The court views punishment as a way to deter repeat offenders and protect the public from the harm caused by drunk drivers, so the penalties for those arrested on OWI charges tend to be severe.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you could be faced with steep monetary fines, suspension or revocation of your driving privileges, community service requirements, and jail time. What you do immediately following your drunk driving arrest can affect the outcome of your case and the long-term damage caused by your arrest.
It doesn’t matter whether you were wrongly accused or you made an honest mistake and your lapse in judgment led to an arrest. You need to take your situation seriously and act fast.
What are five of the most important things you need to know about managing an OWI arrest?
1. Work with an Experienced OWI Attorney
The absolute first thing you should do as soon as you are permitted to is to contact an experienced OWI attorney. The sooner you have the support and guidance of someone who understands the legal system the better.
A lawyer can explain your options and guide you through the best strategy for building a strong defense. He or she can also protect you against violations of your rights, including illegal searches or incriminating yourself when speaking to law enforcement.
2. Keep a Detailed Record of the Situation
Taking notes might not seem necessary following an OWI arrest, but it can help you build a stronger defense. The entire experience of being pulled over and accused of operating while under the influence is stressful, but if you can remain calm and make note of everything going on, it can help you in the long run.
As soon as you can, write down on paper or your phone everything that happened during your traffic stop, your arrest, and your time spent detained. Your attorney will review your notes and determine whether anything regarding the time you were arrested, the reason you were arrested, the type of BAC test administered, whether you were given options other than a breathalyzer, and anything else you can remember from the event could help your case.
3. Identify Witnesses
Was anyone around to see the traffic stop and arrest? These people might be able to testify on your behalf.
Witnesses can also share character testimonies or information about your condition when you were arrested. Was someone in the vehicle with you? Was a friend with you just before you got into your vehicle to drive? Had you spoken to someone recently who can attest to your condition?
Your attorney can help you identify witnesses who might be able to strengthen your case.
4. Set Your Social Media Accounts to Private
If there’s one thing you should know in the days, weeks, and months following a drunk driving arrest, it’s that you are being watched. Prosecutors are building a case against you and they can use your behavior after the event to damage your defense. This includes social media posts.
Anything you share on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media account that might be seen as incriminating can be used in the case against you. Remove anything that might be untoward, even if you think it’s meaningless, and set your accounts to private so only those closest to you can see your posts.
Better yet, avoid posting until after your legal issues are resolved.
For more on how social media can be used against you, check out this article from Forbes.
5. Take a Deep Breath – Your Lawyer is on Your Side
One of the toughest things about being arrested on OWI charges is keeping your stress levels under control. The best thing you can do is to be patient and trust your lawyer. He or she is gathering evidence to support your defense and working with a network that can help you. It can take months for things to come to a culmination, but considering the work your attorney is doing can result in the charges being dropped or you having the opportunity to negotiate a plea deal, it’s worth the wait.
Have you been arrested on OWI charges? You need to contact a qualified defense attorney immediately. For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Denver criminal defense attorney David Lindsey today.