If you’re charged with a DUI, you need to make sure to protect yourself so you have the best chance of defense. Your DUI attorney can only work with what you provide her, so make sure to do your due diligence and follow the steps below. Knowing what to do after you’ve been charged can go a long way to helping you Review the following tips and make sure to call a qualified DUI attorney right after you’ve been charged so you have the best chance at defending yourself against this serious charge.
You need to write down everything you possibly can about the incident from when you were pulled over onward. Consider things like time of day, location, the reason the police officer gave you for why you were pulled over, and what you said to the officer. Make a note of any information you might have given the officer about what you’d eaten or drank because certain diets and foods can throw off breathalyzer tests. Speaking of the test, were you tested by a breathalyzer test? If so, what did the device look like? Even better if you know what type it was. Were you given a field sobriety test?
The important thing to remember about this information is that it doesn’t belong to anyone but your attorney. Do not talk about the incident itself with anybody, even your best friend, until your case is over. You could slip up and say something that could be twisted or used against you without even realizing it.
Were you pulled over 20 minutes after you were with friends who know you weren’t drinking? Call them and see if they’d be willing to testify as to your whereabouts. Having an alibi witness, or a few, can be the difference between living with the ramifications of a DUI conviction or having that charge overturned. You’ll want to contact these people quickly because your DUI lawyer will want to talk to them as close to the time of the stop as possible. Memory is fickle and fades quickly, so the sooner you can get witnesses to vouch for you, the better.
If they aren’t already, make sure to go through and mark all of your online and social media profiles as private. You’d be surprised what can be used against you, even if it doesn’t seem incriminating. Let’s say that earlier in the night, you and your friends were being silly and posted a photo where you seemed inebriated. Even if you weren’t, that silly photo could be used against you, out of context, to prove that you were drunk that night. In this day and age, we’re well beyond “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”. It’s anything you say or post. So make sure to mark all those profiles as private as soon as possible.
Don’t talk to anybody about what happened until you’ve spoken with your attorney. Particularly, don’t post anything on social media about the incident. What’s more, don’t talk to the police officers unless you have to. If you have to offer your name or answer basic yes or no questions, that’s one thing, but even those can lead you astray. Beyond your identifying information and a denial that you were drinking and driving, you shouldn’t say anything or answer open-ended questions. Again, just as you’re looking for ways to protect yourself, the officers are looking for proof that you were drinking and driving, and your words can and often are taken out of context when you get to court. Respectfully refuse to answer the questions and tell them you want to speak to an attorney before you respond. You’re within your rights to do that, and it’s smart to exercise those rights.
You need to call a qualified DUI attorney in your area right away. Only an experienced lawyer will be able to help you create the best possible defense so you can get on with your life as soon as possible. Trying to defend yourself without an attorney is not a smart idea, as the legal system is not created for the average person to understand it or be successful in it. There’s a reason law school exists, so let a qualified DUI attorney handle your case for you.
No matter what, a DUI charge is serious in nature and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep your comments to a minimum, write down everything you can remember, and don’t talk to anyone about it until your case is over. Make all of your online profiles private, and contact an experienced DUI attorney in your area right away so you have the best possible chance of reversing your charge when you go to court. It’s your right to have a qualified lawyer on your side when you go to court, so utilize that right and protect yourself.