If you’ve been stopped by police and accused of a DUI, it can be hard to figure out what your next steps are. It’s a scary time. You don’t want to make a move that could hurt you in the long run.
Almost 75% of arrested drivers are first-time offenders. So, it’s likely that you have no clue how to proceed.
Drunk driving isn’t like a speeding ticket, which might only add a point to your license. It’s a criminal offense. This means it could stay on your record forever if you’re convicted. That’s something you should avoid at all costs.
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Need more info? Click on any one of the links below to get in-depth info about the various stages of the DUI court process.
Read on for six essential steps that are vital to take after a DUI arrest.
Step #1: Keep Your Mouth Shut
This is something to remember both during the stop and after the officer has allowed you to continue on your way.
The right to remain silent is the Miranda right that people usually know. However, many don’t use it to their advantage in the heat of the moment. Remember — you don’t have to admit that you’ve been drinking right off the bat.
That doesn’t let you refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test if the officer asks you too. If this is your first offense, your driver’s license could be suspended for a year just for that refusal.
You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to submit to a field sobriety test. You do have to take a blood, breath, or urine test if requested during a DUI arrest unless you’re okay with the consequences of refusing.
Step #2: Write Everything Down
Directly after the stop, write down everything that you can remember about the encounter.
What did the officer say when he or she stopped you? Where were you? What did you tell the officer?
If you were drinking, your memory of this might be hazy. It will only get worse the longer you wait to write down what you know. It’s hard to remember details even under the best circumstances, and this is a stressful one.
You will eventually have to use these details in court, so the more you can remember, the better.
Step #3: Gather Any Witnesses
Even one witness can go a long way towards helping you out in court. Do your best to uncover anyone who could help you out.
Who saw you directly before the stop? Who saw you right after? Was anyone else present in the car?
Once you’ve identified witnesses, ask them if they’d be willing to testify for you in court. If they say yes, have them write everything down as well.
Noticing a pattern?
People forget things easier than you’d think. Getting everything down in writing could be a huge benefit for you in the long run.
If you hire a DUI defense attorney, they’ll want your witnesses’ statements as well. So, it’s best to have them write down everything they can remember ASAP.
Step #4: Request A DMV Hearing. You Could Keep Your License!
After a DUI in Orange County CA, you have the right to request a stay and a DMV administrative hearing within 10 days of the time you were stopped.
The ten days include weekends.
Don’t forget that you have this ability. This is your opportunity to prove that your license being suspended or revoked wasn’t justified. It also buys you more time to drive if you request a stay.
The stay will let you keep driving until your hearing, which could be as long as three months after your arrest.
However, it’s important that you don’t call your local DMV office. They probably won’t be able to help you, since only Driver Safety DMVs can handle these kinds of requests.
For a DUI in Orange County CA, you’ll want to call the DMV in Orange City Square.
The hearing might seem similar to criminal court proceedings. After all, you can bring witnesses and evidence and have legal representation if you want. However, they are not the same and you’ll want to prepare for them differently.
Step #5: Get A Copy Of Your Police Report
Before you attend the hearing, make sure you get a copy of your police report.
You have the right to read it ahead of time.
The report will tell you what the officer said about you and what your chemical test results were. This is important information to have before the hearing!
The police report will have details like why you were stopped, your answers to the officer’s questions, and how you did on things like a field sobriety test. It’s best to arm yourself with as much of this information to help ensure you have the best defense strategy possible.
The police report will likely be sent to you roughly ten days before your hearing date. In other words, don’t hold your breath waiting to receive it (pun intended).
Step #6: Speak With An Attorney
One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is who will represent you.
You can have an attorney present for both your DMV administrative hearing and your criminal court proceedings. If it comes to that, you’ll definitely want legal help!
You don’t just want any lawyer, though. You’ll need one who specializes in DUI cases to make sure that you have the best representation possible. You should check to see what their practice areas are before making a decision.
Need Help? Request A Free Consultation
A DUI can feel like the end of the world, but you’ll get through it. The question is, how much trouble will you be facing?
Speaking with a lawyer sooner rather than later can only help you out. So, get in touch today to request your free consultation and find out how our attorneys can protect you.