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What you should do immediately after a DUI arrest?

An arrest for DUI can feel like the end of the world. Panicking will not improve the situation. However, certain actions may lessen your penalties. Here is what you should do right away.

Write down an account of what happened

As soon as you can, write down a record of what happened during your arrest. You should include details like why you were pulled over and whether you took field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests. If the officer asked you questions about what you had to drink, record this information as well. Law enforcement officers make mistakes too, so it is possible an officer made an error in protocol during your stop.

Request an administrative license suspension hearing

You have 30 days after you are arrested to request an administrative license suspension hearing. You must fill out a form and pay a fee. Without this hearing, your license is automatically suspended. The length of the suspension depends on whether you refused a breathalyzer or failed a breathalyzer test.

You may be able to get your license reinstated at the hearing. You must prove the suspension was invalid. You can call witnesses on your behalf. However, if you are found guilty of DUI at the criminal hearing, you could lose your license anyway. It may be wise to talk to a criminal defense attorney who can represent your interests at both hearings.

Do not post anything on social media

Prior to your arrest, you may have been at a party or a bar. Social media posts can be used as evidence against you. If you posted a photo where it looks like you are drinking or at a bar, take the photo down. The same is true if your friend posted a photo. You never know about your friend’s privacy settings. You should also avoid talking about the arrest on social media, as this too could be used against you in court.

Do not plead guilty

You may think it is wise to plead guilty to get it over with. However, a conviction may mean jail time, fines and the loss of your license. You will also have a misdemeanor on your record. This can hurt your future job prospects, housing options and ability to get loans. You may be able to avoid all these consequences, particularly for a first-time DUI arrest. An experienced attorney may uncover mistakes the officer made or could negotiate a lesser sentence. You should not accept a guilty plea.

An arrest does not have to hurt your future. You have legal options for your defense.

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