Help! I’ve Been Arrested for a DUI Offense. What Should I Do?

Alcohol can trick your mind and body into thinking and feeling that everything is okay. Alcohol tends to stimulate areas of the brain that provide a sense of well-being and relaxation. At the same time, it inhibits the area of the brain responsible for sensible planning.

When under the influence, people experience far slower reaction times, a lack of coordination, and a tendency for “out of character” behaviors. Knowing these things, the typical drinker believes the following when consuming alcohol:

• They are less drunk than they think they are.
• They possess a heightened feeling of confidence that they can avoid accidents.
• They believe their reasoning power is fully intact, even enhanced.
• They believe that alcohol can help them to escape personal problems.

Alcohol Affects People Differently

Alcohol will never affect two people in the same manner. One has to consider gender, weight, how fast a person consumes alcohol, and the body’s degree of tolerance. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.06, for instance, indicates there’s 0.06g of alcohol for every 100ml of blood in a person’s body.

The Arrest Scene – What to Expect During and After

If you have been pulled over for drinking, the following scenario is likely to occur. Everyone’s situation may be different, but you can generally expect the following.

1. The officer will likely ask questions at the scene, handcuff you, and take you down to the station.

2. They may attempt to administer a breath analyzer test. If you are lawfully arrested in Florida with reasonable cause, the state’s consent laws imply that you must submit to a urine, blood, or a breath test to determine the level of alcohol in your blood. Those who refuse the test can suffer a penalty. Accepting the privilege to drive in Florida automatically gives law enforcement the right to ask a driver to submit to a physical or chemical test.

3. You may be placed in a secure area (drunk tank) where you will likely sit for a number of hours with others who have been arrested. Your picture (mugshot) will be taken, whereby it could be accessible to anyone via the Internet. An individual may also be required to change into prison clothing, handcuffed, and taken to the jail’s general population area.

4. Everyone has the right to be represented by an attorney. If you do not have your own, you’ll be asked if you wish to be represented by a public defender. You have the right to refuse representation, and may risk a small fine if you later change your mind. At some point, you can expect to be released if bail is posted. The amount of bail accepted/posted is usually 10 percent of the actual bail amount.

5. You will also have an opportunity to appear before a judge, who sets bail, and sets your future court date.

The Pros of Hiring a Lawyer

If your finances permit it, the best route is to hire a lawyer as soon as you can. Lawyers cost money and there’s always the chance that things may not pan out as you had hoped, but no one can argue the benefits of having a lawyer to help them through the stressful times ahead.

Call around and conduct some research. Many lawyers will accept an upfront fee to put things in motion. Just realize that this is a critical time in your life where few people will be sympathetic. Expect to be harshly judged. Many people quickly learn who is willing to stand with them, and who is not. A lawyer’s support is highly welcomed by many.

Court Preparation

If you have decided to hire a lawyer, you can expect that person to thoroughly investigate your case. If they are detailed, they will examine your case with a fine-toothed comb. Their mission is to uncover mistakes made by the police. This is another reason it is so critical to hire an attorney. They are skilled at their job and they know what to look for, and how to present it in a court of law. Sometimes, breath analyzer machines have glitches, or an office has failed to keep their operating certification up to date.

Just keep in mind that it all depends on how intoxicated a person happened to be. Police departments often have all their ducks lined up in a row. Before you spend thousands of dollars, make sure that you have a winnable case to begin with.

Deciding to Take a Plea or Stand Trial

Before your trial, you lawyer meets with the prosecution to determine how you will plead—guilty or innocent. Obviously, the sentencing received through a plea is generally expected to be less than what would be received if found guilty at trial. Many people who plead innocent are willing to go the full length of the trial to prove their innocence.

Another benefit of hiring a lawyer is they have ties in the community and other connections that could be beneficial to your case. Your lawyer can also conduct diligent research to find out who your judge will be. Each judge will have their own opinion and a record of how they rule in such cases. This is when your lawyer can advise taking a plea bargain.

Judges have been known to make examples of people charged with a DUI. There are some scenarios where losing at trial will lead to definite jail time. It can be tough standing in a courtroom and hearing a guilty plea, along with a list of the punishments that may follow. However, even at this stage, it means that you have made progress in your case.

What You Need to Know About a Hardship License

If you are unfortunate enough to have been charged with a DUI, your license may be taken away within 10 days. A hearing with your local DMV may be set up, whereby they will either permit, or deny, your license before your court date. This is another task your lawyer can take care of for you. If your analyzer test proved to be over the legal limit, it is unlikely that you can get your license restored at this time. Consider the following facts.

• There is a 30-day period (sit-out) where you will not be allowed to drive a vehicle.
• Enroll in a driving class. Before the DMV can grant a hardship license, a person must have enrolled in and passed the requirements of their driving class.

In reality, Florida may be one of the most forgiving states with respect to regulations surrounding a suspended license. Florida also allows, for those who take and pass the Advanced Driver Improvement course (ADI), to drive back and forth to certain restricted places. This allows individuals to start putting their lives back together.

Sentences Will Vary

One thing for sure, it is impossible to know what your sentencing will be. It may be a specific number of months to attend counseling, AA meetings, random urine tests, a victim awareness class, specific insurances, or even a requirement to meet with a probation officer on a monthly basis. As you can see, the price of having to deal with a DUI can be steep.

Getting Your Life Together After a DUI

Life goes on after a DUI—at least it should. No one can tell you ahead of time how things will turn out. However, with respect to your charges, possible plea bargains, and other legal factors, you may have to comply with specific court orders. Those court stipulations may include community service, house arrest, rehab for drugs or alcohol, or a revoked or suspended driver’s license etc. So, regardless of what the court hands down, make a point to comply with everything to the letter. This is essential if you are to get your life back on track.

Treatment Is Always Available

There could be a number of reasons why you feel the need to drink. Is it pressure at work, family or relationship problems? Whatever the case, there are alcohol and drug detox centers that can help you sort out the problems, identify the triggers that can cause relapse, and help you get back on the right track.

Find a Purpose in Life

Having a purpose goes a long way in improving your health as well. People with a purpose are less prone to take risks, unhealthy ones, that might place their well-being in danger. Having a purpose has kept many people on the “straight and narrow.” Everyone in their life benefits. On the other hand, things like a DUI can disrupt a person’s life in so many ways.

If you have been arrested for a DUI and are in need of professional legal counsel, call our offices today and we will give you a free consultation.