If you have been arrested for DUI in Tampa, Florida there are 5 things you need to do as soon as possible.
The following suggestions come not only from 15 years of experience as a state prosecutor and defense attorney who has prosecuted and defended countless DUI cases, but also from my own DUI arrest 12.5 years ago.
Today 12.5 years sober, I can say my DUI was the catalyst for positive and lasting change in both my personal life and career, and is what allows me to passionately defend my clients and offer them compassion and respect as they navigate this difficult time in their lives.
These are 5 action-steps to take as soon as possible after your arrest and release from jail.
1. GET REAL
Use this time as an opportunity to get really honest with yourself. Only you know if you have a drinking problem or not. Even if you don’t, are there other issues in your life you are using alcohol to compensate for? Some people may have had one out of the ordinary bad night and this arrest isn’t indicative of a problem, but for many others (like me) it was a big wake up call. Find the courage to search your heart and decide if you need to make some changes around your drinking. Reach out for the support of a therapist or counselor trained in substance abuse. Go to an AA meeting and see if you feel like its a good fit. Reach out to my office for more resources on where to find help.
2. GET AN ATTORNEY
There are many reasons to seek the advice of an experienced attorney after your DUI arrest. There are some time sensitive issues like having a formal administrative review of your driver’s license suspension that could be waived if you do not request the hearing in time. There are a number of possible defenses and avenues to have your case dismissed or reduced down to a lesser charge that can save you time, money, fees, and your criminal record. Furthermore, its easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when facing the legal system, especially if it is the first time for you. My mission is to walk my clients through the criminal justice system with a compassionate and experienced advocate by their side. Interview a number of attorneys to find the right fit.
3. GET ORGANIZED
First thing you will want to do is get a binder or folder to keep all your paperwork in one place. You will be given a lot of paperwork upon your release from jail. You will receive a lot of mail from the clerk’s office and your attorney’s office. If you are going to fight your case, you will want to keep all your evidence and paperwork together. If you are going to enter a plea or a diversion program you will likely have a probation officer and classes to attend and you will want to stay organized as you complete each part of your sentence.
4. GET STARTED
If you are offered a diversion program or probation get started on completing your sentence right away. The sooner you can complete your requirements the better the chance you can apply for an early termination of your supervision which comes at a cost each month. You will likely have at least 50 hours of community service to complete, and my advice is to get started as soon as possible and to not procrastinate, you don’t want to risk losing your opportunity for diversion or worse a violation of probation and going back to jail.
5. GET CLEAR
As soon as you get home from jail, take out a piece of paper and write down all of the facts as you remember them, outline your evening, and your drinking timeline, and everything your remember about your encounter with law enforcement. As we know our memories get weaker with time, so writing it all down while it is still fresh in your mind is key. Share this information with your attorney as it will help them evaluate the possible defenses or grounds for dismissal for your case if they exist.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI in the Tampa Bay Area, call The Law Office of Christine Diorio, P.A. for a free consultation 813.322.2082 Having been there myself, I am passionate about helping good people through bad situations come out even stronger than before. Come find out why we say our law firm is “where justice has a heart.”