What to do when you get a DUI

What To Do Following A DUI Arrest.

First and foremost – Hire an experienced DUI defense attorney ASAP.

I was just arrested for DUI. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?

The first day or two after a DUI arrest is a critical time for your eventual Washington State DUI defense. You should not fail to preserve and act on the real and important opportunities you have now to optimize the eventual outcome. Get legal help right away!

You are most probably apprehensive about the consequences now, but don’t worry. We know and understand that. But you need to shift gears quickly – gather whatever paperwork you have and talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Come in and meet with me today for free. Be sure to bring in to our meeting your breath test document and DOL Driver’s Hearing Request form, too, if you have those. We’ll talk about getting your car out of impound. We’ll talk about getting an alcohol/drug assessment quickly and proactively by someone I know, trust and routinely refer to. We’ll talk about the preservation of evidence that might help your case.

We’ll also discuss my fees and payment arrangements. But more importantly what I believe I can do for you and what DUI defense strategies are available in your specific individual case. What witness statements or photos etc. of the scene we need to obtain before too much time passes. Whether we need any experts to help us fight the state’s or the city’s case against you. What is your criminal and driving history, if any? How the various outcomes of the court case and the administrative DOL hearing will impact your job, travel, and family. Along with the other things that someone in your shoes should ideally begin doing right away, even before the filing of any criminal charges.

Hiding your head in the sand won’t help because your DUI charge is not going to go away and we need to get to work quickly for your very best WA DUI defense. I’ll need to start figuring out what we may face at your arraignment, why you were stopped, how to avoid or minimize bail and conditions of release.

Having an experienced private criminal defense attorney at your arraignment is critical. The facts and issues of each case are unique but the first goal is to see where we may be able to fight and win some battles. The initial defense goal must always be dismissal!

What to do the first 48 hours after a DUI Arrest
  1. Field Sobriety Tests

Unless you already did these, DO NOT take the field sobriety tests which are always voluntary even if they don’t tell you that. Although the fact you refused may be used at trial. See this KING 5 report on the recent changes in the law.

  1. If you are taken to jail

If you are taken to jail, do not answer any questions about the alleged drinking, prescription or street drugs you took, or any alleged bad driving. Refuse to talk to the police about that and just give only name, rank and serial number, so to speak. The cops try to get you to answer 31 questions called the “DUI Interview” – Don’t do it. Be smart and refuse to answer ANY questions. Just your name, address, etc. If taken to jail, call me collect. Do not discuss your case with other jail inmates, either, at all. Loose lips – you know.

  1. Ask To Speak to A Lawyer

Try to speak with a private lawyer or the on-call public defender. The police have a duty to provide you with an attorney or at least make a good faith attempt to try to reach one for you. Do not give up (waive) your 6th Amendment right to counsel – so ask to speak with an attorney. Ask them 10 times if you need to. Demand to speak to a lawyer, nicely, at least at first.

  1. Breathalyzer Test

This is subject to change, so if your lawyer has more current advice, follow it. You should usually blow to provide breath samples at the police station. Don’t blow into the cop’s handheld portable breath test device at the roadside. The results are inadmissible and it just gives the prosecutor more ammo to use against you or me in negotiations.

  1. Fight to Keep Your License: DOL Form

You have 20 days to file a DOL Driver’s hearing request form so we can fight to keep your license.  Call me right away to discuss the hearing request form, within 2-3 days of DUI stop and arrest. This administrative side-show hearing is usually conducted by phone, and you don’t have to appear in person.

  1. It’s your defense

I have a 16-page, 22-question questionnaire I give my new DUI clients asking them tons of questions to help me construct their defenses. It has too many questions in it to set them forth here. Call me. Come in and meet with me for free to go over your case with me and take my DUI Post-Arrest Questionnaire home with you. Fill it out and we’ll start bringing the fight to the prosecutors.

  1. Collecting the data

I will conduct a thorough discovery of the police report, videos, officer’s field notes, and witness statements. DUI’s are very technical and require scientific understanding of the breath test device. I will verify rigorously that it was in working order.  If you hire me, I leave no possible defense angle unexplored.

  1. It’s a team effort

You’ll need to get a chemical dependency (alcohol/drug) assessment. Let me refer you to one of the reputable people I routinely work with for this. It can make all the difference, rather than choosing someone you do not know anything about. While I’m the only attorney in my firm, I’m not afraid to consult experts in their areas.


(revised 11/06/2016)