You stepped out of the bar, got behind the wheel of your car, and started driving yourself home. Halfway there, you were pulled over by a police officer who noticed that you were driving under the influence. After a few sobriety tests (that you didn’t pass), you were arrested and charged with a DWI, or driving while intoxicated. What do you do now?
The DWI Process
The first thing that happens after you’ve been arrested on a DWI is that you end up in the police station where you’re processed like any other criminal. Your fingerprints will be taken, you’ll pose for a mug shot, and you’ll to answer the officer’s questions as they complete all of the paperwork necessary to book you for this criminal offense. Then you’ll more than likely be placed in what the police call a “drunk tank” where you can sober up before you face the judge the next day – if you’re lucky enough to have been arrested on a weeknight. Once you reach the judge, there’s a process to go through. You’ll have to make bail and agree to a number of conditions before you’re released back into the public.
A DWI Is a Serious Crime
Many people don’t realize this until it’s too late, but a DWI is a criminal offense, not a civil one. This means that unless you can get the charges dropped (something we’ll get to shortly), you could end up with a short prison sentence. It’s very serious to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, and, depending on the type of job you have, you could end up getting fired. All of this adds up to a very serious situation.
Getting Your DWI Charges Dropped
Thankfully, it’s possible to get those charges dropped. It helps if this is your first offense, and if you have a clean record. Lawyers like this, because it’s clear that you just made a mistake. However, even if you’ve been arrested for this reason before (meaning that your record isn’t very clean), there are some things that you can do in order to get those charges dropped. You’ll need the help of a lawyer, but it can be done. Here are five methods that you can use.
#1. Admit That You Were At Fault
The first thing that many people want to do upon hearing their DWI charges is plead not guilty. This means that you didn’t do it, right? According to the court shows on television, that’s the number thing to do, correct? Wrong. If you accept what you did and admit that you were at fault – also known as a plea bargain – the charges could end up getting dropped. This is particularly true if, as we mentioned above, this was your first offense and you have never been arrested for anything else ever. Many judges will understand that you screwed up, as long as you apologize and admit your guilt.
#2. Hire a Bail Bonds Agent
You can also hire a bail bonds agent who can get you a bail by paying the bail bonds amount set by the judge. They are also responsible for getting you to the court on the future dates, you will then have to sign a contract and pay the bail bondsman’s fee, sign collateral if necessary and get released from the jail.
#3. Attend a Drunk-Driving Education Program
Although these programs aren’t exactly anyone’s version of fun, they can help you get those charges dropped. You’ll just need to prove that you attended and passed the course (in many cases, you receive a certificate), and the judge will drop the charges. These educational programs will teach you about the hazards of drunken driving, and will no doubt show you some horrific pictures of the aftermath of some of these crimes. Those will be enough to shock you and hopefully, prevent you from doing it again.
#4. Go through Your Probationary Period
If you accept a plea bargain and end up getting sentenced to a certain amount of time in probation, you should be able to get the charges dropped at the end. Of course, you’ll have that DWI on your record for the duration of your probation, which could be anywhere from six months to several years, depending on your prior record. Although probation can be something of a pain, as you’ll need to pay a monthly fee and meet with your probation officer regularly, not to mention avoid committing crimes, once it’s completed, you’ll be free and clear – and you can petition to have that DWI removed from your record.
#5. Go to Rehab
In some cases, a DWI is just a sign that you have a problem that you can’t handle on your own. If you agree to go to a rehabilitation facility for the standard 28 days, then your charges might be dropped afterward. You just have successfully complete rehab and prove to the court that you’re a changed person. And most importantly, you have to not screw up and get arrested again. You really do need to have learned your lesson here.