5 Things You Should Never Do if You’re Arrested for a DWI

Getting arrested for a DWI is a major ordeal that must be taken seriously. But an arrest and a conviction aren’t the same thing. If you’re smart about how you handle the situation, there could be light at the other end of the tunnel.

The Consequences of a DWI Conviction

A DWI conviction is more than an embarrassing inconvenience. It can actually produce some pretty serious fallout over both the short-term and the long-term. Here are a few of the consequences:

  • Driver’s license revocation. If you’re convicted of a DWI, your driver’s license will be suspended. Depending on your past convictions, the nature of the case, and your jurisdiction, it could be taken away for up to two years on the first offense!
  • Fines and lawsuits. The fines, lawsuits, penalties, and court fees that stem from a DWI case are not cheap! They can shake even the most financially stable family to the core.
  • Auto insurance rates. Insurance companies are in the businesses of lowering their own risk. If you’re convicted of a DWI, you instantly become a threat to their bottom line. As such, they’ll deem you a “high risk” driver and your rates could double or triple over the next few months and years.
  • Background checks. A DWI conviction goes straight to your file. Any time a background check is pulled – such as for a job or lease application – this is one of the first things someone will see.
  • Lifetime costs. This is something that continues to cost you month after month and year after year. As Kans Law Firm, LLC explains, “A DWI is a serious charge that will follow you for the rest of your life. In addition to fines, potential civil suits, and increased insurance premiums, a DWI can cost you thousands of dollars.”

Common DWI Arrest Mistakes

Just because you’ve been arrested, doesn’t means you have to experience all of the serious, long-term consequences mentioned above. The key is to handle the moment well and to avoid making the following costly mistakes:

  1. Failing to Exercise Fifth Amendment Rights

There are laws that exist to protect you – make sure you use these safeguards to avoid putting yourself in an even more precocious situation.

One of the bigger mistakes people make is talking too much. Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent and/or only answer the questions that you’d like. The fewer details you provide, the better. If it appears you’re going to be arrested, you should keep quiet until speaking with an attorney.

  1. Not Hiring a Lawyer

The next big mistake people make is not hiring a lawyer. They’re either worried about the cost or they ignorantly assume that they can work their way out of this type of jam. Unfortunately, this is rarely true.

  1. Waiting Too Long to Hire a Lawyer

Make sure you hire a DWI lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. Waiting more than 24 to 48 hours is not something legal experts would recommend. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the stronger your defense will be.

  1. Choosing the Wrong Attorney

Not all attorneys are created equal. Be wary of choosing a lawyer just because you’ve seen their commercial on TV or an advertisement at the nearby bus stop.

You should also be careful not to hire the cheapest attorney in an effort to save a few bucks. Skilled and experienced lawyers cost more up front, but they have the potential to save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime (in wages, insurance premiums, etc.)

  1. Taking a Plea Bargain Too Soon

A prosecutor might come to you and offer a plea bargain. And while it might seem better than the alternative, don’t immediately jump at the offer. In most cases, a prosecutor’s first offer is far from their best. Speak with your attorney and consider further negotiations.

Fight for Your Rights

This is not the time to curl up in the fetal position and hope for the best. You need to be smart and calculated in how you respond to this situation. By hiring the right lawyer and heeding their advice, you may be able to fight and win your case. Good luck!

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