What do I do now? Being arrested for DUI is a frightening and traumatic experience. Our clients often struggle to deal with the stigma and shame associated with a DUI arrest. Many strong people are brought to tears when telling a loved-one about their arrest. Complicating matters is a palpable sense that everything is spinning out of control. Charles Rowland and the staff at DaytonDUI have been helping people through this process for over seventeen years. We want to reassure you that your DUI case can be successfully managed. Like any other crisis, it is imperative that you take steps to PROTECT YOURSELF, EDUCATE YOURSELF and EMPOWER YOURSELF. Below are some helpful steps that you can take to begin the process of putting a DUI arrest in perspective.
1. PROTECT YOURSELF
As soon as possible after your arrest, take time to write down every single detail of that you can remember. Sometimes critical pieces of a defense can be found in details that may be forgotten if not recorded immediately. Start with a time-line or chronology. What were you doing prior to drinking? When did you start drinking? How was your health in general on that day? Did you work out earlier in the day? Were you around any chemicals? When did you last sleep? What do you remember watching on television that day? Did you make any cell phone calls or have text chats? When did you last eat and what was it? What cologne or aftershave lotion did you use that day? What kind of shoes were your wearing? Other important areas of consideration include what medications or drugs you ingested prior to driving. Do you take prescription medication? Do you regularly smoke cigarettes or marijuana? Did you use breath spray or tic-tacs or tobacco? Who did you see that day? Could you have visited a store with a video surveillance camera? Do you know the bartender who served you? How was your car operating that night or day? Think of this first step as establishing what happened before you came in contact with law enforcement.
Next comes the “during arrest information.” Yes, it may be painful, but try to write down everything that you can remember when you were stopped by law enforcement. When did you first notice the officer following you? What was your reaction? Were you using a cell phone or texting (which may explain swerving), or were you oblivious to the officer until he turned his lights on. Did you have anything in your mouth? Often, the location of your stop can provide powerful assistance to your attorney. Was it a busy road? What were the conditions? Was the roadway wet, slick, slanted, pot-holed? Your memory may tempt you to focus on the administration of the standardized field sobriety tests, but many law enforcement decisions are made prior to asking you to step from the car. The officer writes these important details in his report. Make sure your attorney knows your version of events. Remembering what you and the officer said is vital to establishing your defense. Details of what happened at the station are also important. How long were you in the cruiser? How many officers were on the scene? Who, if anyone, searched your car? At the station, where were you placed prior to the test? What, if anything, was read to you by the officer? Try to be as precise as possible and write down exact quotes when you remember them. Another way to protect yourself is to take pictures of your car and of the location of the stop. The location may be vital in any number of ways in establishing the validity of the field tests and may possibly explain your driving habits on that roadway. If the officer alleges that your tail light was out, or that your license plate light was inoperable, pictures taken shortly after the incident may exonerate you.
Do not drive! If your license has been suspended you should protect yourself by arranging for transportation for at least two weeks. Taking a taxi, or the bus, or just huffing it is less cumbersome than an additional charge of driving under a DUI suspension which carries additional mandatory jail time in Ohio. You should also find out what ramifications will take place at your job. If you have a CDL, you cannot drive under the CDL until the charges are resolved. Active-duty military personnel also have obligations which may prove difficult without a license. Losing your right (it’s not a privilege in my opinion) to drive is terrible. It is my opinion that, to many people, the pre-conviction suspension is the worst punishment that they will incur in the entirety of this experience. Address your particular situation with a qualified and competent DUI attorney.
Reasonable doubt comes from the recollection of events in a coherent and believable manner. Protect yourself by taking the time to record what happened and by acting responsibly.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF
DaytonDUI.com was started with the intent that you could find reliable information that would allow you to evaluate your case and choose an attorney. Education about your charge will make you better equipped to find the attorney that is right for you. A good place to start is the article “How to Hire a DUI Attorney” [linked HERE]. Ask everyone you know if they have had good or bad experiences with a particular attorney. Talk to attorneys on the phone. Meet with them in person. Educate yourself about the particular court that you are going to, and the prosecutor, and the location of the court. Check the credentials of the DUI attorneys in your area. [See HERE for a biography of Charles M. Rowland] Sometimes the scariest part of your DUI experience will be not knowing what the court process is like. Good attorneys will try to help you by answering your questions and not trying to take advantage of your vulnerability at this critical time. [See HERE for a video of Charles M. Rowland II explaining the Court Process].
My dad always said, “If you know how somebody gets paid, you’ll never get ripped off.” Have a discussion with potential attorneys about how they expect to get paid and what you can expect for that service. Ask who will be handling your case; will it be the attorney you are meeting with or an associate. Ask how many cases they have tried in that court and whether or not they will listen to what you want. One-size fits all is great from some things, but not for legal services. Take control and get what you pay for. Educate your self about your circumstances and your options so that the DUI experience is less traumatic.
3. EMPOWER YOURSELF
Some people come to my office, drop the ticket on my desk and expect me to take care of it. Others want to understand every aspect of a DUI case from beginning to end. I will work to make sure that you are taken care of in a manner that meets your expectations. I will conform to what you need your attorney to be. Now is not the time to retreat into yourself, but you must call on your inner champion to make the best decisions possible under the circumstances. Everything we do at DaytonDUI is designed to provide you with a sense that your case is going to be handled to the best of our ability. We have a great staff, good on-line and printed material, the best DUI library around and a proven track record. We want you to win your case and put a bad experience behind you. If you want to find out more, please check our blog or call Charles M. Rowland II at 937-318-1384 or 1-888-ROWLAND.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -Arnold Schwarzenneger-
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