A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is something very serious that you cannot ignore. You need to actively fight against the charges and protect your rights. You could face extensive penalties if you are convicted. You should know how to deal with a DUI or DWI charge and how to handle the potential penalties in your state.
Hire an Experienced Defense Lawyer Right Away
The best way to deal with DWI or DUI charges and penalties is to hire an experienced lawyer immediately. An attorney will put up a strong defense against the charges. You might be able to avoid a conviction. The lawyer could invalidate the evidence or have the charged reduced.
Do Not Admit Guilt or Reveal Unnecessary Information
Something to remember is to never admit guilt or reveal unnecessary information when stopped and arrested. You want to answer questions from the arresting officer concisely without any extraneous detail. If the officer keeps requesting detailed information, then refuse to answer until your lawyer is present.
Petition for Driving Privileges As Soon As Possible
Your license is going to be suspended when you are arraigned for a DUI or DWI. There is usually a way to petition for driving privileges. You could do this through the courts or through a local government agency. You might be able to get a conditional license or a hardship license so you can continue to go to work or fulfill necessary responsibilities.
Present Mitigating Factors
Present as many mitigating factors as possible. Mitigating factors could include being on prescription medications at the time of the stop, completing an alcohol rehab program or having a blood alcohol level that was just marginally above the legal limit. Mitigating factors can reduce your penalties significantly.
Try To Negotiate a Plea Deal
Try to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. This is most effective when you have a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. A plea deal can reduce your penalties, keep you out of jail and avoid a trial. Plea deals are a better way to handle a charge that going to trial in most cases.
Request Alternative Sentencing
If you are convicted of A DUI or DWI, then make a serious request for alternative sentencing. A typical alternative sentence can involve mandatory substance abuse treatments, doing community service or staying on probation for the coming year. You might even be able to have the charge removed if you complete the alternative sentence and stay out of trouble.
Take Classes or Enter Rehabilitation
Take classes about controlling your substance abuse or enter into a rehabilitation program if you have problems with addiction. This can help while you are awaiting a trail by showing a positive change. It can help after a conviction by teaching you how to avoid driving under the influence in the future.
Attempt to Get the Charge Expunged or the Record Sealed
It might be possible to get the DUI or DWI expunged from your record in certain states. Alternately, you might be able to have your record sealed so that the charge is hidden. Both are legal processes that require a lawyer. If you are successful, then you will have a clean record again. You can usually try this a few months to a year after the conviction.