A drunk driving arrest is often most people's first experience with law enforcement and with the criminal justice system. Many people are not familiar with the steps they can take after an arrest or what processes will determine their fate. Unfortunately, this leads to people making mistakes after a first offense DUI that end up costing them in terms of the outcome of their case.
Drunk driving is serious, even if you have been charged with the offense for the first time and you have no prior criminal record. You cannot afford to make mistakes when your future is on the line.
Top Mistakes After a First Offense DUI
After a first DUI offense, some of the most common mistakes people make include:
- Not fighting an administrative license suspension. An administrative suspension of your license is automatic in Alabama after refusal to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test and/or after a failed BAC and DUI arrest. You can try to fight the suspension, but there are strict deadlines for requesting an appeal.
- Assuming a failed BAC test is going to mean a guilty verdict. A lot of people assume if they had a .08 AC or higher as shown on a blood, breath, or urine test that they will not be able to avoid a conviction. This is not necessarily true. It is often possible to suppress evidence if your rights were violated or to raise doubts about the prosecutor's evidence so you can avoid being found guilty even with a BAC above the legal limit.
- Not exploring all options for responding to charges. Many people are intimidated by their involvement with the criminal justice system, especially if the DUI arrest is the first time they have been in legal trouble. It can be tempting to just plead guilty to get the process over with but this could result in far-reaching consequences. You need to make smart and strategic choices when deciding how to respond to charges.
- Not getting legal help. You may assume you cannot afford a lawyer or that you do not really need a lawyer, especially if you plan to plead guilty. However, having professional legal help is important because a lawyer could potentially help you avoid conviction or negotiate a more favorable plea deal than would otherwise be possible. You can save a lot of money in higher insurance costs and other fines if you are able to avoid conviction or reduce charges, so it makes sense to find a qualified lawyer to help you.
- Not beginning to gather evidence right away. If you hope to defend against charges, you need to ensure you begin an investigation into the evidence against you as soon as possible after you are arrested.
It is important to act quickly and get legal help following a first offense DUI arrest. Your future is at stake, so be sure to have someone knowledgeable looking out for you.