Getting arrested for a DUI is a scary, frustrating, and confusing situation, especially if it is your first offense. Many people who get charged with drunk driving are not familiar with the criminal justice system, which leaves them vulnerable to legal pitfalls which may jeopardize their case.
The following are the most common mistakes people make after getting arrested for a DUI:
- Fail to take their charges seriously – Since a DUI is a misdemeanor crime, many people simply ignore the charges they face because a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony. However, a first-time DUI in Nevada is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months, a fine of up to $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for 90 days. Additionally, a misdemeanor conviction on your criminal card can damage your personal and professional reputation.
- Talk to police – Some people think they have an opportunity to talk their way out of a criminal charge by telling law enforcement their side of the story. Unfortunately, any statements you make to officers may be used as evidence against you at trial. It is wise to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until your lawyer is present.
- Plead guilty – An arrest or charge doesn’t mean you are guilty of drunk driving. If you admit guilt at a court hearing, you lose the ability to fight the charges and penalties against you. This also means you may have to serve the maximum penalties.
- Fail to regain your driving privileges – Once you are arrested, your driver’s license is automatically suspended. Keep in mind, this type of suspension is separate from the one you receive if convicted. However, you can request an Administrative Hearing in order to try to regain your driving privileges. Without your driver’s license, it can be difficult to commute to work or school. Relying on other means of transportation can result in tardiness or absences, which can result in loss of employment.
- Not hire an attorney – As soon as you are arrested, it is wise to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and future. Your attorney can make sure you do not make any of the mistakes above and put you in the best position to get the best results.