Being arrested for DUI is a serious matter that can lead to many complications which in turn can shatter the normal pace of one’s life. It helps your cause a great deal if your behavior is correct, dignified and cautious during and after the DUI arrest. Here are five tips on how to handle yourself and be on your best behavior to avoid the worst consequences.
To be absolutely safe it is best that you hold oral and private discussions with friends but try not to engage them on social media where your conversations would open up to a larger audience, and where some member might take offense and report you when you brag about Plan B to wriggle out of DUI. If your privacy settings are lax, people unknown to you may access your Facebook or Twitter profile and report your actions or conversations. There’s nothing to be gained by giving the prosecution a handle to beat you with. Never mention a DUI arrest or discuss proceedings in open forums when matters that are essentially sub-judice can be leaked out and cause irreparable damage to your reputation. Once your reputation takes a tumble it is very difficult to make up lost ground.
Hitting the hot spots and raging through the discos may not be the ideal past time when you are going through DUI proceedings. This is the time to lay low and keep a lower profile. You don’t want your face or profile to be the hottest topic of discussion in a small town. Besides, it doesn’t take long for friends and well-wishers to leak information on your state of intoxication or participation in all night parties. The judge has discretionary powers that need to be leveraged for lenient decisions, and outward displays of intoxication and party hopping do not improve your personal ratings. Your efforts should be geared towards projecting a clean and spotless community friendly image before the court for as long as the DUI proceedings are live and till a final judgement is delivered.
This is a huge temptation that many fall for – driving their car even after their license has been suspended. Suspension is a serious blow and it compounds your difficulty if you are caught driving on a suspended license. Potentially you expose yourself to fines aggregating to thousands of dollars and even an extended suspension or longer prison sentence. This is a risk you should not be taking. Use public transport or get a friend to drive you on important journeys.
You can forget your own birthday or wedding anniversary and nobody will kick the bucket, but forget the court appointed DUI hearing date and you may wish you were never born. Skipping the court appointment almost invariably leads to a bench warrant for arrest unless you have informed the court in advance why you couldn’t make it and you have asked the court for a reprieve or fresh date. The consequences may be that you could be sitting out the remainder of your time in jail waiting for the trial to terminate. It is not just a jail term; it’s a stain on your character and record. The court will likely see you as a trouble maker and one who cannot be trusted to attend hearings. It will also influence the judge and how he perceives the case. A negative perception with a judge will ruin your chances of getting a lenient verdict.
You may consider yourself a well read, articulate and intelligent person but those qualities are not substitutes for an experienced lawyer. The DUI involves many technicalities and complications – there is an ocean of technical jargon to be mastered, court dates to be followed up with prompt paperwork, driving restrictions that have to be comprehended carefully, local traffic codes that need to be understood in their entirety and knowing when to say what and in which manner. Obviously, you will be totally out of your depth, whereas the trained lawyer will be at home handling all the paperwork and ensuring you understand your role to perfection. Judges get annoyed if the accused presents his case himself because it is tougher on everybody when a novice is in their midst who doesn’t understand court procedures and etiquette.
Take for example a situation where the prosecution introduces evidence that violates evidentiary rules and may even be violating your fundamental rights. Those are moments when you should be briefed by an experienced lawyer how to react and respond and knowing where to object. Unless you know the rules and regulations governing administration of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and Preliminary Alcohol Screenings (PASs) you may be completely unaware how rules have been violated and where the evidence goes against the prosecution.
Driving drunk in the U.S. is considered as a serious offense, and stiff penalties and longer jail sentences should be reason enough for anyone to avoid being caught driving inebriated. If you find yourself arrested and booked for a DUI the least you could do is to avoid compounding the problem with indecorous behavior. The first thing you should do is maintain a Zen like silence (very difficult when you are drunk) and bide your time till your attorney’s presence is ensured.