An arrest for drunk driving is understandably an eye-opening and alarming experience for anyone. For those who have never obtained this charge before, it can be hard to know where to go from the arrest. Here are five steps that will help to clear up any confusion about you should do after getting a DWI.
1. Find An Experienced DWI Lawyer
Once you are released from custody in jail, one of the biggest things you need to worry about following a drunk driving arrest is finding an experienced lawyer. Your lawyer is your best defense and will give you a significant chance in the likelihood of success in beating your case. Your lawyer investigates your case and makes sure your rights are protected. Most importantly, your lawyer will work with the judge and prosecution to give you the greatest chance of having your charges diminished or dropped altogether.
2. Follow Wise Legal Advice
The next important step is to make sure you show up to your court date on time to steer clear of more legal trouble. In nearly every state, it’s recommended that the arrestee show up to court 30 days from the date of the arrest. Once in court, your lawyer may advise that you take a plea bargain, which is a common way to avoid conviction.
A plea bargain is essentially an agreement made between the prosecutor of a case and a defendant, by way of the defendant’s lawyer. What usually happens in this scenario is that the defendant pleads guilty. This sounds like it should be a concern, but it’s actually a good thing. As a result, you may get a reduced charged or sentence, and may get out of having to go to trial.
3. Pay Off Any Dues
From court, your next worry is paying off court costs. If you’re convicted of drunk driving in court, there will be fines to pay, as well as the possibility of punishments given out by the judge. These punishments, such as classes or probation, could also cost you money.
Besides fines and punishments, there are insurance rates to worry about. Your insurance premiums are liable to go up, or your policy can even be terminated once the company learns of your DWI.
4. Find Out The Status Of Your Drivers License
In most DWI cases, your license will be suspended or even revoked for a pre-determined amount of time (usually six months to one year). Once the suspension is over, you must start the course of action to get your license reinstated. It’s best to get this started a month or so before the suspension is set to end, so everything will be in order.
Reinstating your license starts at your local Department of Motor Vehicles, where you need to fill out a reinstatement form, which requires a fee. The next step is to get an SR-22 form. All this form does is confirm that you now have legitimate insurance. From here, all you need to do is pay any fines needed to reinstate your license.
5. See If You Can Get Your DWI Expunged
If you want your record to stay clean for school or work opportunities, you may want to look into getting your DWI expunged. If enough time has passed and you haven’t had any repeat DWIs, your record can be easily expunged. This permanently seals the arrest from your criminal record, and all information about it is destroyed. Check with your state laws about the course of action for expungement.
If you want to make sure that you are following all of the proper steps following your DWI arrest and want to be in the hands of an experienced, professional lawyer, be sure to contact The Wilder Firm today.