Getting behind the wheel after drinking is a big miscalculation on your part, but it doesn't have to be the end of your future. It is a common mistake, after all.
If you've received your first DUI charge, you're probably very worried about your future. Have you lost your chances of securing a clean record? Will you be awarded huge fines, or will you have to face time behind bars?
The results of your first time DUI will depend a lot on how you handle your situation following your arrest. Making the right moves can help to better a bad situation.
What common mistakes should you avoid making after this kind of incident? Let’s go over what you need to know.
Don't Assume the Charge Will Go Away
A DUI charge isn't some sort of ticket or requested payment that might just go away if you ignore it long enough. That doesn't stop some people from trying, however.
The biggest possible mistake you could make with a first time DUI charge is to ignore it. Whether you think it will make the charge go away, or maybe you just aren't able to look the problem in the eye, not taking action following your arrest is only going to make matters worse.
If you fail to appear in court when requested, you'll only increase the chances you'll be hit with serious fines and jail time on top of your existing punishments.
While it can be scary to have to go through the legal process following a charge, it is necessary. Make sure you do your part and show up for it.
Remember Your Miranda Rights
You probably have heard about Miranda rights from how often they're listed off in movies and television shows. You might even be able to recite: You have the right to remain silent, anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law...
This isn't just some legalese the police list off for you. It's actually very important information. It's a reminder to not say anything that doesn't need to be said to law enforcement during the process of your arrest.
Far too often, people behind the wheel make the mistake of saying things to the police that they shouldn't. That could be lying about the nature of their drinking, or it could also be telling too much of the truth. It could even be that they get aggressive with the officers or insult them.
It could be a wide variety of things, but the bottom line is that anything that is said will likely find itself into the court case weeks down the line. These things you've said will carry weight, no matter how drunk you were.
That's why it's a better decision to simply stay quiet during your arrest until you can speak to an attorney. That doesn't mean you should go completely mute. You still need to comply with the officer's requests.
However, when needed, invoke your Miranda Rights and refuse to speak until you can have an experienced attorney at your side.
Hire an Attorney
Do you need to hire an attorney to handle a DUI case in Illinois? The answer is a strong yes if you want to have a chance to see your charges dropped, or at the very least lessened.
The stakes of a DUI case are often very high. In some cases, the stability of your future will be on the line. This isn't something you want to gamble with on your own, especially if you have no background or experience with the law.
Since this is your first time getting charged with a DUI, there is some room to show the judge that this is a one-time mistake and it won't happen again. An experienced DUI attorney will know how best to present your case to help get this idea across.
They'll also stay on top of complicated paperwork and deadlines that you may not be able to handle all on your own. Filling out some of this paperwork incorrectly, or filing it past when it is due, can be enough to ruin your case. So, it's important that these things are done correctly.
It's a good idea to look into the background of an attorney and see how much experience they have handling cases like yours. If you're like many people, you likely trust the word of your friends and family, so going to them for attorney recommendations can be a smart move.
Don't Assume the Worst
Many people who are hit with a first-time DUI offense assume the worst is to come. They think they'll end up behind bars and that their lives are completely over. There's no need to jump straight to the worst possible conclusion.
A first time DUI is only a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Illinois. While jail time is possible with that charge, it's also extremely unlikely. Assuming the worst outcome for your case is not going to put you in the mental position you need to work towards a positive outcome.
Working with an attorney can help to quell your fears and see things for how they really are. They can help portray a path you can take towards a positive outcome.
Avoiding First Time DUI Mistakes
It can be frightening to be hit with a first time DUI charge.
If you want to see a positive outcome for your case, you'll want to avoid making a few of the mistakes listed above. With a little luck, you can get through the charges without a full interruption of your life.
Need help with your case right away? Give us a call at any time for a free consultation.