What You Should Do Right Away If You’ve Been Accused Of DUI?
If you’ve recently been stopped by the police and accused of DUI you probably have a billion thoughts racing through your head. You’re likely scared and extremely anxious, especially if you have never been charged with a crime before:
- What will happen to me?
- Will I lose my driver’s license?
- Will I go to jail?
- Will my car insurance go up?
- Could I lose my job?
- Who should I talk to?
Here are a few things you should do right away after being charged with DUI. If you follow these steps you will be well-prepared to make the right decisions and will put you in the best position to assist your attorney in defending your DUI case.
1. Write Everything Down.
Criminal cases are won and lost by the attorney who pays attention to the details. DUI’s are no different. If you want to win your case, write down everything you remember from your vehicle stop, no matter how insignificant you think it might be. Do it now, right away. You are human, and like all of us, your memory will fade over time, and important details that could help win your case could be lost. Our suggestion is to obtain and use a simple voice recorder app on your smart phone and record yourself going over every step, from what you were doing before you were stopped, up to and including what you did up to 8 hours after you got home. Here are some questions to jog your memory:
- When and where were you stopped?
- What reason did the officer give for your stop?
- Was a breath test administered? If so, what did the device look like?
- What did you tell the officer about what you had to eat or drink?
- What sort of tests did they do? (Eye tracking, walk and turn, one leg stand?)
- What was the area like where they gave you the tests?
- Was the officer taking notes or writing anything down while you were taking the tests?
- Did the officer ask you if you had any medical conditions?
Take some time to record everything you can remember from the stop. Just don’t share it with anyone but your attorney. You’ll thank yourself later.
2. Edit your Social Media Accounts.
How many times have you seen the cops on TV reading the suspect their rights saying, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law?” Well, in this era of social media, anything you post online can and will be used against you too. Prosecutors and detectives often download gigabytes of information from Facebook and Twitter looking for incriminating evidence to use against DUI defendants, especially if they are from the night of the actual incident. Presented out of context, these materials can damage your reputation enough to turn a jury against you – even if you’re innocent. Don’t give the other side incriminating information. What you think is innocent, a jury might not see that way. Remove any incriminating photos or posts of yourself online today. You can and should mark your profile as private. Be circumspect with regards to what you post on social media.
3. Locate possible Witnesses
Talk to your friends, family, and acquaintances – especially if they saw you right before, right after, or even during your stop. Record their recollections about your behavior and appearance. Ask them if they would be willing to testify on your behalf in court. Witnesses can go a long way to strengthen your defense, so gather as many as you can. Your attorney will want to interview them and formally obtain their statements- because people tend to forget things rather quickly. A drinking or non-drunk witness, who can counter police testimony or even provide an alibi, can make the difference between a conviction and a not-guilty verdict.
4. Hire the most experienced DUI Lawyer
The most important decision you’ll make in your case is choosing which lawyer to have defend you in court. DUI cases involve a lot of different factors. The test reports that are normally the main piece of evidence are supposed to follow specific scientific procedures. Knowing the procedures better than the lab technicians, the police and the District Attorney is the primary way an attorney can challenge those results. Look at how much training the attorney has in DUI specific courses. Does the attorney run a guilty plea factory or is he an experienced trial attorney? How many jury trials has the attorney conducted? Do your research and conduct your due diligence like you would for any other major decision in your life. Take the time to and meet with a few lawyers before you make your decision. Make sure to ask them about their credentials before making a final choice.
5. Don’t Overthink It
Your DUI case is likely among the most stressful events you have ever experienced in your entire life. It’s natural to worry about the consequences and what is ultimately going to happen to you. Let your attorney take worry about the details. You will need to maintain good communication with your attorney and ask about anything that might concern you. An experienced attorney will fight for you, and can take much of the stress and burden off your shoulders. Do your best to continue living your life as normally as possible under the circumstances.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Southeastern Pennsylvania, please call Bompadre Law at (484) 854-3371. Attorney Bompadre is a highly experienced DUI Attorney, who is highly-trained and can use his extensive knowledge to get favorable results for his clients. Call us today and see the difference experience makes.
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