No one plans to be arrested for drunk driving. It can be an embarrassing and potentially expensive process. However, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world and in some cases, it doesn’t even have to result in a drunk driving conviction. Here are the top five actions you should take if you’ve been charged with drunk driving:
- Hire an attorney immediately.
Many times, the police make mistakes that might lead to your drunk driving offense being dismissed, reduced, or resulting in an acquittal at a jury trial. Often, however, those mistakes are only discoverable because evidence of those mistakes is contained on video. Some police departments have a policy of destroying or writing over videos after a relatively short period of time. So, it is important that you contact and hire an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so that they can obtain all of the evidence before it has been destroyed.
- Get treatment if you need it.
Many times, an arrest for a drunk driving offense can be a wake-up call to an alcohol problem. Sometimes, it was just a one-time mistake for a casual drinker. You need to figure out, being honest with yourself, which it is for you. Your bond conditions are going to require that you abstain from the use of alcohol and other controlled substances while the case is pending. If you can’t do that, the court will put you in jail until the case has been resolved. If you need help to abstain from the use of alcohol, now is the time to seek treatment.
- Talk to your attorney about the consequences, and be prepared.
Drunk driving convictions can carry serious consequences, including jail time, fines and court costs, driver’s license sanctions, and increased insurance prices. Discuss with your attorney what is likely to happen given the prosecutor and judge assigned to your case, and how best to minimize the consequences. You don’t want to wait until a potential sentencing is approaching to start doing the things you need to do to prevent bad things from happening.
- Think long-term.
When you explore what to do in your case, you should consider both the long-term and short-term consequences when you make your decision about how to move forward. Many people make short-sighted decisions in order to avoid short-term consequences, making the long-term consequences worse. Talk these things through with your lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer Grand Rapids, MI trusts, and make sure you are making the best decision for you, long-term.
- Don’t be afraid to take an appropriate risk.
Often, the difference between a drunk driving offense and an impaired driving offense is minimal. If you’re only getting a minimal benefit from a plea offer, don’t be afraid to tell your lawyer that you want to take your case to a jury trial. Even if winning at trial is a long-shot, it is often worth the risk. If you do win, that is a big reward that will help you avoid some significant consequences.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense.