So, you got tagged with a DUI? Here’s what to do:
- Hire a lawyer (preferably, you know, one of us).
- Relax, your troubles are over.
Just kidding. A DUI is a serious offense, and dealing with it is serious business. Don’t relax until your fines are paid, your license is reinstated, and you are 100% committed to staying sober on the road.
If you have been charged with a DUI, the first thing to do is to find a good attorney. Your attorney can help you navigate the ins and outs of the process, including dealing with the prosecutor and the judge. You’ll need to tell your attorney everything about the stop, the investigation, and the charges. Your attorney will then request the police report and any other information the government has about the case.
Once the government’s evidence is turned over to your lawyer, he (or she) will review it, compare it to your version of the facts, and make sure that the police followed proper procedure, didn’t violate your rights, and collected the necessary evidence. If the police made any mistakes, your attorney will be able to leverage that into a better plea deal for you, or maybe even get the entire case dismissed.
Once all the evidence has been collected and reviewed, your attorney will enter into plea negotiations with the public prosecutor. Usually this involves a reduction of the charge, perhaps with a favorable sentencing recommendation, in order to avoid the time, expense, and (most importantly) risk associated with going to trial.
If your case settles, you will appear before the judge and tell him the terms of the settlement, and he (or she) will impose sentence. For first time offenders, this often means fines, license suspension, and perhaps some kind of class or treatment. For repeat offenders, punishment gets more severe, and jail time may be ordered.
If your case goes to trial, you have a whole different set of headaches. We’ll have to talk about those in another post.