The average DUI costs around $10,000 when all is said and done. That cost involves bail, legal fees, fines, and any classes you have to take as part of your sentencing.
Can you imagine figuring out that process alone? You’re going to feel alone enough when you’re pulled over and then during processing.
You shouldn’t be alone after you’re out on bail. You should have the support of friends/family, as well as an attorney.
Want some more concrete details on what to do when you get a DUI? Read below.
At the Scene
If you’re pulled over for a DUI, chances are you won’t have all your wits about you. If you did – you wouldn’t have failed any of the sobriety tests.
But let’s say you’re only a little intoxicated and you can stay calm. Here are the tips you want to follow at the scene and directly after.
1. Pull Over in a Safe Place
There are some pretty terrifying tales of people getting pulled over by “fake” officers. To make sure you’re not one of them, you have a few rights.
If you’re being pulled over, put on your hazards and go to the side of the road, but don’t stop until you’re in a well-lit area. If it’s more than a 50 yards or so – call dispatch. You should have the non-emergency number for your local police saved in your phone, anyway.
Let them know where you are, that you’re getting pulled over, and that you’re cooperating but finding a safe place to pull over.
You also have the right to find out the badge number of any unmarked police cars before you pull over. Dispatch will let you know what to do if they’re not legitimate police officers.
2. Don’t Make Sweeping Statements
When you’re pulled over, even if you’re guilty, don’t admit to anything you don’t have to admit to. Many police officers use prompting questions to get you to admit more than you have to.
Be honest but don’t go into too much detail. The officer has the right to test you for alcohol even if you say you haven’t been drinking. They can site evidence like glassy eyes and your driving patterns as proof.
3. Cooperate with the Officer
If you haven’t done anything wrong, then your innocence will show in road tests or on a breathalyzer. So if you’re pulled over and the cop asks you to do the tests, comply.
It’s easy to get defensive at the scene, even angry that your sobriety is being questioned. But this won’t help anything and could turn an “I’m sorry, drive safe” situation into a charge for harassing an officer.
The same goes if you are under the influence. The more you cooperate, the easier your DUI process will be.
4. Be Patient
When you’re taken to the station for processing and it’s your first criminal offense, you’re in for a long night. You’ll need to be processed, which involves fingerprinting, a mugshot, and whatever that facility does for intake.
Then you’ll be questioned – and yes, you have the right to contact your attorney at this time.
When you’re questioned, tell the officer everything you remember. Tell the truth – if you were that intoxicated, the breathalyzer will show it. There’s no reason to lie.
5. Call for Bail
Most first time DUI cases are released on bail – but that means you have to post it. This is one reason to know at least two of your close friends/relatives phone numbers by heart so you can ask them to call this company.
Your cell phone will be in a “personal effects” bag so you won’t have access to your contacts. Once you post bail, you’ll be released until your trial.
You cannot leave the state at this time. If you do, it turns into a more intense felony charge. Go home and write down everything you remember.
Then get some sleep – you’re going to need it for the process ahead.
After the Fact
You should have called your attorney when you were in jail – but if you don’t have one yet, that’s okay. You can contact an attorney after you’re out of jail as well, but you want to do so before sentencing.
How to Find a DUI Lawyer
There are two main things that will decide how your case goes. The first is the number of details you remember and general case details.
The second is having a good lawyer. Which means you can’t just employ the first one you see listed on Google. You’ll need to. . .
1. Check their Services Page
A well-respected firm will have a services page where you can get more information about what they specialize in. If car accidents are on there, try to find something about DUI’s separately, or on the accident page.
You don’t want to employ someone who only deals with sober accident cases when that’s not relevant to you.
2. Read Testimonials
Most attorneys have some sort of review or testimonial page on their site. They cannot edit these for their own purpose – even if they did, you can read reviews on third-party sites, like Google.
What did these people say the experience of working with the attorney was like? Did they make them feel calm? Help them learn about what would happen?
What were the results? Did they get less probation than they would have without a lawyer?
3. Get a Consultation, for Free
You shouldn’t pay a lawyer to tell you whether or not you have a case. If they’re an honest firm, they’ll offer a free consultation. If you don’t like their assessment or don’t feel like they’re the right fit for you-you can walk out, with no money exchanged.
Schedule your consultation as soon as you find a lawyer you think you like – time is of the essence in legal cases.
What to Do When You Get a DUI
Let’s review. When you’re pulled over for a DUI, make sure you’re in a safe place and cooperate with the officer. Then get out of jail and post bail as fast as you can.
Finally, call a lawyer who will help you know what to do when you get a DUI.
Want more tips on what to do when you’re pulled over? Click here.