Impaired driving killed 799 Floridians in 2021. If you drink alcohol, you should not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and attempt to operate it. However, that does not stop people, and they find themselves arrested and facing charges of a DUI and possibly other offenses.
Getting arrested for a DUI has far-reaching consequences that reach beyond getting your license suspended. Get yourself started on the right path by doing these five things.
1. Get Out of Jail and Locate Your Car
Your first course of action after a DUI is to get out of jail and locate your car. You cannot get released from jail until three things have happened:
- You are no longer under the influence of alcohol or any chemical substances;
- Your blood or breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05;
- Eight hours have passed since you were arrested.
This means you could get released in hours or have to wait until the next day to get released. If you can secure a bail payment, the processing of this begins once the booking process gets completed. The booking process is when you get your mug shot taken, fingerprints recorded, and personal information entered into the system.
Your car likely got impounded at the time of your arrest. Go through the administrative process to get your vehicle out of impound. The police can tell you your car’s location.
Pay for storage, towing, and other fees to release the car. If your license is already suspended, you must bring someone with you who can legally drive the vehicle home.
2. Save Your Ability to Drive
Following a DUI arrest, Florida drivers have 10 days to take administrative action about their driver’s license status. If you submit to the breath test, the automatic suspension is six months. If you refuse the breath test, the suspension is one year.
You have ten days to request a formal or informal review of the suspension. This can determine your eligibility for restricted driving privileges. This means that you could drive to school or work during your license suspension instead of being unable to drive at all.
This ability can reduce the stress and hardship you experience over the next couple of months. However, you lose the opportunity if you do not file for this review within the ten-day window.
3. Gather Any Relevant Evidence
Take an active role in the defense of your DUI by gathering as much evidence as you can as early as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be.
Collect and preserve any receipts from that day or night. Keep the original but also take a picture of them. Make copies or take screenshots of any photos taken, text conversations, social media posts, or calls. Nothing is too small to document, and you do not know what could become beneficial to your attorney in arguing your case.
If someone else witnessed your DUI arrest or was with you earlier in the evening, record their information. Your attorney can contact them at a later date to testify as to what they witnessed.
4. Write Down What Happened
As soon as you can, sit down and write down everything that happened surrounding your DUI arrest. The longer you wait, the less accurate and more incomplete your memory becomes. If you were drunk driving, your memory is already compromised, so it becomes even more vital that you record as much as you can remember right away.
Write clearly and legibly so your attorney and staff can easily read it. Skip every other line so you can easily add additional facts as you remember them. Set the scene by starting your recording 24 hours before the arrest.
Create a timeline of events and include little details like what and when you ate and how much sleep you had. Record where you want, when, and with you. For example, write down what you drank, how much, and when.
When recording the arrest, set the scene by describing the time of day, traffic level, location, and weather. Write down the reason you were pulled over. Sometimes it is for suspected DUI, and other times it is for another traffic infraction.
Record the conversation between you and the officer, if they had you perform Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises (SFSEs), and the breath test process. In some circumstances, an attorney could argue that the officer improperly performed these tests, and that resulted in a wrongful DUI.
5. Hire a Florida DUI Attorney
While you have the right to represent yourself, this can put you at a disadvantage. Hiring a DUI lawyer means you will have someone who knows the Florida criminal court system and laws. This ensures you have someone looking out for you and fighting for your best interest.
Well-established DUI lawyers have a reputation within the legal community and relationships with prosecutors. This can help them negotiate for a better outcome for your case.
You can also ask your lawyer questions about the legal process and your options. That way, you understand what your best options are.
Hire a DUI Lawyer to Represent You
Getting arrested for a DUI is a scary and stressful experience. There are questions you want to be answered along with criminal and administrative procedures that you now face. This is not an arrest to ignore, so taking these five steps as soon as possible is paramount.
Request a free consultation today with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to discuss the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest.
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RHINO Lawyers can help and guide you through a system molded by law enforcement, judges, and lawyers for decades. Having won cases for our clients in similar circumstances, our criminal defense team knows what it takes to fight on your behalf.
Let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at (844) RHINO-77.