Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a criminal offense; however, you most certainly do not have to be a career criminal to be accused of DUI. On the contrary, people from all walks of life are arrested and charged with alcohol related driving offenses.
As a result, it is hardly unusual for an accused to be confused and worried following an arrest for DUI because for most it is their first brush with the law.
If you find yourself in this situation – sitting in a jail cell or recently released after being charged with DUI – you may have no idea what to do next.
Once the shock of being arrested begins to wear off, however, you instinctively know you need to do something, you just don’t know what that “something” is.
The following “8 Steps to Take Immediately Following Your DUI Arrest ” should help you feel more proactive and ease a little of worry. If you still have questions, contact our Nebraska DUI defense attorney today.
1. Remain Silent
This is a universal piece of advice that applies to absolutely any arrest situation and any defendant. Moreover, it applies from virtually the moment you are stopped until your case is over.
Do not admit that you were drinking and driving to the police officer, to the person sharing your jail cell for the night, or to whoever is kind enough to come pick you up when you are released from custody. Never, never, never, discuss the facts of an ongoing investigation or prosecution with anyone without first consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney.
2. Secure the Release of Your Vehicle
This is one of those practical steps that people sometimes don’t think about right away, particularly if the arrest occurred on a Friday night and they are not expected at work the next day.
You should, however, work on getting your vehicle released as soon as possible because the longer it stays where it is the more it will likely cost you to get it out – and you will need your vehicle, sooner or later.
3. Contact An Experienced Nebraska DUI Attorney
Whether you realize you need an attorney or not, you do. People often put off contacting an attorney under the mistaken belief that they don’t really need one. Some people believe the charges will magically be dropped before their next appearance in court while others believe pleading guilty as soon as possible is in their best interest so no attorney is needed.
Just to be clear, charges are not “magically” dropped. There are situations in which the charges against a defendant are dropped; however, this usually only occurs because an attorney has pointed out the flaws or problems in the case. In addition, while accepting a guilty plea may, indeed, be in your best interest, you should never just accept the first thing the prosecutor offers you.
You need an experienced DUI defense attorney to negotiate a plea agreement that includes the most favorable terms possible for you.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Consider Treatment
If you were drinking and driving, only you know if this was a one-time lapse in judgment on your part or if this was simply the first time you have been caught. If the latter is the case, it might be time to consider having an alcohol and drug evaluation done to see what kind of treatment, if any, is recommended.
Not only will seeking treatment help prevent this from occurring again, but doing so voluntarily and before being found guilty will typically look very good to a judge when it comes time for sentencing if you are ultimately found guilty.
7. Maintain the Status Quo
Do not let your arrest cause your life to fall apart. Keep in mind that an arrest is not a conviction and that a conviction is not the end of the world. The best thing you can do for yourself, and for your case, is to not let your entire life fall apart.
With an experienced Nebraska DUI attorney on your side there is always a good chance you will not be convicted; however, if your arrest does result in a conviction you will be in a much better position when it comes to sentencing if you are gainfully employed/registered in school and you appear to be a productive member of society.
8. 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.