After a DUI arrest, many individuals assume that only the actual events of the criminal charge will have an impact on their case. However, that is not true. A defendant needs to consider their actions following an arrest because they typically affect the final ruling. With severe penalties for DUI convictions in California, those facing drunk driving charges need to be extremely careful to avoid making mistakes that could jeopardize their legal defense.
The following are several common mistakes after a DUI arrest:
- Ignore the DUI charge. One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a drunk driving arrest is to ignore your DUI charge. Doing nothing will not cause your charge to disappear. Additionally, failing to appear in court results in additional charges and a warrant issued for your arrest.
- Not realize the true consequences of a DUI. A DUI conviction can result in jail time, fines, license suspension, probation, and other serious penalties. Additionally, have a DUI conviction on your permanent criminal record can damage your personal and professional reputation. Failing to understand the consequences of a DUI can have a significant, negative impact on your life.
- Assume you are guilty. Many people incorrectly believe that “because I blew over the limit (or my blood test was over the limit), I might as well plead guilty and serve my punishment.” Oftentimes, individuals charged with drunk driving offenses will have many defenses available to them—even if they were above the legal limit. Furthermore, police misconduct and other mistakes could still provide defenses that allow you to avoid conviction.
- Refuse to take a chemical test. According to California’s implied consent law, if you refuse to submit to a breath test after a DUI arrest, you will face automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Not having the ability to drive can make it difficult to commute to work, attend classes, make important appointments, and conduct day-to-day activities.
- Talk your way out of it. Many people think it is a good idea to tell the police or the prosecutor their side of the story, believing that everything will be cleared up. Unfortunately, speaking with police or prosecutor, especially without an attorney present, can harm your case. Remember, whatever you tell them can and will be used against you in the court of law.
- Not hire legal representation. When you are facing serious penalties, you cannot afford to try your case on your own. While you may know someone who thinks they know the law and is ready to offer some free advice, it is not wise to listen. Only a seasoned lawyer understands the complexities of the law in order to guide you through the process.
- Assume all DUI lawyers are all the same. On the contrary, lawyers are not all the same. If you need brain surgery, you wouldn’t hire a heart surgeon to perform the task, right? You want an attorney who has the extensive knowledge of DUI law to help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible.