What are the steps after a DUI arrest?
Getting arrested for drunk driving can be an embarrassing experience. It's not unusual for drivers to feel regret and shame. But drivers should be more concerned about the high costs of fines, penalties, potential jail time and loss of driving privileges.
So what should you do if you are arrested for drunken driving? The first step is to act quickly after a DUI arrest. Waiting and hoping the DUI arrest goes away will not protect your rights. Keep in mind, if you are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above, or you refuse to take the chemical test, this could trigger an administrative license suspension by your state's Department of Motor Vehicle Department (or the equivalent department).
Failure to request a hearing to challenge the administrative license suspension will result in an automatic license suspension, even if you are not ultimately convicted of DUI. State laws vary, but in many states you may have as little as ten days to contact the DMV and set up a hearing. If you do not do anything, the DMV will suspend your driver's license.
To find the number for the DMV review the temporary license form you were given by the police officer at the time of the drunken driving arrest. Tell the DMV you would like to request an APS hearing, you want them to grant you a stay so you can continue to drive until your hearing date, and you want information about your DUI arrest.
Next, it's time to take an honest assessment of your situation. If you have been arrested for DUI before and this was not a one time, accidental occurrence, it is time to get help. Find out if there are affordable treatment options in your area.
Finally, decide whether or not you would like to hire a DUI lawyer. Due to the severe fines and penalties associated with a DUI, many drivers hire lawyers. It is a good idea to contact several different lawyers and interview them. Keep in mind, lawyers have differing skill levels. The highest priced lawyer may not be the best. The key is to find a DUI lawyer with specialized training and experience with drunk driving cases. It is better to find a DUI lawyer who specializes in DUI cases and understands probable cause, evidence, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, the science of alcohol absorption, jury instructions, and drunk driving forms. Do not be pressured to hire anyone based on a sales pitch.
Finally, prepare for your arraignment. The arraignment is the portion of the trial where you enter your plea. If you have hired a DUI lawyer they will help you prepare, but if not, make sure you understand your options. Most experts suggest pleading not guilty, which will give you more time to develop your strategy for fighting the DUI charges. Then contact a DUI lawyer and discuss your drunken driving case. A lawyer may be able to help you negotiate a plea deal with the prosecuting attorney or they may encourage you to fight the DUI charges.
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