You just got a DUI. Not good. Don’t worry, though, life isn’t over.
Every year, thousands of Americans get a DUI or DWI and immediately feel lost or trapped by the overwhelming burden they must face over the coming months. Some people come out of the process feeling relieved, some make a few fatal errors and never fully recover, both personally and in terms of legal issues. In order to get a DUI or DWI fully off of your record, it is important to take a series of crucial steps. These are not easy, but they certainly are important.
As a reminder, if you do ever get pulled over while intoxicated, make sure to be as cooperative as possible. That means not talking back to the cop, following all of their orders, and answering any questions that do not further incriminate you. If they ask you to take a breathalyzer test, it is your right to refuse, and you should. Even though you will likely get your license suspended, you will have a much better chance in the long run of avoiding a DUI.
Here are 5 steps to take after getting a DUI. Though they are not guaranteed to work, they should, especially for a first-time offender.
Find An Experienced DWI Lawyer
Before doing anything, it is important to find a good DUI lawyer to handle your case. A good lawyer will ensure that all of your rights are protected, and ensure that you do not get into further trouble. Ideally, you should have a lawyer that you can call from the car rather than after you get arrested, but that is rarely the case. When you do get arrested, though, your lawyer can work with the judge and prosecution, which will lessen the chance that your charges will be lessened or diminished altogether.
Follow all legal advice
One of the most common problem that often happens is that individuals fail to take the advice of a lawyer or judge. It is crucial that you listen to your lawyer regarding court dates and proper procedure. For instance, if you miss your court date, you are bound to get into further trouble. People are often told to schedule a court date 30 days from the arrest. Once in court, your lawyer may advise you on a number of options, such as a plea bargain, which will lessen your sentence, even if you plea guilty.
Pay off any dues
DUIs are expensive. Really expensive. In order to reduce the likelihood of further trouble, you must pay off any dues that you might incur, such as lawyer fees, court costs or the cost of classes, which might be required. You will almost inevitably face further punishment if you fail to pay off all debts.
Find out the status of your drivers license
If you get a DUI, your license is likely to be taken for a number of months. Depending on the state and the charge, you could lose your license for a minimum of six months. After that time period, you must follow a number of steps to get your license back. This process could take months, so it is best to start the process before your suspension is set to end. This will also likely be expensive.
Try to get the DUI expunged
Keeping your record clean is crucial. A tarnished record will affect school, work and nearly every other aspect of your life. For first-time offenders, the process shouldn’t be too difficult. Repeat offenders might find it much harder. Of course this all depends on the state and the judge, but more often than not, it is possible.
DUIs are difficult to overcome, but not impossible. Without a lawyer, they are pretty much impossible. Take the right steps, and move on.