After being arrested for driving under the influence, you probably have a lot of questions about what to do and what to expect in the future. While you can’t go back in time to fix the poor decisions you made to earn you a DUI arrest, you can prepare for the consequences of your actions to make the process as smooth as possible.

Photo by grendelkhan, CC BY-SA 2.0

First time offenders still face serious consequences if found guilty of their DUI conviction. Here’s a quick guide to your first steps after a DUI and what to expect in the coming months.

Record Everything And Nail Down Witnesses
The first step is to write down everything you remember about the day or night you were arrested, the officer(s) who tested you, which tests and equipment they used… anything you can remember about the event. All of these details could be useful in reducing your sentence if found guilty, or even in absolving you.

The next step is to get in contact with any witnesses who may be willing to speak on your behalf. It’s important to contact them quickly so they can do the same thing- write down everything they remember about the event, whether it be before, during or right after the arrest. Accurate accounts are necessary, so get it done before key details are lost to fuzzy memory.

It doesn’t matter whether or not the witness was also drinking, they are all important to building a strong case for you.

Prepare to Lose Your License
Those who are found guilty of DUI will lose their licenses in all 50 states, regardless of the fact that it’s your first offense. You may even serve jail time, will probably receive a period of probation and will be subject to fines to retrieve your license after the revocation period.

How long you lose your license depends on your state and several other factors, but you should prepare for your life without a vehicle. Depending on your occupation, this could seriously impact your work so start thinking about the changes you will have to make, including finding alternate transportation or even work.

Even after paying fines, you will have to complete a few more steps before getting your license back. Often times a device may be installed into your vehicle to ensure you are driving sober, and you will have to change your car insurance. It’s possible your insurance company will drop you after a DUI, and you will have to find a SR-22 policy.

Contact a Lawyer
Regardless of whether you plan to plead guilty or not, you should contact a defense attorney. They will help you get the best outcome out of a bad situation, and can help lessen the severity of the legal consequences of your DUI. Those who are facing their first DUI have especially good chances of receiving favorable sentences with the aid of a criminal defense attorney.

Choose a lawyer who has experience with DUIs and a good track record of reducing or getting optimal sentences.

Prepare for Evaluation and Driving Classes
The other universal consequences of a DUI are alcohol dependency evaluations and courses which teach you about safe and sober driving. Prepare your employers and families for these mandatory, regular classes. Additionally, prepare yourself for the initial evaluation to determine your risk of addiction and dependency. If you’re found to have a problem with alcohol, you may have additional requirements before completing the program and getting your license back, like addiction therapy.

Start Early and Take It Seriously
Your DUI arrest is a serious event, but you can soften the blow by being prepared for the inevitable results. Having a good lawyer and friendly witnesses is a good start to a better outcome to your legal troubles.