The following is a repost of this this article.
Being arrested for DUI can be scary. You have lived an otherwise law-abiding life and now you’re faced with the full brunt of the criminal justice system. You’ve been arrested, taken to the police station, photographed, fingerprinted, and hopefully released on bond. You’re ashamed, your head is spinning and you’re thinking to yourself, “what do I do next?”
Contacting an attorney immediately after being arrested is one of the most important things you can do to help preserve your rights and your driving privileges in any DUI.
Speaking with one immediately after you’ve been arrested allows an attorney to have a clear view of what occurred because the memory is fresh in your mind. It allows the attorney to take pictures and videos of the scene as it currently exists as opposed to changes in time, weather, and the features of the place the incident occurred.
Additionally, it allows the attorney to contact witnesses and preserve evidence, which may not otherwise be accessible or available to them to assist you in your defense.
What Should I Bring to My Attorney’s Office?
When you were released you received several pieces of paper. These are all important. Among other items given to you, you will have received:
• A bond receipt
• Tickets that were issued for the DUI
• Other traffic citations, which were most likely the basis for the stop
• Tow sheets
• Possible forfeiture paperwork
These are documents pertaining to the criminal case against your person and your license. The state will use these documents to possibly incarcerate you and to revoke your driving privileges.
Other Important Paperwork for Your DUI
There are other documents you received. You also received a warning to motorists and a notice of statutory summary suspension.
These two white sheets of paper are not against you but are a case against your driver’s license. This is where your license can be suspended for a period of anywhere between six months and three years independent of any disposition of the criminal charges against you. They contain important information regarding probable cause to arrest and the potential to have certain evidence excluded from the trial and your driving privileges restored to you.
Meeting with Your DUI Attorney
Bring all this paperwork to your first meeting with your attorney. Make sure that you go over in detail the events that led up to the arrest as well as any possible witnesses and evidence that you may have that would assist your attorney in your defense. Having an accurate, honest and clear discussion with your attorney about not only your case but your past criminal history is imperative for mounting appropriate defense.
Lastly, please make sure that the attorney that you choose has experience in defending DUIs.
DUIs may be traffic related, but they are not just a simple traffic ticket. DUIs are extremely complex and can have a profound and long-lasting impact on your ability to live, work, and sustain your economic stability. Make sure that the attorney you choose has trial experience in defending DUIs and statutory summary suspensions.
Thomas Glasgow has prosecuted and defended thousands of DUIs in his career and is an author and lecturer on defending DUI for The Illinois Institute for continuing legal education.