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I Just Got a DUI What’s Next



I Just Got a DUI: Immediate Steps to Take

Being arrested for a DUI can be overwhelming, but knowing the immediate steps to take can help you navigate the process more effectively. Here are the first actions you should consider:

Do Not Talk to the Police

It’s crucial to avoid discussing your case with the police without a lawyer present. Anything you say can be used against you in court. Politely decline to answer any questions and request to speak with your attorney.

Why is it important not to talk to the police? Discussing your case without legal representation can jeopardize your defense and provide evidence that may be used against you in court.

Remember, the police have already decided to arrest you, and nothing you say will change that. Even if you believe you have a strong alibi or evidence of innocence, share this information only with your attorney, who can decide the best way to use it to your benefit.

Contact the DMV Right Away

In Florida, you have only 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the DMV to challenge your license suspension. Failing to do so will result in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges.

What is the 10-day rule for DUI in Florida? The 10-day rule mandates that you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your DUI arrest to avoid automatic license suspension.

To request a hearing, call the phone number on the temporary license issued to you at the time of your arrest. If you need assistance with this process, contact us immediately, and we will help you request a hearing.

Failing to request a hearing means your license will be automatically suspended, which can significantly impact your daily life. Make this call a priority to ensure you have a chance to contest the suspension.

For more detailed information on the DUI process, you can refer to our Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida and learn about the Direct File Process for DUI Cases in Florida.

Consulting with a DUI Lawyer

One of the most important steps after a DUI arrest is consulting with an experienced DUI lawyer. Here’s what you need to know:

Why Hire a DUI Lawyer?

A DUI lawyer can help you understand the legal complexities of your case, represent you in court, and potentially reduce or dismiss the charges against you. They can also assist with the DMV hearing to help you retain your driving privileges.

Why hire a DUI lawyer? A DUI lawyer can provide expert legal advice, represent you in court, and help reduce or dismiss charges. They can also assist with DMV hearings to retain your driving privileges.

Without legal representation, you might miss critical deadlines, such as the 10-day window to request a DMV hearing. A skilled lawyer will ensure all necessary paperwork is filed on time and will strategize the best defense for your case. For more information on the legal process, check out our Step-by-Step Guide to the Florida DUI Legal Process.

Initial Consultation

Many DUI lawyers offer a free initial consultation. Use this opportunity to discuss your case in detail and understand your legal options. Ensure that you choose a lawyer with specific experience in handling DUI cases.

During the consultation, be prepared to share all details of your arrest, including any interactions with the police and results of any breath or blood tests. This information will help the lawyer assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

What to expect during the initial consultation? Be ready to discuss all details of your arrest, including police interactions and test results. This helps the lawyer assess your case and advise on the best course of action.

It’s essential to ask the right questions during the consultation. Inquire about the lawyer’s experience with DUI cases, their success rate, and their approach to handling your specific situation. This will help you determine if they are the right fit for your needs.

To further understand the importance of hiring a specialized DUI lawyer, you might want to read our article on Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida.

How Long Does a DUI Case Take to Resolve?

The duration of a DUI case can vary based on several factors, including whether the case is a misdemeanor or felony. Generally, a misdemeanor DUI case can take three to six months to resolve, while a felony DUI case can take five to seven months or longer, especially in larger population centers.

How long does a DUI case take to resolve? Misdemeanor DUI cases typically take three to six months, while felony DUI cases can take five to seven months or longer, depending on various factors.

It’s important to understand that the speedy trial rule requires misdemeanor cases to be resolved within 90 days and felony cases within 175 days. However, due to delays in receiving necessary information from law enforcement, cases often get continued. A smart attorney will try to make the process as painless as possible for you, minimizing unnecessary court appearances and handling most of the work on your behalf.

For a deeper dive into the timeline of DUI cases, visit our page on How Long Does the DUI Process Take in Florida.

Choosing the Right DUI Lawyer

Selecting the right DUI lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Look for a lawyer with extensive experience in DUI defense, a strong track record of success, and a deep understanding of Florida’s DUI laws.

Consider factors such as the lawyer’s communication style, availability, and willingness to answer your questions. You should feel comfortable and confident in their ability to represent you effectively.

