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Published On: Tue, Dec 20th, 2022

What to Do Following a DUI

When you’re arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it’s not just a matter of being pulled over and taken to jail. In order to regain your driver’s license, you’ll need to hire an attorney, appear in court, and pay fines. 

Below are some of the essential steps to get going in the right direction.

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Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

Get a Lawyer

The first step in the process is to get a lawyer. In many ways, this is the most important decision you will make, but it’s also one of the toughest. Getting a DUI charge dismissed or reduced will depend on the attorney’s skills and knowledge of DUI law in the state. 

Before hiring an attorney, ask what kind of track record they have with similar cases. A good lawyer should be able to tell how many other clients were found not guilty or at least had their charges reduced by pleading down from “DUI” or “DWI” charges under similar circumstances.

Go to Court

Go to court! For many, this may seem like common sense, but every year, thousands of people skip their court dates. You’ll have to attend the hearing in person and be prepared to present evidence, such as receipts from the day of the arrest or witness testimony that supports your case.

If you don’t have a lawyer, go to court anyway. Even if you can’t afford a lawyer, it’s better to go than not show up at all (which could result in fines). A public defender can represent you for free if there’s no other option available—but it would be helpful if they had more notice before trial dates so they can give their best possible representation.

A quick note about public defenders: It’s common for them to represent hundreds of clients at once, so they don’t have the time to get to know the case as well as an attorney who is hired. While a public defender is still better than nothing, be aware that they may not be able to meet your needs.

Look online or ask friends for recommendations if you need a lawyer. Reach out as soon as possible after being arrested on DUI suspicion so that an effective defense strategy can be prepared before the trial date.

Pay Your Fines

Most DUI convictions come with fines. The fines are usually due within 30 days of the court date, but they vary from state to state and can range from $100 to $1,000. Unless you pay the fine on time or in full by the end of the license suspension period, your driver’s license will be suspended again until it is paid.

You will have to pay fees at the DMV to reinstate your license. The amount owed varies from state to state, but is generally between $100 and $500. You may also be required to take additional testing to prove that you have changed ways and are unlikely to repeat the offense. In addition to these fees, there is generally a waiting period before you can regain your license.

Conclusion

DUI arrests are complicated, but they don’t have to be overly stressful. The best way to get through this experience is by being prepared for what’s ahead and staying focused on the goal: getting your life back on track. While you should never plan or put yourself in a position to get a DUI, knowing the process of what to do can help reduce fees and move the process along quicker. 

 

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