If you have been arrested for DUI, especially if it is your first DUI, it can be a very frightening and confusing time. What steps should you take first? How can you ensure you have the defense that you need? Will you automatically lose your driver’s license? Whether you had only a single drink or not, the results of a DUI arrest can be the same and you should fight DUI if possible. However, taking the correct steps immediately after your arrest is vital to your protection and the outcome of your trial.
Step 1. Take the chemical test after the arrest.
This is required by most states and is punishable under the law if refused. The chemical test is designed to show a variety of information, most notably your current blood alcohol level. From this level, the officers can deduce the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of arrest. If you have refused field sobriety tests, then you have little to fear from this and much to lose by refusing. Take the test.
Step 2. Contact a DUI attorney.
Never use a general attorney for DWI court cases. DUI laws are complex and require an in-depth understanding of the legal system in a very specific regard. While other attorneys may be able to represent you in court, only a specialized DUI attorney can hope to gain you a favorable outcome in your DWI defense.
Step 3. Locate a bail bondsman.
Posting bail is often required after an arrest. While most individuals may be released without bail, some cases require the aid of a bondsman. These individuals will require a fee, up front. Once the fee is paid, they will post bail for you. While this can be expensive, it is less so than paying your entire bail to the court. A bail bondsman guarantees that you will be at your hearings. If you do not appear during all hearings, the bondsman will likely come looking for you.
Step 4. Request a DMV hearing.
After your time of arrest, you have a limited number of days (usually 10) including weekends and holidays, to make a formal request for a DMV hearing. This hearing will determine whether you are allowed to keep your driver’s license. If you or your attorney does not request a DMV hearing, your license will be automatically suspended.
Step 5. Prepare for your arraignment.
The arraignment is the portion of your trial during which you enter your plea. Do not plead guilty. It is possible to fight DUI charges and win the case. However, you must ensure that you have experienced, expert DUI counsel on your side to do this. A plea of not guilty will give you a jury trial, during which it is possible to show that you were not driving drunk, or challenge the merits of the case in another manner.