This post is all about what to do after a DUI arrest. If you just got picked up and charged with a DUI or related offense within the last month, or so, this post is for you.
This information will help you avoid some of the most common and serious mistakes people make after a DUI arrest.
1.) STFU. Seriously. Cease all contact with law enforcement or the DA. Literally, don’t speak with them for any reason other than to pick your stuff back up from the jailhouse. Certainly, don’t mention anything about your case. There’s never any advantage to doing so. And the disadvantage is you can really mess up your defense if you accidentally say the wrong thing.
2.) Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney – preferably one with significant experience helping people fight and win against DUI, DWI (driving while intoxicated, DUID (driving under the influence of drugs), reckless driving, and other significant offenses. Let your attorney handle ALL the correspondence and verbal contact with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office.
3.) Write down everything you can remember. Write down everything about the day you got arrested for a DUI. Note where you were, and who you were with. Who were the people present at the bar or the party? Who saw you right before you left? What was happening when you got pulled over? Was it dark? Was it raining? What did the law enforcement officer say to you? What did you say back, verbatim?
Have your lawyer walk you through the key data points and events to help jog your memory. Don’t fabricate or lie. But include as much information as possible. And share it with your attorney. You never know what piece of information will wind up being key to helping you form a defense, or blowing up the prosecution’s case.
4.) Get your car out of the impound lot. Click here to learn more about how to liberate your car from the police tow lot. Don’t delay! Every day your car stays on the lot racks up more charges.
Note: Some states will suspend your license immediately upon your DUI arrest. So that means you can’t just go down to the impound lot to pick up your car, because you won’t have a valid driver’s license. You might have to bring a licensed friend to drive it out of the lot, and to drive you and the car home.
To short circuit this process, you need to get SR 22 insurance in place (or if you’re in Florida or Virginia, an FR44 insurance filing). See step 6 for information on how to be able to do this.
5.) Engage with your state’s DMV. This is because when you are arrested for a DUI, it starts not one, but two separate processes that can cost you big time if you don’t get ahead of the game. The first process is the criminal prosecution. The second process – often overlooked or underestimated by people who’ve been charged with DUIs – is the administrative process at the DMV.
Specifics vary in every state. But in many states, as soon as you’re arrested, the license suspension clock starts ticking. If you fail to attend a hearing, or have a representative attend a hearing at the DMV within a certain number of days after your arrest, the DMV will automatically suspend your drivers’ license.
And the only way to stop the administrative suspension is to request a hearing at the DMV within ten days of your arrest.
Florida has a similar ten-day countdown. However, you may be able to get a temporary hardship license that will allow you to drive to work and back. But you must issue a challenge to the automatic administrative suspension of your driver’s license within 10 days of arrest.
So don’t forget: Once you’ve been arrested for a DUI or similar offense, you’re now fighting a two-front war. You must engage, fight, and prevail both on the criminal front at the courthouse, and on the administrative front at the DMV.
It’s much more difficult and expensive to get your suspended license reinstated than it is to keep it from getting suspended in the first place.
6.) Start getting competing quotes for SR 22 insurance. An SR 22 is a special document your insurance company files with your state DMV. It verifies that you have at least the minimum liability insurance in place that’s legally required in your state. It also verifies that your policy lapses for any reason, the insurance company will notify the state, which will then suspend your license until you get a new SR 22 filing. Click here for more information on SR 22 insurance and how to get it.
If your license has been suspended pending an SR22, or you believe such a suspension is imminent, call us immediately at (855) 438-7353, so we can help you get SR 22 insurance in place and get your license back as soon as possible so you can drive again.
Alternatively, you can click here to start the process of getting online SR 22 insurance quotes from a live agent. SelectSR22Insurance.com specializes in providing affordable car insurance and special solutions to people with a DUI arrest, conviction, or other negative marks on their record.
Make sure you have the right insurance agent! Not every agent is an expert on how to work with people with SR22, SR44, or other DUI filings or similar offenses on their driver’s record.
Here’s a brief video on the importance of having the right agent.
7.) Save up some money. DUI charges are expensive, even under the best of circumstances. So take some overtime, take up a side gig (maybe not Uber driving!), tighten up your expenses, and save as much money as you can. You’re going to need to have cash on hand or coming in to meet a lot of expenses as a result of a DUI arrest or conviction.
8.) Learn about DUI diversion programs in your state. These are programs that divert first-time offenders out of the criminal justice system. If this is your first offense, and there were no injuries and no property damage, and no other aggravating factors, you may be able to join a diversion program rather than go to jail.
Your attorney should know what options are available to you. However, any diversion programs will need to be approved by the DA’s office. These may not be available in all counties.
In most cases, it’s a good idea to take a diversion deal. But you might want to turn it down if you, under consultation with an attorney, believe you have a strong chance of getting the charges dropped or being acquitted altogether.
See you on the road!
Steve “Mr. Insurance” Ludwig
CEO, Select Insurance Group
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