Drinking and driving is the most common crime committed in the United States today. It has been reported that if all people who have said they have driven while under the influence were given their own state, they would live in the fifth most populated state in the nation. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are some things that you need to do. From finding the right DWI lawyer to taking care of yourself and family, here are the things you need to do if you face this charge.
- Shut up. There is a reason police officers and other law enforcement officials read a suspect their “Miranda” rights. You should heed this advice. It can be hard to keep shut. A lot of people become very chatty when they are nervous. Do whatever you can to avoid chatting yourself into a conviction.
- Bond out. If you are booked into jail, you should do whatever you can to bond out. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives people protection against “cruel and unusual punishment” and the right to a “fair and reasonable” bond. Now, that is a subjective idea and the judges in the country have a lot of leeway there but you should get out of jail as soon as you can. Some people claim that defendants can do everything for their case in jail that they can do from home but this is not at all true.
- Get a good DWI lawyer. When you are able to talk to lawyers, you should start. Finding the right DWI lawyer is one of the most important things you can do for your case. Here are some things you can do to find the right DWI defense attorney. Here are some things you can do to get the right one for you:
- Ask your friends and family. Given the large number of people who are arrested for this crime every day, the chances are good that you know someone who has been through this experience. Talk to everyone you trust about their experience with defense attorneys. You may end up going with a different DWI lawyer than the one your friend or family member hired but this can give you an idea of where to start.
- Take advantage of the free first consultations. Law firms in the United States offer free consultations for people who are considering hiring them. This is a good time for you to get to know the law firm and for them to get to know you and what is involved with your case. This is a normal way they do business so take your time when you are talking to them.
- Talk to at least three law firms. Before you hire anyone to help you with your defense, you need to take the time to talk to at least three different criminal defense law firms. It is very tempting to want to go with the first law firm you talk to but this is an urge you should resist. When you take the time to talk to a few lawyers at different law firms, you get a better sense of what your options are and how you should proceed. While it is true that you may end up hiring the first lawyer or law firm that you talked to, this is an important decision and you will feel better about the decision you make if you have done your legwork.
Listen to your DWI lawyer. Many innocent people are arrested and sent to prison every year so you need to do everything your DWI attorney and make your case as strong as possible. Your DWI lawyer is an expert at defending people in the same position. If they tell you to do something, you should absolutely do it.
It may seem like being arrested for a charge like this and needing to consult with DWI lawyers is the end of your life. The experience is terrifying and embarrassing. The good news is that this is not the end of anything. Being charged with a crime is very different from being convicted of one.