What should I do if I am arrested on a DUI charge?

A DUI charge does not translate to a conviction.  After you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, by taking certain measures you increase your chances of disputing your charge in a court or negotiating your charge with prosecution.  The preparation that you begin now may become invaluable later on in the trial process.

If the arresting officer has situated you in his cruiser and is driving you to the station for booking, you may find that they attempt to strike up conversation with you.  While you may feel tempted to defend yourself or justify your actions, it is highly advisable that you remain silent.  At this point, the decision to arrest has already been made and you will not be able to talk your way out of it.  By speaking with the officer, you run the risk of incriminating yourself or providing the prosecution with fodder to use against you later on in trial.  In many cases, the officer will be recording any conversation occurring within their squad car.  Even if you are not being recorded, the arresting officer may testify to your statements during trial.

Similarly, anything that you may say or that is overheard by an officer after you have arrived at the police station, during booking, or while you are in a jail cell may be used in your prosecution.  Be cognizant of what you are saying, and avoid topics involving your night’s activity or the circumstances of your arrest.  The less information you provide to law enforcement, the less evidence the prosecution will have to push for a conviction.

Until the arresting officer has read you your Miranda Rights, anything that you say can be used against you in trial.  However, once your rights are relayed to you, you may speak without the risk of self-incrimination.  After you have been read your rights, you may also request to speak with an attorney.  If you already have an attorney you can contact, the officers should allow you time to give them a phone call.  If not, they may assign you a public defender to speak with.

If you are able to, try and write down as many details about the events that transpired as you can.  Even seemingly minute or insignificant interactions or observations may help your attorney build a strong defense.  Do not discount any potential information that may be in any ways useful.

Posted in: DUI