Did you know a first-offense DUI charge can cost you $10,000 or more in fines and legal expenses?

While a five-figure fine isn’t anything to sneeze at, there are more severe consequences for drinking and driving. For instance, drinking and driving kills 28 people every day in the U.S. That’s north of 10,000 deaths every year, which means alcohol is the leading cause of traffic deaths. So, it makes sense to consider the risks and consequences of driving while impaired.

But sometimes people make mistakes. While someone is considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol concentration is at 0.08 or more, drinkers might inaccurately gauge how much they consumed. That’s why it’s best to call a cab or a friend if you’re out drinking. 

If stopped by the police due to DUI suspicions, keep the following four things in mind.

1. Don’t be Confrontational If Placed Under Arrest

If you’re driving home after a night of partying and drinking and hear the dreaded sound of a police siren, pull over. It can be hard to think straight if you are inebriated, but you must be respectful and accommodate reasonable requests. When asked for your name, driver’s license, and proof of insurance, you should do so immediately and without a negative attitude.

Under no circumstance should you get into an argument. If pulled over due to a suspicion of drinking and driving, cooperative. You don’t want to make matters any worse than they are.

2. Hire a Lawyer

If the police arrest you and take you to the station, you might be there for a while. The police will process you in the system, take your fingerprints, and take a mugshot. You can count on being at the police station for several hours. When the time comes for one or more officers to interrogate you, ask for a lawyer present. That’s your legal right. Retaining a lawyer who can attend the interrogation and advise you is the right move. Going it alone will put you at a disadvantage. You might end up saying things that work against, rather than for, you.

3. Find Possible Witnesses

It’s a good idea to assemble a list of potential witnesses. If you are arrested on your way home from a night on the town or a gathering at a friend’s house, someone at the venue might be able to speak up on your behalf. Anyone who can confirm that you either didn’t have anything to drink or drank very little can help strengthen your case. 

Make a list of where you were before the DUI arrest, who you were with, what and how much you drank (if anything), who can vouch for you, and where you went after leaving the venue.

4. Prepare for Court Appearance

If the police decide to charge you with a DUI, the chances are you’ll have to make a court appearance to get your sentencing. That’s one reason to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. The right criminal defense attorney will review the facts concerning your case, build a strong defense, and give you a better chance of beating the charge or getting a better outcome. 

You can also count on your lawyer to explain the process so you know what to expect, how to behave in court, what the possible outcomes are, and the likelihood of these potential outcomes.

 Facing a DUI charge can be a stressful event. While an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, that adage won’t mean much if you find yourself charged with a DUI. You’ll want to get a good lawyer experienced at helping people in your shoes.