For many people, a drunk driving arrest is their first brush with the law. It’s the first time they’ve ever been read their Miranda rights, handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. It’s the first time they’ve spent time inside a jail cell.
If that’s what you’ve just been through, it’s understandable if the whole thing has left you in shock even after you’ve gotten home after posting bail or being released on your own recognizance. Maybe you don’t even want to think about what comes next. You know it’s going to be costly. You know you could end up having to spend a minimum of three days in jail.
An attorney can help you navigate the process and meet important deadlines
It’s easy to sink into despair or be paralyzed with fear. Neither is a state of mind that produces good decisions. That’s just one reason why you should get an attorney as soon as possible to help you navigate the justice system. Although police likely took your driver’s license and may have given you a temporary driving permit, you have 15 days to seek a hearing to contest your license suspension. That may be your most immediate concern.
An attorney can explore options for contesting the charge or minimizing consequences
It’s crucial, however, to understand that you may also have grounds to contest any number of things about the arrest and the state’s evidence. An attorney can review what happened to make sure the stop and the arrest were carried out legally. If you took a breath test with a Breathalyzer-type tool, they can verify that the tool was in working order and properly calibrated, for example. If you were forced to give a blood sample an criminal defense attorney can also determine if the instruments used in that test were used and working correctly.
If there’s no room for disputing the evidence or the arrest, it may still be possible to get the charge lowered if there weren’t aggravating factors like an extremely high blood alcohol level, an accident, or having a child in the car. There are advantages to having someone on your side who knows the local prosecutors and judges and can use the goodwill and respect they’ve built up over the years to advocate for you.
Even if you end up with a DWI conviction, there are alternatives that can allow you to minimize jail time. From the aftermath of your arrest through the weeks and months ahead, it’s crucial to have the guidance of an attorney who’s experienced in helping people who have been charged with drunk driving offenses to better ensure that your interests and rights are safeguarded as you move forward.