You’ve been pulled over, and the police are going to charge you with driving under the influence. What are the first steps you should take if you’ve been charged with a DUI? And equally importantly, what should you not do?
Write Everything Down
Your memory of events may be hazy, and there is a risk that you may add details or omit details to feel better about events when you recount it later. Write everything down on paper to prevent this. When and where were you stopped? Why did the officer say he or she stopped you? Was a breath test given? Had you taken any medicine recently? What did you say to the officer if questioned? What tests did the officer do? Any of these details could be a basis for challenging the DUI, whether it is an illegal stop or they based the DUI on a breath test and you used an inhaler that could generate a false positive.
Say as Little as Possible
Your attempts to explain things to the officer do not reduce your odds of getting off the charges. However, anything you say to the officer can and will be used against you. You may not have the right to remain silent when they ask you for your driver’s license and if you’ve been drinking tonight, but saying too much is guaranteed to hurt you while saying as little as possible prevents things from getting worse. Excuses you may try to make when pulled over can result in their own charges if the police officer finds that you’ve been lying to them even if you aren’t drunk driving. Don’t engage in casual chit chat even when the officer tries to engage you in it, since friendly conversation is a tactic to get you to incriminate yourself and it is all admissible in court.
Once Safe, Set Your Social Media Profiles as Private
When you are no longer on the road or being supervised, go to your social media profiles and set them to private. The police may check social media profiles for pictures of you at a drunken party that night as evidence to back up their DUI charges. And do not ever post about the drunk driving arrest online; if you accidentally admit you had something to drink, others could find it as evidence, and future employers may decide not to hire you because they see the DUI arrest and don’t care that you were found innocent later.
Do not try to log into social media while driving away or you’ll compound the problem with a distracted driving charge, while giving cops the option to switch charges to distracted driving; while this is a zero point traffic violation in California, if cops see you texting or calling while driving, they have further evidence that you were doing something in violation of the law even if it isn’t DUI.
Find Credible Witnesses
You need to identify witnesses to events as soon as possible who can testify to events. Witnesses who can back up your alibi that you weren’t drinking but went home after blood sugar problems or had only a single drink before using your inhaler can make the difference between guilty and not guilty. The designated driver friend who never had a sip has more weight in court than five similarly soused friends who say you’d never drive drunk but don’t know exactly how much you had.
Hire a Good DUI Lawyer
DUI cases are not something you should refer to your law school buddy. If you lose this case, you lose your ability to drive for weeks or months, and violating any strictures the court puts on you could send you to jail. Severe DUI cases like repeat offenses or those involving injuries can land you in jail.
This is why it is essential that you call a defense attorney immediately after you’ve get home with all the needed information. And it’s always better to go for someone in your county, so if you live in Fresno, you shouldn’t have to ask when to call a Fresno DUI defense attorney; you should do it immediately.
Getting tagged with a DUI can be very scary, especially when you don’t know what to do. Make sure that you know the proper procedures after a DUI so you don’t aggravate your situation.