Getting arrested for DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) can add tremendous emotional, legal, and financial burdens to the volatile mix of emotions you may already be experiencing. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your outlook and maintain your sanity. Here are four measures to consider.
1. Don't Assume Guilt
Never give up on your own possible innocence right off the bat -- even if the face of "indisputable" evidence. A variety of circumstances could come into play in your DUI case, any of which could support your innocence or at least minimize your responsibility.
- The presence of drugs in a blood sample does not automatically constitute guilt. Many prescription drugs can cause impairment behind the wheel, even in medically approved doses. A simple mistake in dosage can boost the test results from a therapeutic level to an abuse level. Additionally, different individuals can safely tolerate different levels of drugs.
- The presence of multiple medications in the bloodstream doesn't necessarily mean that the drugs worked synergistically to magnify each other's effects, yet some institutions may jump to that conclusion. Your DUI lawyer can produce expert witnesses that may be able to exonerate you on these grounds.
2. Let Your Lawyer Do the Talking
Even in the first moments following a DUI arrest, the only person who should speak to the police or other investigating officers about your case is an experienced DUI lawyer or drug defense attorney. An alcohol and drug defense attorney knows exactly what to volunteer and what to withhold, whereas you might incriminate yourself (rightly or wrongly) without realizing it. These legal experts can also negotiate with prosecutors for lighter conditions such as probation, especially for first offenses in which no one was injured.
3. Get the Support You Need
Living in the aftermath of a DUI can prove emotionally challenging on many levels. You may experience feelings of guilt, persecution, anger, grief, or other emotions that prevent you from getting on with your life -- even after the legal or punitive process is long behind you. You may also feel helpless against a powerful chemical dependency.
- An inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program can help you conquer chemical dependence and make permanent changes to your lifestyle. These programs may offer one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and treatment for specific population groups such as teens, men, women, and people with co-occurring mental illnesses.
- Seek out support groups of people who are going through similar challenges, from AA to Web-based bulletin boards. These groups not only help you modify your way of living, but they can also provide enormous emotional aid and comfort. Let your family and friends lend you whatever emotional support they can give during this time as well -- don't remain stoic for their sake.
4. Review Your Transportation Options
A DUI can escalate your auto insurance premiums drastically or even eliminate your coverage and driving privileges altogether. If you have a problem with chemical abuse or dependency, however, you can view this as a blessing in disguise -- while still getting where you need to go.
- While you might find being "grounded" a painful and embarrassing experience, you can also rest easier knowing that you have zero risk of causing impairment-related accident damage, injury or death.
- Take advantage of your city's mass transit options. You might find that a local bus, train, or subway station takes you almost directly to your job and back. You might even decide to move to a more convenient location to take full advantage of these facilities. Being driven is more relaxing than driving, and you can rest, read, or even work en route.
- Improve your health and wellness by using "human power." Walking and cycling are two excellent ways to get a daily workout, enjoy the scenery, and perform most everyday tasks. If you have to transport larger loads, you can always enlist the aid of a friend, taxi service, or professional mover.
From invoking your right to skilled legal representation to reorganizing your lifestyle, you'll find that there is indeed life after a DUI. Good luck!