You’ve Been Charged with Drinking & Driving – So Now What?
Do not simply plead guilty. Being charged with a drinking and driving offence is a harsh reality that you can’t change, but there are steps you can take to help yourself right now.
Drinking and driving cases are won on facts and, therefore, it’s important to preserve those facts. How do you do that? You do that by recording your memory of the events in writing. Do this right away and do it on your computer on a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. Try to avoid using pen and paper. The reason I say this is as you start recording, you will inevitably remember other details. On a word processing program, it is easy to go back and insert those details – with pen and paper it is not so easy and can get quite messy. Before you start recording your memories, ensure that the document will be secure and unavailable for others to see.
The first thing you should type at the top of the page is, “To my lawyer”. This will maintain the privileged nature of the document or, in other words, prevent this document from ever being used against you, should it fall into the wrong hands. You should then record in as much detail as possible, as many of the circumstances as possible. This includes details such as when you started drinking, where you were drinking, with whom you were drinking, how the drinks were paid for, when you stopped drinking, which route you drove, how you came to the attention of the police, what verbal exchange took place with the police, as well as a detailed sequence of events that occurred once you started to interact with the police right through to the time you were released by the police. Include as many details as you can. Don’t worry about overdoing it. The reason for this is that you might not realize that a particular fact is relevant to your case. If you leave it out, that fact may never come to light and its exclusion could have a negative impact on your case. You should do this write up as soon as you possibly can, following your arrest. The reason for this is simple: your memory deteriorates over time and the best chance of capturing the most accurate version of what transpired is sooner rather than later. The purpose for this writing exercise is twofold: The first is to provide your lawyer with as much detailed information as possible. The more information you are able to provide to your lawyer, the better advice he or she will be able to give you. The second is to preserve an accurate account of the events. If your case proceeds to trial, that trial might take place as far as a year away. You may be required to testify at your own trial.
Naturally, your memory is not going to be as a clear a year down the road as it is closer to the time of the incident. By writing everything down, you’ve preserved your memory and created a way to refresh your memory should you be required to do so at the time of trial. Do your best to complete this exercise before you go to see your lawyer for the first time. It is a simple but crucial step. Then, hire an experienced DUI lawyer.