If you are reading this, you or someone you care about was probably, recently arrested for DWI. You may be angry and scared about the charges with which you are accused. A DWI charge and arrest can be a serious, life-altering event. You may even be disappointed and upset with yourself over the way things turned out. So odds are, based on my more than 20 years experience, the question you are asking yourself is the same as most of my clients: NOW WHAT DO I DO? In this and the next post I am going to do my best to answer that very question.

If you are reading this within a few hours of your arrest and you consented to a chemical breath test, and you believe you were not intoxicated, you should IMMEDIATELY, before you even finish this post, go to a local hospital and get a blood test done. Otherwise, read on to: 1) see you are not as screwed as you probably think you are, and 2) what you can do to hire the best attorney for your case and help that Attorney defend you.

What Should I Do Checklist:

Don’t Wait:

After being arrested for a DWI, it is understandable to be angry, upset, scared, and even a bit confused.  Most people run the gamut of not only these emotions but also they are often embarrassed and would rather not deal have to deal with the situation so they chose to do nothing. Some people have even gone so far as to wait until days before their first Court appearance or even after to contact an attorney hoping it will just go away because they do not want to be judged by their family, friends or co-workers and so end up doing nothing. PLEASE do not do this. The truth is a DWI  can and likely will become a nightmare if it is not addressed quickly.  For example, in Missouri, you have as little as 15 days to: contact an attorney and have that attorney file the proper paperwork or you will lose your ability to drive. Now is NOT the time to hide your head in the sand. No one knows the facts of your case better than you and while this post is intended to educate and help guide you, knowledge without action is meaningless.

YOUR PROACTIVITY CAN:

DECREASE FEAR AND INCREASE THE  POSSIBILITY OF  A GOOD OUTCOME

Know These Facts:

  • Time can be your friend or your enemy, depending on how you use it.
  • Many DWI cases can be mitigated if addressed promptly.
  • Failing to act in a timely manner (in Missouri as little as 15 DAYS) ) will end in you losing your ability to drive for SIX MONTHS or more in such a way that no attorney can help you.
  • If you act quickly you can be back driving with NO interruption.

The WORST MISTAKE that most people make is waiting to hire an attorney because they do not want to spend the money or do not know where to begin (Please contact my office for my FREE REPORT: “The True Cost of a DUI: If you Think Hiring a Good Lawyer Is Expensive Hire A Bad One.”)

Under Missouri law, if you submitted to a chemical test, you have 15 days to contest the suspension of your driving privileges. In Missouri, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you have 30 days to contest the suspension of your driving privileges.  In Illinois, regardless of whether you submit or refuse you have 90 days to contest the suspension of your driving privileges. However, your ability to drive will be suspended automatically in 45 days regardless unless you win the summary suspension hearing. Fifteen, Thirty, Forty-Five, or Ninety days is NOT a lot of time to educate yourself, contact an attorney, prepare and gather information, and act. In short, the sooner you become proactive and act the better your chance at a favorable outcome.