Your journey through a DUI charge starts at the moment the police officer arrests you. He is busy collecting evidence of your intoxication, using a field sobriety test, his observations and, possibly, a blood alcohol test to determine your level of impairment. Your ability to observe events around you, interact with the arresting officer and communicate courteously influences what will happen after your arrest.
Do not volunteer any information to the officer. While he seems friendly, he is still gathering evidence. What you say can and will be used against you during your hearings. Instead, observe everything going on around you: What is the officer saying? Did he talk to any witnesses while he was arresting you? What did he and the witnesses say? Try to make mental notes so you can write everything down after you are released on bail.
Do not lash out at jail personnel, even though the arrest and booking process is humiliating. Simply explain that you do not want to say anything at this time. Keep your thoughts and fears to yourself and express them only to your attorney. As you are keeping quiet, maintain your politeness, giving the booking officer your name, driver’s license and address.
Continue making mental notes. What is the booking officer’s name? Are there witnesses present as you are being booked?
These witnesses may be able to corroborate what you say in court, offering a story different from the arresting officer, especially if the officer tries to say you were combative or rude.
You may be allowed to take notes if you make a polite request to do so. If you can take notes, get everything to your attorney.
Get your bond posted as quickly as you can. Every hour you sit in a holding cell is an hour you could be working on your case, taking pictures, hiring an attorney and gathering all the evidence you can.
Write everything down as soon as you get out of jail and call lawyers until you find one. Reconstruct the hours before your arrest: Who you were with, where you went, what you ate and what you drank. If you went out, the names of your servers may be helpful. It is better to give your attorney too much information rather than too little.
Get your car out of the impound lot or tow yard. If you cannot drive, have someone else drive it home. Get a video of the arrest scene, including where your car was parked.
Don’t talk to anyone about your arrest while you are waiting for your hearing.
Speak only to your attorney, because the prosecutor will be looking for any witnesses to testify about any admissions you made about being drunk.
Do not get any more traffic tickets. If you decide to drink, use a designated driver.
Stay positive and live your life as normally as you can. While the prospect of a DUI conviction is worrisome, your behavior after your arrest can help you. If you believe you do have an alcohol problem, ask about a referral to a treatment program and take advantage of it.