What to consider when choosing a DUI lawyer? Look for experience, a strong track record, and a deep understanding of Florida’s DUI laws. Ensure they communicate well and answer your questions thoroughly.

For more tips on finding the best DUI lawyer for your needs, you can refer to our article on Best DUI Lawyer in Orlando.

Remember, the right lawyer will not only provide expert legal representation but also offer support and guidance throughout the entire process. They will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, whether that means reducing charges, securing a favorable plea deal, or winning at trial.

Understanding the importance of choosing the right lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case. For more information on DUI defenses, visit our Guide on How to Beat Your DUI Case.

Documenting the Incident

Accurate documentation can be crucial for your defense. Here’s how to document the incident effectively:

Record the Details

As soon as possible, write down everything you remember about the incident. Include details such as what you were doing before the arrest, how the police interaction unfolded, and any statements made by the officers. This information can be invaluable to your attorney as they build your defense strategy.

  • Before the Arrest: Note your activities, locations, and any alcohol or substances consumed.
  • Police Interaction: Describe how the officers approached you, what they said, and how you responded.
  • Statements Made: Write down any statements made by the police and your responses.
  • Tests Administered: Record details of any field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, or blood tests conducted.

Why is it important to record details after a DUI arrest? Recording details helps your attorney identify inconsistencies and build a stronger defense.

Identify Witnesses

If there were any witnesses present during your arrest or in the events leading up to it, make a list of their names and contact information. Witnesses can provide valuable testimony that may support your defense. Your attorney can contact these witnesses to gather statements and corroborate your account of events.

  • Friends and Family: Anyone who was with you before or during the arrest.
  • Other Bystanders: People who may have seen the interaction with the police.
  • Employees: Staff at any establishments you visited prior to the arrest.

Why are witnesses important in a DUI case? Witnesses can provide testimony that supports your version of events, potentially strengthening your defense.

Gathering Evidence

In addition to witnesses, there may be other forms of evidence that can support your case. This can include receipts, security camera footage, and any electronic communications that can verify your location and activities before the arrest. Share this evidence with your attorney to help build a comprehensive defense.

  • Receipts: Proof of purchases that can show what you consumed and when.
  • Security Footage: Video from cameras at locations you visited.
  • Text Messages: Communications that verify your timeline and activities.

What types of evidence are useful in a DUI case? Receipts, security footage, and text messages can help verify your timeline and activities, supporting your defense.

Understanding the Timeline

It’s crucial to understand the timeline of a DUI case. Misdemeanor DUI cases typically take three to six months to resolve, while felony DUI cases can take five to seven months or longer, depending on various factors. Knowing what to expect can help you stay prepared and informed throughout the process.

How long does a DUI case take to resolve? Misdemeanor DUI cases usually take three to six months, while felony cases can take five to seven months or longer.

For more information on the duration of DUI cases, you can refer to our Guide on How Long the DUI Process Takes in Florida.

Consulting with Your Attorney

Once you have gathered all relevant details, witnesses, and evidence, share this information with your DUI attorney. They can use this information to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific case. If you need guidance on how to proceed, consider reading our guide on whether you should get a lawyer for a DUI in Florida.


Preparing for Court

Understanding the court process and preparing adequately can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here’s what to expect:

Arraignment

Arraignment process for DUI cases

Your first court appearance is called an arraignment. During this hearing, the judge will inform you of the charges against you and ask you to enter a plea. Your lawyer can advise you on the best plea to enter based on the specifics of your case. In Florida, you have three plea options:

  • Not Guilty: Denying the charges and proceeding to trial.
  • Guilty: Admitting to the charges and accepting the sentence.
  • No Contest: Not contesting the charges but not admitting guilt.

What happens at an arraignment? During an arraignment, the judge reads the charges against you, and you enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Pretrial Hearing and Trial

If you plead not guilty, your case will proceed to a pretrial hearing where your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor. If no agreement is reached, your case will go to trial. Your lawyer will prepare your defense, including gathering evidence and potentially calling witnesses to testify on your behalf.

  • Pretrial Hearing: A meeting between your lawyer and the prosecutor to discuss possible plea deals or case dismissals.
  • Trial Preparation: Your lawyer will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and develop a defense strategy.
  • Trial: A court proceeding where both sides present their case, and a judge or jury determines your guilt or innocence.

