Being Prosecuted for a DUI?
Here's What You Can Do
Insurance firms have estimated, via research, that approximately 43% of Americans have driven while under the influence of alcohol. You’re not alone. You might have done something that’s illegal and gotten caught for it, but you’re not the only person that’s done and certainly not the last. Plus, circumstances vary considerably. You might have been pulled over for driving erratically, caused an accident, hurt someone, or maybe you were just caught sleeping at your wheel with the engine idling.
Take Stock of the Situation
Try to clue yourself up on exactly what's happening. Pay attention to the dates, the letters and the information you’ve received since leaving custody (if your situation dictates it). As soon as you possibly can, you’ll want to find a good DUI lawyer who is well practised and versed in law in your local area. Getting the right advice from a legal perspective is vital. Listening to what your friends and family are telling you can only get you so far. At the same time, listening to the police or prosecutor can become a little overwhelming. Find yourself a lawyer, explain the whole situation without leaving anything out and go from there.
Show up when you’ve been asked to. Provide what you’ve been asked to provide. If you’ve got a good lawyer on your team they can advise you as you go, but being compliant will only do you a favour. Going the other way might make things a lot harder for you. Speak to your lawyer and tell the truth. They can’t defend you, or help you out, if they don’t know the whole truth of what happened. From start to finish, be honest with them and create a good working environment.
How Do You Know You’re Charged
The police would have told you at the time. The charge itself would have been read aloud to you along with the usual spiel about whatever you say might be used in evidence later on. You’ll be asked to sign a charge sheet too and you’ll get a copy of it which you should show to your lawyer. If there’s anything on the charge sheet you don’t understand, you can clarify it with the issuing station, or with your lawyer.
Be Careful Between Arrest and Courtdate
You don’t want to make things worse. Do all that you can to not end up in the same situation again, especially before a court date. Try to stay away from the booze completely and make sure you’re on your best behaviour when driving. It’ll be treated as a separate incident, but showing the judge you can drive well for the intermediary time can only be a good thing.
How Does the Ban Usually Work
It depends on the bail conditions set out which you’ll be made aware of before leaving the police station. Usually, you’ll be bailed until a set court date, up until you can still drive. If you’re banned on that date it’ll come into force immediately. It means it’s usually ill advised to drive to the courthouse if you think you may be given a ban because you won’t be able to get the car home. Again, it’s something your lawyer will be able to talk you through because certain states do things differently. What happens in Nevada, for example, will differ from what happens in New York.
Don’t Forget the Evaluation
In most jurisdictions and states you’ll be required to undergo an alcohol evaluation before you get full driving privileges restored. The same usually applies if you’ve been caught driving under the influence of drugs. The assessment program usually consists of a trained person evaluating your drinking habits to see if it adversely affects your life. It depends how well the evaluation goes, but sometimes the person being evaluated will be enrolled on an alcohol treatment program. Remember, it can’t just be any program, it has to be court approved. It can be a lengthy and frustrating process but one needed before you get back behind the wheel.