Steps to Take After Getting a DUI
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Frank Walker with Frank Walker Law.
If you are pulled over or charged with a DUI (driving under the influence), you have certain rights designed to protect you from any potential miscarriage of justice. There are a series of steps anyone can take after being pulled over for a DUI or suspected DUI that can help protect an individual from wrongful conviction or unfair penalties, but right off the bat, it’s highly recommended to reach out to a criminal defense attorney.
Having even a first-time DUI conviction on your record can result in serious inconveniences and penalties, and can make it extremely difficult to do things like go to and from work, and school, not to mention increasing the severity of the penalties for any additional convictions. While there is a fear that calling an attorney makes you look more guilty, this is an impression that a good attorney can easily mitigate by pointing out the wisdom in exercising your right to legal representation in the event of a DUI or other charge.
Steps to take after being pulled over for or charged with a DUI include:
- Be cooperative. While an individual can certainly refuse to conduct a field sobriety test at the request of the officer, this isn’t recommended. While the rules can vary from state to state, in Pennsylvania refusing to take a field sobriety test typically results in a one-year suspension of the individual’s driver’s license.
- Do not argue with law enforcement. It’s important to avoid arguing with the arresting officer or law enforcement both during and after the arrest and/or conviction. This is typically a waste of energy and will not help your case, although it may hurt it further. Remember, anything you say in this situation can be used against your case in court.
- Write down what happened for yourself. There are strict procedures and protocols that law enforcement officers are required to follow during and after arrest for a DUI. If it is discovered that one or more of these was violated or forgotten, the evidence collected may no longer be admissible in court. A good way to keep a record of the event is to write down what you remember about the arrest as soon as you are able to do so.
- Call an attorney. As soon as you are able, it’s important to call a criminal defense attorney to talk about your situation. A good criminal defense attorney can help you work through your options for fighting the charge as well as for potentially negotiating a lower penalty. Additionally, if the arresting officers or administration made an error, a defense attorney can quickly identify this and point it out to the judge. If your license is suspended or revoked, a defense attorney may be able to argue for a “bread and butter license”, or a restricted license that allows you to travel to and from certain locations during a set range of hours.
To learn more about your options following a DUI arrest or charge, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area.