A DUI charge, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a serious criminal offense in the United States with long-lasting legal and financial consequences. Depending on the situation, the person convicted of a DUI offense may deal with the payment of steep fines, suspension or revocation of the driver’s license, possible jail time, and an increase in insurance costs.
Hence, if you have a family member who was arrested and charged with DUI, you should know what steps to take to help them get out of this legal trouble as quickly as possible.
Read on to learn what to do when a family member gets a DUI charge.
- Educate Yourself About The Whole DUI Process
You can effectively help a family member with their DUI charge if you’re familiar with the said criminal offense. Thus, it’s essential to educate yourself about the DUI process, its potential penalties, and the court processes. You’ll be able to provide appropriate help to your loved one if you know a thing or two about DUI charges.
- Locate Where Your Family Member Is Being Held
After learning that your family member has been slapped with a DUI charge, finding out where the arresting officer is detaining them is essential.
In most cases, persons arrested for DUI are brought to the nearest county jail or police station where they were caught for processing. Once you arrive at the location, ask your loved one what happened and gather all the necessary information to help them deal with their legal trouble.
Also, it’s best to advise your loved one to avoid incriminating themselves by remaining silent during questioning. Remind them only to discuss their case with their lawyer because any statements they make to an officer of the law can be used as evidence against them in court.
- Seek Help From A Lawyer
When a family member gets a DUI, seeking legal help is essential. For instance, if your teenager gets a DUI in Orange County in California or wherever they may be, it’s best to work with a criminal defense lawyer. They possess the experience and skills to help your loved one handle their DUI case in various ways. These include:
- The lawyer can assess the specifics of your family member’s case and provide valuable legal advice on the best legal action to dismiss or terminate their DUI charge.
- The attorney can assist them during the custodial investigation to ensure they don’t incriminate themself.
- If your loved one is to be released on bond, they can arrange for the amount to be paid to secure their temporary release. If you don’t have sufficient money to cover the bond, the lawyer will advise you to contact a bondsman who’ll assume the responsibility for the bond.
- They can develop a solid defense strategy to achieve a more favorable result in court. For instance, they’ll use effective legal defenses to prove your family member didn’t violate the DUI laws in your state. These include illegal stops due to lack of probable cause, inaccurate field sobriety tests, and falsely high BAC results.
- The DUI attorney can prepare and file the necessary paperwork in court. Plus, they can help gather evidence to prove your loved one isn’t guilty of the offense charged against them.
- They can represent your family member in court and advocate for their rights throughout the criminal proceeding.
Make sure that you vet different DUI attorneys near you to find the best legal professional that can work for your loved one’s best interests. Try looking for a lawyer that has a stellar court record, offers an amenable payment scheme, is always open to communication, and others – all of which are stellar characteristics of an outstanding lawyer.
- Offer Them Support
When a family member gets a DUI, one of the best things you can do is offer them support. For instance, you can offer them financial support if they don’t have enough money to pay for their lawyer and bail. This can be a great way to ease the financial burden associated with being charged with a criminal offense.
Moreover, you can offer emotional support by being the shoulder they can lean on during this difficult time. Listen to what they say and avoid being judgmental as much as possible. This way, they can feel you’re there for them emotionally.
- Be On Their Side All The Time
A family member who’s charged with DUI is probably shocked about what happened and doesn’t know what to do to handle the situation more effectively. They’re swath with feelings of denial, uncertainty, disappointment on themself, and sadness. Because of this, it’s helpful if you’re on their side all the time.
Your presence can boost their confidence and they’re reassured that everything will be fine on time. If they’re still detained in the police station, visit them as much as you can to show that you’re for them. If they have a pet at home, on the other hand, volunteer to take care of them in their behalf while they’re in custody to keep them at ease.
A loved one’s DUI charge can adversely impact you and the rest of the family financially and emotionally. Seeing the person you love to get charged with a serious offense can be frustrating and stressful.
Thankfully, by keeping the things mentioned above in mind, you can help a family member who gets a DUI in the best way possible. Remember, getting arrested for a DUI can be difficult for them, so it’s important to be there for your loved one emotionally and mentally.