5 Things You Need To Do If You've Been Convicted Of DUI
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) has the potential to cause serious disruptions in your life. Although laws vary by state, there is no court in the country who takes this matter lightly. Fortunately, it's something that you can bounce back from provided you're willing to give it some effort. Although you probably won't be able to prevent the conviction from occurring, you can help minimize the disruption to your life by taking some proactive measures. Following are five things that you should do as soon as possible when it becomes clear that a DUI conviction is in your near future.
Arrange Alternative Transportation
One of the biggest issues reported by those with recent DUI convictions is that in most states, they lose their right to operate a motorized vehicle for a specified period of time. However, unless there are mitigating circumstances, it's likely that you won't lose your licence until after you've been formally convicted—but don't make the mistake of waiting until then to arrange for alternative transportation to work, school, and other obligations. This is particularly important for those who live in areas with substandard or nonexistent public transportation.
Clean Up Your Past Driving History
At the time of sentencing, the judge will take into account any outstanding tickets that you may have. Even unpaid parking tickets may cause the court to view you with disfavor by giving the impression that you don't take responsibility for your actions. Cleaning up any legal loose ends that you may have also provides your attorney with some possible leverage concerning making a deal with the prosecuting district attorney in order to get a lighter sentence. Also, if you have other pending matters with the court, your attorney may be able to negotiate a package deal with the sentencing judge.
Get a Second Job
There are generally several months between the time of the initial arrest to your actual day in court, so take advantage of this and get a second job in order to help with your legal expenses. You'll be expected to pay for things including court costs, extra insurance costs, attorney fees, and substance abuse screening costs. Getting a second job gives you a good head start on tackling these obligations and may also help show the court that you're a responsible person.
You should also save all of your vacation and sick days from your full-time job in case you need them for court days and any community service the court may order you to perform.
Discuss SR22 Insurance With Your Insurance Company
An SR22 essentially assures the Department of Motor Vehicles officials in your state of residence that you've met the financial responsibility involved in being a high-risk driver. In the vast majority of jurisdictions, you won't be able to actually file for an SR22 until you have been formally convicted of a DUI and the sentencing judge issues a formal requirement for one—but nonetheless, you should get your SR22 ducks in a row prior to this date. For instance, not all insurance companies carry an SR22 rider, so if yours doesn't, you'll need to find one that does. Your insurance agent is a good place to start when seeking information about SR22s. Contact insurance agencies like Able Insurance Agency to learn more.
Arrange for Substance Abuse Screening
The courts in all 50 states require mandatory substance abuse screening as a condition of a DUI conviction. However, unlike an SR22, this is something you can have done prior to a formal conviction. Doing this ahead of time means there will be one less hoop for you to jump through during the aftermath of your conviction.