How to Handle a DUI Arrest

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( — August 17, 2018) —  It’s usually late at night, after you’ve helped a friend celebrate some life achievement that merited hooting, hollering and a gathering of comrades.  You quaffed a few beers, and ripped more than a couple of shots.  You didn’t want to call an uber/Lyft because there was work the next morning and who wants to hassle with going back over to your friend’s house to retrieve your car – with the righteous hangover you knew you were going to have the next morning.

And your apartment was less than a mile away.

So you got stopped for Driving Under the Influence, DUI, also known as Driving While Intoxicated, DWI or a ‘502’, the old police code for drunken driving.

The cops put you through a series of agility tests, like touching your nose with your eyes closed, or reciting the alphabet backwards or just walking a straight line. You might have passed the first part of the first test – if only that parking lot hadn’t been spinning so crazily!

It was all downhill from there. You blew something like a point-one-eight, were back-fitted with a pair of handcuffs, and limo’d to the local cooler.

There you sat, caged, the rest of the night and were morning greeted with a stale, peanut butter and jelly sandwich and battery-acid coffee.  Photographs and fingerprints were taken and there was a booking for something that sounded like a “Class B Misdemeanor”.

After an all-day wait in a holding cell, you were led before a bored, harassed judge in a quietly chaotic courtroom where there was an arraignment. His honor bestowed a future trial date upon you to answer for heinous crimes against humanity and then, after ponying up about $2,300 for bail, you were – finally – released from the clutches of Big Brother into the brutal light of the diminishing day with your hangover still pounding away at your cerebellum.

So Now What Do You Do?

DUI/DWI arrests are expensive.  The average cost for such an arrest, after all is said and done, is around $15,000 – and it can be much more, even double that amount if your case isn’t handled properly.  

That’s why it’s essential to hire a lawyer; one particularly experienced in defending DUI/DWI cases, as soon as possible. You’re hemorrhaging money after a DUI arrest and you need a legal tourniquet applied – STAT. For more information on criminal defense counseling, visit to find out what legal tactics can be used, especially in your particular state, to mitigate the effects of a one-night mistake on the rest of your life.

The first thing your attorney will do is to get you to stop dwelling on the negative aspects of what has already happened. Local newspapers often publish DUI lists, and even your mug shot, in order to shame you – as if you haven’t been through enough already.

Forget about that stuff. What’s done is done. Time to move on, address the charges and minimize the potential damage. That’s all that’s important at this stage of your case.

Making a Bargain

The police usually tack on extra criminal allegations to your DUI charge. This is a game the cops, the courts and the state play with you and your attorney to see how much more money they can gouge out of you.  

The common superfluous allegation is some sort of reckless driving charge.  Or if there was an accident, they’ll try to pin you for “leaving the scene”.  Even though most states do not allow plea-bargaining with a DUI/DWI charge, these other charges is where the bargaining will, indeed, take place.

If you waive trial and plead guilty to the DUI charge, the district attorney will usually allow the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) number that was determined from your Breathalyzer test, even if you blew a very high number, to be lowered to .08, which is the minimum for a DUI conviction.  

Then the DA and your attorney will dance around the other tacked-on charges that will be dropped once you agree to attend state-sponsored drug and alcohol programs, which will put you back about 7-to-8-thousand bucks.  It’s all about the state mining the DUI revenue stream at this stage of your case. If your lawyer is dedicated and skillful, she or he can save you quite a bit of money on these tacked on ‘educational’ programs.

Finally, you’ll want your attorney to negotiate a date for when this DUI will disappear from your record.  A class B misdemeanor DUI can remain for up to 10 years, unless a deal is made. Sometimes a donation to MADD or Alcoholics Anonymous can shorten this period.