Your life is not over. You can recover from this. How much of an impact this has on the rest of your life depends on the critical steps you take next. Here is a quick list of practical next steps you need to take:
Step 1. Get out of jail ASAP. Jails are not fun places to hang around and nothing good ever came from being in one. Hopefully, you have already either been released from jail on your own recognizance or have bonded out. If not, the first step is to secure your release. Likely, your bail will be reasonable, assuming this is a first DUI. If your bond is too high, your lawyer should be able to take steps to get the bond lowered—of course, that will ultimately be up to the judge. When you are released, you will be given a court date. Be certain you don't miss that court date. Put your date in a calendar, take a picture of the date and store in it the cloud, or write it on a post-it® note and place it on your wall. Whatever you do, do not miss it. One of the easiest ways to make a bad problem worse is if you miss your court date.
Step 2. Hire a lawyer. Most people know they need a lawyer when they go to court. But some people think they can hire a lawyer the day before (or even the day of). Wrong! If you want to minimize the impact this has on your life, your lawyer will need to time to investigate, prepare, and negotiate a deal for you. Waiting until the day before your court date is like hiring a bodyguard and then tying his hands behind his back. You want a lawyer to fight for you; and you want to make sure he has all the weapons he needs in his arsenal.
Step 3. Stay off social media. This means don't post anything or comment on anyone else's posts, even if they posted about your arrest with the MobilePatrol™ picture. Remember, you will get your day in court, social media isn't a place to try your case. Nothing good can come from you posting, replying, or even reading social media posts about your arrest—the more people post, reply, or read those posts, the more they show up in everyone else's social media.
Step 4. Follow your lawyer's advice. A big part of your lawyers job is explaining what you can expect next. If this is your first DUI, and it happened in Tennessee, there are any number of variables that will affect the outcome. Every outcome depends on the facts and your situation may be different from others. That said, here are some possible consequences if you get convicted of a 1st time DUI in Tennessee, are over 21, there are no minors in the vehicle, and you are not involved in a vehicle accident:
- Sentenced to serve in the county jail or workhouse not less than forty-eight (48) consecutive hours nor more than eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days.
- If your blood alcohol concentration is twenty-hundredths of one percent (0.20%) or more, you will serve a minimum of seven (7) consecutive days rather than forty-eight (48) hours.
- You may be ordered to participate in a substance abuse treatment program, to litter removal, or to one or more of the following: transdermal monitoring device or other alternative alcohol or drug monitoring device, electronic monitoring with random alcohol or drug testing; global positioning monitoring system, or any other monitoring device the court believes necessary to ensure the person complies with the conditions of probation and, if applicable, the results of the clinical substance abuse assessment.
- You may also be fined not less than three hundred fifty dollars ($350) nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).
- You may lose your license for one year and be limited to a restricted license.
If you get a lawyer early enough (hopefully, as soon as you are given a chance), your lawyer may be able to avoid the conviction of a DUI all together. This can be done by either negotiating a plea to a lessor offense, like reckless driving, or by defeating the state's case. While defeating the case outright is clearly the best result for you, this is not always possible. Sometimes the state's case is simply too good and plea bargain is the best your lawyer can do. Regardless, hiring a lawyer who knows how to handle DUI's to advise you and handle your case will go a long way to minimizing the impact this will have on your life.
Step 5. Be aware of the impact. A DUI can have severe impacts for some people. Your job, professional license, or business may be at stake. If you, for example, have a government clearance, license, CDL, hold a position of public trust, or own a business with contracts subject to moral turpitude clauses, a DUI can have impacts even after your sentence, if any, is served. Your lawyer needs to be aware of these potential impacts as it will both give him negotiating points in any plea bargain and inform him of the reasons why you can't agree to certain deal points.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Tennessee, contact Jones Law today at (931) 532-0665 to see if we can assist you in minimizing the impact your DUI will have on your life. Jones Law serves clients throughout Tennessee through our offices in Lincoln County and Marshall County Tennessee.