Getting arrested for DUI can be frightening and confusing, especially if it is your first charge. Whether you are attempting to get the charges decreased or dismissed entirely, there is a process that you need to follow and it can cost you time and money. You may need to make several court appearances, pay hefty fines, attend DUI diversion courses, and get an evaluation for a drinking problem. If found to have a drinking problem you may need to be treated professionally through a court-ordered rehabilitation program and you may lose your driving priveledges. If you are arrested for DUI, there are important things you should know:
- Breath Tests Are Voluntary but Can Incur Heavy Consequences
If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence and you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, the penalties you face can be much harsher than those for a failed test. There could be a fine which is also imposed on top of refusing the breath test.
Preceding a breathalyzer test, the arresting officer may request you to get out of the car for a field sobriety test. These road-side tests typically involve you standing on one leg to observe balance and coordination, walking and turning which tests the ability to complete a task without being distracted or holding a light to the eye to check for eye-jerking. Let the police officer know if you have any medical condition before performing any of these tests on you.
- Stay Silent and Cooperate
Anything you say during the arrest can and will be used against you. Stay quiet and cooperate during your arrest. The officer has both audio and visual recording devices. After the arrest, you will be taken to the nearest police station.
- Call A Lawyer
If you have been arrested, call a good DUI lawyer in Portland Oregon right away. Remember this is you versus the state. You need a lawyer. The evidence and procedures may be weak or flawed and a good DUI attorney will uncover any illegal procedures that occurred by the arresting officer. A lawyer will negotiate your case on your behalf to have the charges decreased or withdrawn altogether.
- Find a Bail Bondsman
After the arrest, and depending on the state arrested, you may request to be released on bail. You may be released without a need for paying the bail. If it is required, find a licensed, local bail bondsman. Depending on the charges it can be expensive, but it is an assurance that you will attend your court hearings and be released free while waiting for trial. If you fail to attend your court hearing, the bondsman can and will revoke your bond issuing a warrant for your arrest.
- Seek a DMV Hearing
You have a maximum of 10 days including holidays and weekends after your arrest to formally request for a DMV hearing. You and your lawyer should request for this hearing. It determines if you will keep your driving license or not. If you fail to request for this hearing, your driving license will be automatically withdrawn.
- Appear in Court
After the arrest, you will be issued a court date indicating the day you should appear before a judge You will enter a plea of not guilty, no contest or guilty. Your lawyer will advise you on how to plea. Remain calm and respect the court process.
- Complete Your Probation
If you have been sentenced with probation, ensure you carry it to term. If you do not adhere to the terms of the probation, you can incur fines, or even carry a jail sentence.
Getting arrested and convicted for DUI can carry harsh collateral consequences long term. The DUI charges can stay in public records for up to a decade. This can and will affect your future employment and rental opportunities. Stay safe, do not drink and drive and keep your records clean. However, if you are convicted for DUI, seek solid legal counsel to help improve the situation.