Charged with DWI? Wondering what to do next? If you have recently been charged with DWI/DUI in the Minneapolis area, then you have come to the right place. Being arrested and dragged into the criminal justice system can be a terrifying experience. Facing DUI charges can be especially stressful because not only is your reputation and your freedom on the line, but also your driver’s license. For many DUI offenders, this is their first time ever encountering the law and they don’t know what to do or who to turn to. That is why I have listed out some best practices for clients to follow after being arrested for DUI.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
As a U.S. citizen you have the constitutional right to remain silent and you have the right to an attorney. These rights are given to you as a way to protect yourself from injustice and from incriminating yourself by making statements while in custody. Since you have the right to remain silent, you do not have to answer the questions that police investigators ask you at the time of your DUI stop or arrest. If you are indeed over the influence, then this rule is especially important- by telling law enforcement officials that you have been drinking, you are giving them probable cause to conduct a chemical test and to arrest you. The U.S. constitution also permits you the right to contact an attorney after you are taken into police custody. Your attorney can them come to the station and can be present during questioning. If you are unable to afford a DUI attorney however, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you.
Share Every Detail of the Arrest with Your Attorney
After being arrested for DWI, it is vital that you take swift legal action by obtaining an experienced DUI attorney. In order to develop a strong case, you will have to share all the details leading up to your arrest and explain why you were first pulled over. Were you swerving, speeding or driving recklessly? Were you driving to slow or were you stopped at a sobriety checkpoint? You should also inform your lawyer of every test that you were subjected to. Did you perform all the field sobriety tests? If you were asked to perform sobriety tests, then tell your attorney which ones such as the standing on one leg or the walk and turn. Also tell them if you failed the breathalyzer or blood test? Other intricate details can also be pertinent to your case such as sleep deprivation, certain medications you are taking, or what illness or conditions you have that could cause disorientation and be confused with intoxication. If this is your second offense, be sure to share that information with your attorney so they can form a strategy to help you evade harsher consequences.
Show Up to Court & Fulfill Your Conviction
It may go without saying, but even if you are innocent you should show up to court on your given day in order to avoid further DWI penalties. If you are found to be driving with a BAC of higher than .08%, then you could be found guilty of drunk driving, depending on the laws of your state. If you are indeed convicted of DWI/DUI, then you may be ordered to pay court costs and fines, spend mandatory time in jail and face license revocation for a period of time. You will also be placed on probation in which time you must fulfill all the terms and requirements of your probation agreement, otherwise you could face further penalties.
Get Your License Back & Carry Proper Insurance
Even after you license revocation period is over, typically your license won’t be handed over to you until you prove yourself. In order to regain your driving privileges you may have to complete an educational program such as DUI school or defensive driving school. You may also have to undergo evaluation and treatment in order to ensure that you don’t have a serious drinking problem. There are alcohol treatment support groups and treatment meetings available to those you need to address their drinking issue before getting behind the wheel of a car again. There is also a further consequence of getting a DUI, which requires carrying special car insurance called SR-22. This insurance will cost you double your regular insurance premiums, but it is sometimes required before you can legally drive your vehicle after a DUI conviction.
DUI Expungement & Cleaning Up Your Record
Having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can make it difficult for you to find employment and to find affordable auto insurance. If you do have multiple DUI offenses on your record, then there may be a possibility that you can remove your DWI conviction after a certain period of time passes by. With the help of an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney, you may be able to have your DUI arrest either removed from the record or sealed. This process of cleaning up your record is known as expungement. By expunging your prior DUI offense, your conviction can no longer be found by employers, schools or government agencies.
If you have been arrested for DWI/DUI and you need experienced legal counsel to help guide you through this process, then speak with a Minneapolis criminal attorney from my firm today for a free case review!