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5 Things to do the day after an OVI or DUI


1. Relax and Breathe. This may seem overly simple. But it’s important. An OVI or DUI is a traumatic experience. It is easy to let the negative thoughts take over. “I’m an idiot. I’m an alcoholic. My life is ruined. I’m going to lose my job. What am I going to tell my wife/husband/kids,” etc.

Certainly, this is a time to reevaluate things. But the negativity can be destructive. There are things that need to be done. And positive action, not negative inaction, is the first step to recovering from the internal negative feedback loop.

2. Find an Attorney and Get Quick Advice. After a DUI, it’s easy to seek advice in all the wrong places. Friends, family, neighbors, etc. will offer all sorts of wisdom about what to do, what you should have done, and the like. But the best wisdom comes from professionals who handle these cases regularly. It’s tempting to get quick tips from a friend who had a DUI. But no two cases are the same, there are always differences. Laws change, different courts treat cases differently, different prosecutors and judges (in the same court) can treat cases differently, and individuals each have unique circumstances. Everyone will have an opinion, but the one that matters comes from an attorney with experience in the field.

There is one exception. It is helpful to seek a referral for a qualified attorney. Often friends, family, co-workers, etc. can provide a referral for an attorney they know or used. It’s best to get several referrals, research attorney qualifications, and set up meetings as soon as possible (preferably face-to-face).

Many attorneys will even agree to meet on weekends and holidays. It’s just part of the business. They understand the urgency of the situation and will make effort to offer quick advice. A good, experienced attorney can provide quick advice and answer questions. But be wary of attorneys who over-promise in the course of a sales pitch for their service. Experienced attorneys have a good book of work and will not promise outcomes to get a “sale.” Look for forthright, candid advice, not flashy promises.

3. Find the Car. “Dude, where’s my car?” This is not as uncommon as we might think. The police will often tow and impound the car driven in a DUI. It’s not always obvious where to find it the next day. And the impound yard is all too happy to store it indefinitely–racking up daily storage fees. Again, a good attorney should be able to help. But short of that, the police agency (cringe) that made the arrest can probably help. It’s ok to call the non-emergency number and ask where the car is. They may even provide necessary paperwork to get the car release. Just be aware that multiple offenders (those with prior DUI convictions) may have to wait until court to get the car released. If there are priors, the car may be subject to a period of immobilization (90 days on a second offense).

Also be sure not to drive if under an Administrative License Suspension for taking a test BAC above the limit or for refusing the test altogether. Unless Uber gets involved, most people need two licensed drivers—one to drive to the impound lot and a second to drive the car home.

4. Get Identification. If the police imposed a license suspension, they typically seize the suspect’s driver’s license. This often leaves people without a picture ID. If air travel is imminent, this can pose all sorts of issues. There are some workarounds, but this is a good time to dig up that passport. But DO NOT go get a permanent “Identification Card” at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles without first confirming that the BMV records are updated to show the driver’s license suspension. Otherwise, the Identification Card will cancel the driver’s license and require the full re-testing process (written, driving, and maneuverability) to get it back. The BMV may issue a “temporary” Identification Card, but only if their records are updated to reflect the underlying driver’s rights suspension. This can take several weeks.

5. Decide who to Tell. Some folks like to share all their problems and look for support, others are more private. Irrespective of friends and family, it’s often necessary to call the boss or supervisor. This can be a dicey proposition. For some, it can result in immediate termination. For others, there may be no consequence. Again, a good attorney can help talk through the pros and cons of notifying employers. Many folks take a “personal day” (or two) to figure it out. Most people must drive to get to work, and many drive during work or for work. There may not be a great solution. But the boss may need to know something in advance. There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Careful consideration of all circumstances is necessary.

We’ve spent over 20 years helping good people in bad situations, and we hope this helps some other good people out there. And if you or someone you know find yourself in need of some deep breathing and legal guidance, feel free to call the OVI and DUI defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer – 24/7 – at 614-224-6142.

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