Four Things You Should Never Do When Charged With A DUI
Getting arrested and charged with driving under the influence is one of the scariest things that can happen to you. Whether you truly were driving under the influence or not, how you behave and act in the coming months will determine whether you end up keeping your license, paying huge fines, or getting the charges reduced/dismissed. If you want things to go well, here are four things you should definitely not do.
1. Argue with the officer
Even if you are absolutely not drunk and completely disagree with the officer who is arresting you, it is not smart to argue with the officer. Do so, and you may end up not only with a DUI charge but also with a charge for resisting arrest. Even if the DUI charge is ultimately dismissed, the charges for resisting arrest could stick—and it's hard to get out of such a charge. Plus, arguing with the officer just builds evidence that perhaps you are under the influence, since many people become more hostile and less agreeable when under the influence. Just go along with what the officer says, be polite, and cooperate.
2. Refuse the breathalyzer test
While you can legally refuse a breathalyzer test, doing so is not a good idea. If you refuse the test, the judge will have to base the determination as to whether or not you were drinking on the officer's observations. If the officer pulled you over and arrested you, this means they have considerable evidence to suggest you are drunk. In the best case, the breathalyzer will show that you are less drunk than the officer thought. In the worst case, it will be additional evidence of your intoxication when there is already (probably) enough evidence to show you were intoxicated. Refusing the breathalyzer will just make you seem more guilty, and in some states, this action alone can mean your license will be suspended for several months or a year.
3. Try to represent yourself
Many drivers presume that they can represent themselves in court following a DUI arrest—much like you may if you were given a traffic ticket. But getting charged with a DUI is much different from getting a traffic ticket. A traffic ticket is just a violation, and the stakes of getting it dropped or reduced are not too high. A DUI is an actual criminal charge, so you really do not want it lingering on your record. Arguing against a DUI charge is complex and difficult, so you really need a DUI lawyer to do this for you. Find someone who focuses on DUI charges to represent you—it's well worth the cost, as it will mean reduced fines.
4. Drive without a license
In some states, your license gets taken away when you are charged with a DUI, and you do not get it back until after your court date. If this happens to you, absolutely do not drive without your license. Find a friend to drive you, take the bus, or ride your bike. If, for some reason, you are caught and arrested, you will have a much harder time getting the DUI dropped, and you will also face the charge of driving without a license! You should also avoid drinking heavily after a DUI; you don't want to accidentally make another mistake.
Getting charged with a DUI is a troublesome experience, but you will make it through. Avoid making the mistakes above, and rely on your lawyer for additional tips and advice throughout the process. With a good lawyer on your side, the situation should end without any lasting consequences.