3 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make if Facing DWI Charges

Around 37 people in the U.S. die every day in crashes related to drunk driving. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that works out to one person every 39 minutes. The sad thing is that these fatalities and injuries that result from car accidents are entirely avoidable. All people have to do is heed the warning, “Don’t Drink and Drive.”

But if you’re pulled over and charged with a DWI offense, you must know what to do. Step number one is to retain the services of a reputable DWI lawyer. A lot is at stake, so you need to give yourself the best chance of an outcome that spares you jail time or fines. An experienced legal professional who has successfully helped DWI clients is a must.

Don’t expect miracles, however, if you make missteps that even the best legal professional can’t fix. Here are three mistakes you can’t afford to make when facing DWI charges.

1. Acknowledging Guilt

One of the worst things you can do is acknowledge fault. If pulled over by the police, don’t make any incriminating statements that could jeopardize your case before it even gets to court. Your Fifth Amendment rights, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, protect you from self-incrimination. That means you’re not obliged to provide information that can be used against you.

So, while you might be emotional on the heels of an accident or a traffic stop, stay calm enough to avoid acknowledging guilt or making statements that suggest guilt. Anything you say to the legal authorities can and will be used against you by the prosecution. 

When informed, you have the right to remain silent, do so. Politely inform the police you want to retain a criminal defense lawyer before answering any questions about the arrest. Your lawyer will attend any interrogation to advise you. Even if you know you’re not intoxicated, you’ll do yourself no favors by making statements to the police. Retain a lawyer first and follow their lead.

2. Operating a Motor Vehicle With a Suspended License

Another mistake to avoid is driving a vehicle with a suspended license. If charged with a DWI, your license may be suspended for a period. Violating the suspension, even in an emergency, is a big mistake you must avoid. You won’t get off the hook by saying you need to drive to work, take a loved one to a doctor’s appointment, or anything else. A suspended license means you can’t drive a motor vehicle until or unless the suspension is lifted.

If you throw caution to the wind, drive with a suspended license, and are caught by the police doing so, you could face a longer driving suspension and other penalties. It can also make it more difficult for your lawyer to achieve a favorable legal outcome. If unsure about the status of your driver’s license, ask your criminal defense attorney.

3. Failing to Grasp the Seriousness of a DWI

Don’t underestimate the consequences of a DWI charge. If charged with that offense for the first time, there’s a possibility you may get probation and face a few other conditions. But if you don’t take things seriously, drive with a suspended license, or injure someone while driving intoxicated, the penalties can be much worse. Your best bet is to understand the severity of a DWI charge and to grasp the consequences. Even if you are spared jail, you could lose your job.

Avoid these mistakes at all costs. Your lawyer will have enough on their plate, so don’t make things even worse. If you have any questions, your lawyer is the perfect resource. It’s better to run things by them so you can avoid missteps that cost you big time.