Getting arrested for a DUI can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life, no matter if it is your first time or your third time. However, since there are many pitfalls you could encounter that could lead right toward conviction, what you do after your arrest is the most important part of your case.
The following are the most common mistakes people make after a DUI arrest:
- Speak to the police - People often attempt to talk their way out of a DUI. Unfortunately, the more you talk, the more evidence you provide law enforcement to be used against you in court. Remember, invoke your right to remain silent and have an attorney present when you speak with police.
- Not hire a lawyer - The sooner a lawyer gets involved in your case, the faster he/she can help. An attorney can protect your rights, build an effective defense strategy on your behalf, and help you get the most favorable outcome possible.
- Use a public defender - While the court can appoint you an attorney if you cannot afford one, relying on the public defender system is not recommended. Since they are overloaded with many cases, public defendants cannot provide you with the type of representation for your best interests. Rather than seek the best results, they will typically try to resolve the case with prosecution as fast as possible--often through a plea deal.
- Plead guilty - Just because you got arrested, doesn’t mean you’re automatically convicted. When you plead not guilty at arraignment, you give yourself the opportunity to build a strong defense case in your favor. If you plead guilty or no contest, not only will your punishment be determined by the discretion of the judge, but you will also have a permanent mark on your criminal record.
- Fail to regain your driving privileges - Along with the criminal charge of DUI, comes with a civil action against your driving privileges. In other words, your driver’s license becomes suspended upon arrest. The arresting officer will issue you a Notice of Revocation, in which you are required to request an administrative license suspension hearing within 15 days of the date of your arrest. If you fail to request a hearing, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six months.
- Driving without a valid driver’s license - Unfortunately, many people risk driving on a suspended license in order to commute to work or even for emergencies. Keep in mind, you are not allowed to drive at all. Driving with a suspended license due to a DUI charge can lead to increased jail time and fines.
- Not take the charges seriously - A DUI conviction is punishable by a jail sentence, fines, license revocation, community service, and DUI school, among other penalties. Ignoring the charge will not simply make it disappear. In fact, failing to take action in your case, whether by missing court dates or driving with a suspended license, can make matters worse.
When it comes to a DUI arrest in Oklahoma, do not hesitate to get our Norman criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. on your side. Contact us immediately so we can help you get the best results possible.