you should do after you are released from jail. While every DUI prosecution is unique, there are some things you should, and should not, do that apply in most situations, including:
- Retain an experienced Nebraska DUI attorney – do not make the mistake many people make of assuming this is a first time offense and, therefore, you don’t need an attorney. Even a first time DUI offense carries serious penalties in Nebraska. Often, the non-judicial consequences are worse than the judicial penalties imposed by the court. If convicted, you could face disciplinary action if you hold a professional license, lose your driving privileges, face deportation, or even lose unsupervised visitation with a minor child. In addition, although you may be ready to plead guilty, an experienced attorney may be able to help you avoid a conviction if something about the stop or arrest wasn’t handled properly. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your rights following a DUI arrest is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska DUI defense attorney.
- Do not miss a court date – this may seem like unnecessary advice; however, you would be surprised how often people “forget” about a court date or claim they were never advised of the date. It is your responsibility to know when you are scheduled to appear in court and failing to appear could result in a warrant issued for your arrest and a return to custody.
- Abide by all release conditions – make sure you understand, and abide by, any conditions the court placed on you when you were released from custody.
- Consider an alcohol evaluation – only you know if this was a one-time mistake or the one time you got caught. If there is a possibility that you have a drinking problem, have an evaluation done. Not only will it look good to the court at sentencing, but it could save your life if you actually do have a problem you have not yet admitted.
- Seek treatment if warranted – if the results of the evaluation show you have a drinking problem, or you already know you have one, now is the time to seek treatment. Consider your arrest a wake-up call and pursue appropriate treatment. Again, it will look good to the prosecutor and the judge, but more importantly it may save you from worse consequences down the road.
- Do not repeat your mistake – the worst thing you can do is to wind up under arrest again for the same thing while your case is pending. If necessary, don’t drive until your case is concluded.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Nebraska it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Nebraska DUI lawyer to ensure that you understand the potential penalties you face if convicted. Contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.