What is a pretrial hearing? A pretrial hearing is a meeting where your lawyer and the prosecutor discuss your case, explore plea deals, and determine if the case should go to trial.

Understanding the Timeline

It’s crucial to understand the timeline of a DUI case. Misdemeanor DUI cases typically take three to six months to resolve, while felony DUI cases can take five to seven months or longer, depending on various factors. Knowing what to expect can help you stay prepared and informed throughout the process.

How long does a DUI case take to resolve? Misdemeanor DUI cases usually take three to six months, while felony cases can take five to seven months or longer.

For more information on the duration of DUI cases, you can refer to our Guide on How Long the DUI Process Takes in Florida.

Consulting with Your Attorney

Once you have gathered all relevant details, witnesses, and evidence, share this information with your DUI attorney. They can use this information to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific case. If you need guidance on how to proceed, consider reading our guide on whether you should get a lawyer for a DUI in Florida.

Pretrial Release

After being arrested, you will generally be released in one of two ways: posting a bond or release on own recognizance (ROR). However, when arrested for DUI, you generally are required to remain in jail for a total of eight hours from the time of your arrest.

  • Release by Posting Bond: This option requires the posting of the entire bond (in cash or money order) at the jail. These funds will be returned to you at the end of the case, provided you appear for all court hearings as required.
  • Release on Own Recognizance (ROR): This form of release requires that the judge is convinced that you will appear for all future court proceedings. No bond is required for this release.

What is pretrial release? Pretrial release allows you to remain out of jail while awaiting trial, either by posting bond or being released on your own recognizance.

Notice of Appearance

Should you retain an attorney, they will file a notice of appearance on your behalf. This document informs the judge, the prosecutor, and the clerk’s office that your attorney represents you. It also directs the prosecutor to forward all future correspondence to your attorney. Additionally, your attorney should file a written plea of not guilty to secure your right to a trial.

For more details on the importance of having an attorney, check out our guide on whether you should get a lawyer for a DUI in Florida.

The Discovery Process

After the prosecutor receives your attorney’s demand for discovery, they are obligated to respond. Once your attorney has received discovery, they will evaluate the information and, if permitted, will schedule a deposition of the prosecutor’s witnesses. Your attorney may also obtain any audiotapes or videotapes, which the prosecutor may have.

  • Depositions: Taking sworn testimony from witnesses, usually held at a court reporter’s office or attorney’s office.
  • Reviewing Evidence: Your attorney will review all discovery materials, including police reports and witness statements.
  • Preparing for Trial: Based on the discovery, your attorney will develop a defense strategy and prepare for trial.

What is the discovery process? The discovery process involves obtaining and reviewing evidence from the prosecutor, including police reports, witness statements, and any available audiotapes or videotapes.

Pretrial Hearing

A pretrial hearing will be scheduled several weeks after the arraignment. This hearing enables the judge to determine whether or not the case can be settled. Most judges require your presence at the pretrial hearing. Therefore, unless you are specifically excused, you must plan to attend. If you settle your case by a change of plea at the pretrial hearing, the judge will normally impose a sentence at that time.

For more information on pretrial hearings, check out our Step-by-Step Guide to the Florida DUI Legal Process.

Trial

You may decide to take your case to trial. If that is your decision, the case may require substantial preparation. Preparation should include the review of all testimony and evidence by your attorney. Please note that a significant number of cases do not proceed to trial; most are resolved through negotiation and plea bargain.

Some criminal offenses, such as a violation of probation, are tried only by a judge. However, most criminal charges entitle you to a trial by jury. In this situation, the judge will decide the questions of law, and the jury will decide your guilt or innocence.

  • Judge vs. Jury Trial: Some cases are tried only by a judge, while others entitle you to a jury trial.
  • Trial Preparation: Your attorney will review all evidence and testimony, and may hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
  • Negotiation and Plea Bargain: Many cases are resolved through negotiation and plea bargains rather than going to trial.

What happens during a DUI trial? During a DUI trial, both sides present their case, and a judge or jury determines your guilt or innocence based on the evidence and testimony presented.


