If you were pulled over by the cops while driving and were charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you may be unsure of what to do to try to mitigate your circumstances. Regardless of the extent of your DUI charge and any other related criminal offenses, you aren’t under the complete control of the system, and you can do things to try to move past your brush with the law and on with your life.
1. Be Cooperative
Arguing with the officer and showing other forms of resistance won’t get you out of an arrest and can work against you, so you should try to remain as cooperative as possible and follow the officer’s instructions. If you argue with the officer, you might say too much and end up incriminating yourself by accident. The officer might have not even suspected that you were under the influence and pulled you over for a different reason, and arguing to try to convince the officer that you’re sober when no drunk driving allegations were made could arouse suspicion and convince the officer to arrest you. You definitely shouldn’t resist arrest, as this could result in additional criminal charges, fines and jail time.
2. Know Your Rights
Even though you’ll want to remain cooperative, you shouldn’t let anyone violate your rights. Even if you’re arrested and held in custody, you still have rights that no one is allowed to legally violate, and an attorney you hire can try to prove any infringements upon your rights to a judge so that you’ll hopefully get the justice you deserve.
You have the right to remain silent when the officer questions you, and you’re not legally obligated to inform the officer of how much you had to drink since the police will likely already assume that you’re lying. You’re not required by law to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, but you may be arrested automatically and have your license suspended if you refuse to do so. If you’re in Tennessee, one of the Knoxville, Tennessee, lawyers who handles DUI cases can give you more detailed explanations of your rights to help you safeguard yourself against violations better.
3. Try to Post Bail
Bail is the condition that includes the amount of money that you’ll need to get out of jail so that you can wait at home until you’re able to go before a judge to decide your case. You can pay the bail yourself or call a family member or close friend to ask for the money.
If you or no one else can afford to pay your bail, you may still be able to get out of jail with a bail bond. A bail bondsman can be contacted to post bail on your behalf by issuing a bond and charging a service fee. When you go to court for sentencing, the bail money will be returned to the bail bondsman. If you don’t show up to court, which is known as skipping bail, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, and the bail bondsman may even offer a bounty for your arrest to try to recoup the money that was lost from the bail.
4. Complete Any Court-ordered Programs
The court may give you the option or require you by law to complete certain programs to fulfill your sentencing requirements. Completing a program may also reduce your charges. Failure to complete any programs could result in a longer jail sentence and additional charges being filed against you.
For DUI cases, courts often mandate or advise people to take defensive driving and drunk driving education courses to try to emphasize the seriousness of driving under the influence and prevent future DUI occurrences. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you may also be required to complete a substance abuse treatment program.
5. If Possible, Pay All Fines in Full
You’ll likely be issued fines in addition to any jail time, and you should try to pay these fines as soon as possible. Neglecting to pay your fines could result in additional fines and more jail time. If you don’t pay your fines in full and enroll in a payment plan, you’ll probably be charged more for service fees and interest, and paying the fines off completely can save you money in the long run. If paying fines is part of a probation deal, you may be in violation of your parole and could end up back in jail if you don’t pay the amounts in full or stop making payments.
You can resolve your DUI charges better and faster if you follow the right steps and remain calm and orderly throughout each process. A DUI attorney can be hired to assist you and help you protect your rights.
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