Being arrested on a first offense is a frightening experience, especially if you haven't ever been arrested or involved with the criminal justice system before. Faced with the prospect of being arrested for the first time, many people do not know what to do next or how to protect their rights. There is a lot at stake when you're facing charges, as you could end up losing your driver's license, facing high insurance costs, living with a criminal record, and even going to jail in some cases. You cannot afford to make mistakes just because you aren't sure how the criminal justice process works.
Every case is different, so the best approach to responding to your DUI charges is going to vary based on lots of factors unique to your situation. However, there are some common mistakes which drunk driving defendants end up making which everyone should avoid because they don't help anyone's case.
Some of the key mistakes that you want to avoid include:
- Saying anything incriminating. You have the right to remain silent. Do not admit that you had anything to drink, apologize for being drunk, or provide any information that could be used to help secure a guilty verdict against you. Simply remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney.
- Assuming a high BAC means you'll be found guilty. A lot of people give up on the idea of defending themselves just because they have a blood alcohol concentration test that shows they are over the legal limit. A BAC above .08 doesn't necessarily mean you will be convicted every time. There are ways to defend yourself, including getting the test suppressed or introducing doubt about its accuracy.
- Delaying your response to DUI charges. You need to make smart choices right away after an arrest because you will need to enter a plea right away and you need to fight to keep your right to drive. Get a lawyer's help as soon as you can so you can respond aggressively and assertively to serious accusations against you.
- Getting pressured into a plea deal. There are situations where admitting guilty and negotiating a plea makes sense. There are also situations where you could potentially get a better outcome if you did not take a plea and admit guilt. You shouldn't let a prosecutor pressure you into accepting a deal before speaking to a lawyer first to find out what your options are.
The best way to avoid problems is to make sure you get the right legal advice. A defense attorney who handles DUI cases can start providing you with essential information about how to respond to your charges right away after your arrest. Call a lawyer as soon as you can when you've been accused of a first offense DUI so you can avoid mistakes that could cost you in the future.