5 Things to Do After Being Arrested for DUI
- December 24, 2014
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So, you were arrested for DUI. If this was your first one, it is likely that you were arrested, cited and released. Now is the time to focus your energy on accomplishing some necessary tasks, rather than fixating on what happened.
1. Get your car out of impound.
Washington Law requires your car to be impounded for 12 hours following a DUI arrest. If the car is not yours, or there is another registered owner, that person can come get it out of impound before the 12-hour period. There is a fee, usually between $200 and $500. Additionally, be aware that impounded vehicles accrue daily storage fees, so you shouldn’t delay this task.
2. Make consultation appointments with at least three lawyers.
Hiring a lawyer is a major purchase. You wouldn’t make a major purchase without shopping around. The same goes for lawyers.
Yes, you should be comparing price. However, price can be deceiving. The amount of work and quality of the work the attorney will perform varies wildly. Like in many things, you tend to get what you pay for. To determine if you are getting a good value, I would ask potential attorneys, what specifically comes with the fee, and why the particular attorney you are consulting with adds more value than other attorneys.
You also should be getting a feel for the attorney and her staff. Do you get along? Do you understand what the attorney is saying? Does she take the time to explain? Do you think you trust the attorney? Is her staff courteous? These things are important because you must have a functional working relationship with your attorney. Hard decisions are ahead. Your attorney must be able to effectively counsel and advise you. An element of trust facilitates this communication.
Visiting and consulting with three attorneys will give you a minimum of options to make the right choice for you.
3. Request a DOL Hearing.
Under Washington Law the Department of Licensing (DOL) will administratively suspend or revoke your Driver’s License if you are arrested for DUI and had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, or a THC concentration of 5ng or higher, or you refused the testing. The DOL’s action is essentially independent from your case in the court system. Because its a separate action outside of the court, you have the opportunity to contest the suspension or revocation of your license to drive by requesting a hearing.
You must request a hearing within 20 days of arrest. Such a request costs $375.00. At the hearing, if the hearing examiner decides in your favor, the suspension/revocation will be cancelled.
I recommend making the request 100% of the time, no matter the underlying facts and likelihood of success. There’s always a chance– you miss every shot you don’t take.
4. Make an appointment for a drug/alcohol evaluation.
I recommend getting a alcohol and drug evaluation prior to arraignment. You might be asking two things: “I’m innocent, why should I get an eval?” and, “I don’t have a problem with drugs or alcohol, why should I get an eval?”
The answer to the first question is that, when charged with a DUI, the court is going to establish conditions of release no matter how weak the case against you. These conditions take into account a person’s likelihood of being a danger to the community by again driving impaired. To prevent a repeat, the court may order an Ignition Interlock Device be installed your vehicle, may order bail, or may require you to have a electronic bracelet to monitor alcohol. On the other hand, getting drug/alcohol evaluation and beginning recommended treatment , if any, shows the court the person has been proactive in addressing these concerns. As such, the court’s concerns over this issue diminish greatly.
The answer to the second question is: If you don’t have a problem with alcohol and drugs, than the eval strengthens our theory that the incident was a fluke or an aberration, and thus strengthens our bargaining position. Additionally, the recommendation for such a person with out an issue would be the minimum 8-hour class. In contrast, if you do have a problem, this is your opportunity to address the issue and lead a better, safer lifestyle.
The key with getting an eval is that you must not file the eval with the court until it becomes an official term of your judgement and sentence (when and if you’ve taken a plea or been found guilty). The eval may have information that could be used against you at trial, so it must remain un-filed until the time is right.
Now that you accused of a crime, you must prepare yourself mentally. Part of your strengthened resolve means you should not be discussing the facts of the case with anyone but the three attorneys you consult with. It is natural to have stress. It is natural to worry. However, retaining an attorney is hiring someone to worry for you. To the extent it is possible, let your attorney shoulder this burden.
Meanwhile, you are innocent until proven guilty . Keep your head up.
If you want to consult with me as one of your recommended three attorney consults, give me a call at (253) 906-0393.