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What should I do immediately after getting a DUI?

If you get a DUI, there are several immediate steps you should take:

  • Do Not Talk to the Police: Anything you say can be used against you in court, so it’s best to remain silent until you have legal representation.
  • Contact the DMV: In Florida, you have only 10 days to request a hearing to challenge your license suspension.
  • Consult a DUI Lawyer: An experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand your legal options and represent you in court.

How can a DUI lawyer help me?

A DUI lawyer can assist you in several ways:

  • Legal Representation: They can represent you in court and at DMV hearings.
  • Case Evaluation: They will review the details of your case to build a strong defense.
  • Negotiation: They can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce or dismiss charges.

For more information, check out our guide on whether you should get a lawyer for a DUI in Florida.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Florida?

The penalties for a DUI in Florida can be severe and may include:

  • Fines: Monetary penalties that vary depending on the severity of the offense.
  • License Suspension: Your driving privileges may be suspended for a period of time.
  • Jail Time: Depending on the circumstances, you may face incarceration.
  • Probation: You may be placed on probation with specific conditions to follow.

For a comprehensive list of penalties, visit our Florida DUI Penalties Guide.

How long does the DUI process take in Florida?

The duration of the DUI process in Florida varies:

  • Misdemeanor DUI Cases: Typically take three to six months to resolve.
  • Felony DUI Cases: Generally take five to seven months, but can extend up to two years in larger urban areas.

For more information, read our guide on the DUI process timeline in Florida.


Explore additional areas of legal expertise we offer to better serve your needs:

Beginner’s Guide to DUI in Florida Direct File Process for DUI Cases in Florida
Difference Between DUI and DWI in Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citations in Florida
Actual Physical Control (APC) in Florida DUIs Florida’s .08 Per Se Standard for DUI
Blowing Over the Legal Limit but Not Drunk Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida
What to Do After a DUI in Florida Step-by-Step Guide to the Florida DUI Legal Process
How Long Does the DUI Process Take in Florida I Just Got a DUI, What’s Next?
Most Common Questions About Florida DUIs Answered How to Win Your DUI Case
DUI Defense Guide Strengthen DUI Defense

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best DUI lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your DUI charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every DUI case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At the forefront of our DUI practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. Stellar reviews are what make us one consistently one of Central Florida’s top-rated DUI law firms. You can read more 5 star reviews here: https://leppardlaw.com/reviews/














I Just Got a DUI – What’s Next?

Take the First Step Towards Your Defense

Dealing with a DUI charge can be incredibly stressful, but you don’t have to navigate this challenging time alone. At Leppard Law: DUI Attorneys, we treat our clients like family, always putting your best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome for your case.

What does it look like to have a personal relationship with your attorney? It means having someone who truly has your back when things get tough—a lawyer who knows you as well as they know your case. At Leppard Law, we pride ourselves on this personal touch and our commitment to excellence.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Experience our dedication and expertise firsthand. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI or any criminal offense, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page.

Our commitment to excellence has been recognized with numerous accolades:

  • Named as one of the “Top Personal Injury Lawyers in Orlando, FL” 2023 by Expertise
  • Highlighted among the “Top Personal Injury Attorneys near Sanford, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Listed among the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Sanford” from 2016-2023 by Expertise
  • Recognized as one of the “Top 10 DUI Attorneys near Orlando, FL” by Thumbtack
  • Ranked as #1 on Yelp’s list of “Best Lawyers in Orlando” (2024)

At Leppard Law, we take immense pride in helping our clients navigate through some of life’s most challenging moments. Your trust and support have fueled our commitment to excellence, and we’re honored to be a part of our shared community. While we hope you never face a criminal charge, we want you to know that if the need arises, we’re here for you.

ONE call to our top-rated criminal defense attorneys can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation today, and let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve. Call us now at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page to get started.

“From Their Bench to Your Defense” – As former prosecutors, we’ve sat on their side and mastered their playbook. Now, we’re in your corner, defending your rights with exceptional dedication and expertise.

Don’t let a DUI charge define your future. Take control and let us help you navigate through this challenging time. Schedule your consultation today and let Leppard Law provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.


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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your DUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton