Common Mistakes To Avoid After A DUI Arrest

Feb 29, 2024 | DUI

The period of time following a DUI arrest can be fraught with confusion, anxiety, and fear over what this will mean for your future. You might be struggling with uncertainty over which course of action will lead you to the best possible outcome. Knowing how to navigate the legal process in the aftermath of your arrest is paramount, and this includes understanding the common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid. These missteps can significantly impact the results of your case.

In this blog, we’ll be delving into the common errors individuals make after they’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, to help you better protect your rights, make informed decisions, and improve your chances of a favorable outcome. From navigating court proceedings to seeking legal representation, arming yourself with the knowledge and awareness to successfully overcome this challenge can make all the difference in how you move forward.

Mistake #1: Failing To Understand Your Legal Rights

In the face of criminal charges, you have certain unalienable rights established by the U.S. Constitution, as well as the 1966 Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, to protect you from incriminating yourself and being falsely incriminated by unethical law enforcement practices – you may know them better as your Miranda Rights.

These rights prevent you from saying anything to an officer that may incriminate you (right to remain silent). Therefore, you are not obligated to speak with law enforcement officers or investigators regarding your case. You are also guaranteed a right to legal representation (right to an attorney). These are two rights that you absolutely must exercise. Failure to do so may put your chances at getting charged reduced or dismissed in jeopardy.

Mistake #2: Not Documenting Your Arrest

It is imperative to document the details surrounding your traffic stop, arrest, and transport to jail. This includes the officer’s actions, any statements made, and potential misconduct. This information can help your attorney build a strong defense on your behalf and provide the documentation that supports it. You can take your own notes, record conversations (when permissible), and gather other relevant physical proof, such as photographs or video evidence. Some relevant details to include are:

  • What you said to the police
  • How you first encountered the officer
  • The reason the officer gave for pulling you over
  • What the officer said about your driving
  • Whether the officer asked you to get out of the car or ordered you to
  • What field sobriety tests you participated in
  • And more.

Mistake #3: Waiting Too Long To Seek Legal Help

It is imperative that you hire an attorney as soon as you are able, especially here in Arizona. Your license will automatically be suspended unless you file a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division. Having an attorney on your side gives you a greater chance at preventing that from happening, as they are seasoned in the proper steps to handling the hearing and challenging your license suspension with a well-prepared strategy.

When the initial hearing is out of the way, your attorney can then begin reviewing your case and building your defense. The longer they have to do so, the better your chances will be of getting your charges reduced or overturned.

Mistake #4: Talking About The Incident On Social Media

No matter what kind of legal case you are involved with, criminal or otherwise, it is always wise to avoid any mention of it on your social media platforms. In fact, it’s even better to avoid using social media altogether when you are the subject of criminal charges. Even though you may think that your privacy settings are set the right way to avoid unintentional parties from getting ahold of them, they are not always foolproof. You can protect your privacy and your reputation, avoid having your actions misinterpreted, and focus on your legal defense by limiting or refraining from social media use until your case is resolved.

Mistake #5: Missing Court Dates Or Deadlines

It goes without saying that forgetting about or missing a court date, hearing, or deadline can have serious consequences for your case, including additional charges and even a possible warrant for your arrest. When your DUI attorney informs you of an upcoming date or appointment, do everything you can to prioritize attending and being on time.

Mistake #6: Accepting Plea Deals Without Legal Advice

You may be tempted to negotiate with a prosecutor for a lesser sentence and plead guilty, especially before you have obtained legal representation. Many people don’t know that prosecutors often have two conflicting roles: one where they seek to obtain convictions, and one where they are obligated to seek justice, meaning they may be more likely to target unrepresented individuals by using the following methods:

  • Encouraging guilty pleas before discussion the right to counsel
  • Expressing or implying that seeking counsel will lead to a harsher punishment
  • Bringing large groups of arrestees into the courtroom at once and asking how they will plea
  • Asking arrestees to sign forms or documents waiving their rights, or using these forms as a conditions of the negotiation
  • Allowing police to be involved in plea negotiations or the plea tendering process
  • Mentioning the right to counsel with no real information on how to obtain counsel
  • Failing to provide information on what fees or court costs can be waived if you are unable to afford them

You never need to plead if you don’t want to and you should not have to fear harsher punishment by exercising your rights. It is critical that you seek an attorney and allow them to help you make the best decision using their knowledge and experience.

Alatorre Law Can Help You Avoid Making Devastating Mistakes After Your DUI Arrest

After nearly two decades of handling DUI and other criminal cases, our lead attorney, Javier Alatorre, knows the best pathways through the criminal justice system. He will not only ensure that you don’t make a wrong move that could jeopardize your case, but he will conduct his own investigation into the events surrounding your DUI arrest and build a strategic defense on your behalf. Remember, DUI charges are time-sensitive, especially when it comes to safeguarding your driving privileges. Call today to schedule your free and confidential consultation and learn about your options.

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