Managing Your Court Case

DUI? Focus On Mitigating Factors Before You Go To Court

Each day, more than 3200 people are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). If you have recently been charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence, talk to an attorney, focus on your future, and work your way past this unfortunate event. If you are willing to put some time and effort in, there are some mitigating factors that can contribute to a more favorable outcome for you.

You have no previous record. If you have no previous convictions for a crime in the state that you are being charged, you will be in a better position than others with a record. Better yet, you have no criminal charges of any kind; this can often result in first-time offender status and reduced charges in some state courts.

Have an alcohol or drug assessment. You will likely be required to get an assessment from a substance abuse professional later, so why not do it now? This will bode well for you when appearing before the judge. These are paid for out-of-pocket, and typically last an hour or less. Make sure to ask for documentation from this appointment to provide to your attorney and the court.

Attend AA. Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, is not typically mandated by the court since it is a voluntary program for those abstaining from drinking. However, some courts may recommend that defendants do "90-in-90", which means attend 90 meetings in a 90-day period to show dedication to getting sober and compliance with the court; in these situations, a fellow AA member may be asked to initial a form indicating that the defendant attended the meeting. If you are awaiting a DUI hearing, it can be helpful to attend AA meetings voluntarily, and demonstrate that you are serious about abstinence.

Keep your nose clean. The worst thing you can do is to get charged with something else as you wait to appear in court for your DUI. Keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble; if you do get charged with something during this period, immediately report it to your attorney.

Be prepared to pay your fine. It can reduce fees and charges if you are prepared to pay your fine when you appear for your DUI hearing. When you attend your arraignment, you likely won't know how much the fine could be. However, before your second appearance, ask your attorney and plan to bring cash. Most courts won't take a check.

Make an impression in court. While it may not help with mandatory sentences in most states, it can make a favorable impression on the judge- which is a good thing. Dress appropriately, let your lawyer do the talking, and always refer to the judge in a respectful manner; this is not the time or the place to become indignant or aggressive.

If you have recently been charged with a DUI, try to focus on attaining a more positive outcome. Making the effort to document any mitigating factors in your case, such as attending an assessment or being prepared to pay the court-ordered fine, can help and impact the penalties of your crime. Talk to a DUI attorney like Law Offices of Alyson L. Sommers, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorney for more information about the sentencing guidelines for driving under the influence in your particular region.