Facing a DUI charge is a frightening, frustrating, and confusing situation. A conviction can result in serious penalties such as jail time, fines, suspension of driving privileges, and a permanent criminal record.
It is imperative to understand that any mistakes made after your arrest and before the final ruling of your case can have a negative impact on the outcome. Unfortunately, many individuals—especially for first-time offenders—are unaware of the mistakes which could potentially result in further legal trouble.
The most common mistakes to avoid after a DUI arrest include:
- Not hire a DUI lawyer – If this is your first time experiencing the criminal justice system, having a criminal defense attorney on your side can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Your lawyer can protect your rights throughout the legal process, investigate your case, determine if there are any weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument against you, and help you avoid any legal pitfalls.
- Admit guilt – An arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Even if your breath or blood results were over the legal limit, it is possible law enforcement officials committed errors when making a traffic stop or collecting evidence against you. If you admit guilt, you lose the ability to determine if there are viable defenses which apply to your case. Furthermore, you will be subject to the maximum penalties.
- Not invoke your Fifth Amendment rights – As soon as you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent and can only speak with the police if your lawyer is present. Unfortunately, many people will try to clear their name by attempting to explain to officers their side of the story. But anything you say can and will be used against you in court, so your words can do more harm than good.
- Not regain the ability to drive – If you failed a chemical test after arrest or refused to take one, your driver’s license will be suspended. If you do not schedule an administrative license hearing with the state DMV to regain your driving privileges, you will continue to serve your suspension. Keep in mind, this suspension period is separate from the penalties after conviction. Not having the ability to drive can make it difficult to commute to work or school, make important appointments, or perform daily tasks.
- Fail to appear in court – “Out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply to a pending DUI case. Ignoring your DUI charge and skipping court hearings can result in a warrant out for your arrest. So, instead of waiting for your trial at home with your loved ones, you will have to wait in jail.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, our experienced legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of your case. After reviewing your case, we can determine whether it is possible to dismiss your entire case or reduce the penalties you face.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation today for more information.