Have You Been Charged with a DUI?
Are you dealing with a DUI arrest in Minnesota or North Dakota? While drunk driving charges are never good, there are steps you can take to protect your interests, fight the charges when appropriate, and work toward moving forward with your life. Much of this depends on finding a good DUI attorney. Reichert Law Office has extensive experience in defending clients who have been arrested for driving under the influence in Minnesota and North Dakota.
A DUI can be stressful, expensive and have long-lasting negative effects on your life, but it’s important to remember that you are considered innocent until proven guilty. Below, we offer advice on the steps to take after a DUI arrest.
1. Record the Facts
You’ll need accurate details when fighting a DUI charge. As soon as you are able, write down what you remember about being pulled over, arrested and processed. This information will help your DUI lawyer understand your situation and develop a sound defense. Things to consider include:
- Your drinking history that day, including the time of your last drink.
- Where you were pulled over.
- The date and time you were stopped.
- The reason the officer gave for pulling you over.
- Your interaction with the officer.
- The type of testing you received.
- What happened on the way to the station and when you arrived there.
- Any witnesses who can back up your story.
- Acquire a copy of your complete driving record from the DMV.
Drunk driving charges are embarrassing, which makes it difficult to tell anyone about them. However, you should communicate your situation to anyone who will be directly affected by it, including your employer, especially if your job requires you to drive. The company you work for will need as much time as possible to make other arrangements.
3. Find Your Automobile
It’s standard practice for law enforcement to arrange to have a vehicle towed to an impound lot when they arrest a drunk driver. When you post bail, you may receive information about where your car has been taken; if not, try calling the police station (not 911).
Before going, be sure to call the impound lot to find out what you’ll need to bring with you to get your car back. Remember, impound fees add up quickly, so the sooner you retrieve your vehicle, the less money it will cost you.
4. Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney
As we mentioned earlier, DUIs have lasting consequences. Unlike a traffic light violation, which you might be able to explain your way out of, a DUI is a criminal offense. Because you have so much on the line, hiring a lawyer who knows DUI laws and has experience arguing DUI cases is a must.
A DUI may involve the loss of your driver’s license, permanent seizure of your vehicle, fines, jail time, probation and increased insurance premiums. Ultimately, the circumstances surrounding your drunk driving charges will determine how severely the judge punishes you. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you build a case from the information you provide, which bring to light any discrepancies or contributing factors, which may result in reduced or dropped charges or lighter sentencing.
5. Consider Treatment
You may wish to consider seeking treatment or counseling if you have been charged with a DUI. Clients are sometimes hesitant to do this as they believe it amounts to an admission of guilt; however, if you are honest about wanting to take responsibility for your actions and live a different lifestyle, getting help may indicate to the judge and prosecutor that you are committed to change. This may make them open to negotiation and more lenient at sentencing time.
6. Keep a Level Head
While being charged with drunk driving is stressful and humbling, it’s important to keep your perspective. Arrests are not convictions and, as we stated, you are innocent until proven guilty. A positive attitude, owning up to your part in the situation and committing to making better choices in the future will ensure your life has purpose. Having a job or attending school regularly could indicate to the prosecutor and judge that you are a valuable and contributing member of society.
7. Attend Court Dates
Most important of all, be sure to attend court and present a good image. Be on time, groomed and well-dressed. Be respectful and treat the matter as the serious issue it is. Never interrupt the process, speak out of turn or yell in the courtroom.
Trust that your criminal attorney has your best interests at heart.
Is a DUI Lawyer Worth It?
A survey performed by Lawyers.com indicates that “people who hired private attorneys were more than four times as satisfied with their lawyer than those who hired PDs (Public Defenders).” At Reichert Law Office of Grand Forks, our law firm understands that DUI charges in MN or ND can feel overwhelming.
As criminal defense attorneys, we want to assure you that we have had many DUI charges dismissed or pled down to a non-alcohol offense. Although possible, it is highly unlikely an individual without our experience could achieve these outcomes.
Even if you think you can go it alone on drunk driving charges, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation before going before the court after being picked up for DUI.