When you get a DUI conviction, you will encounter a surge of conflicting emotions, and it might take significant time for them to subside. It is important to remember that this flood of feelings will pass, you will make it out on top of your case, and in time, life will resume as normal.
There are many steps you’ll need to take to legally get through your arrest and charge, and even more steps you can take to manage the emotional burden of the accusation.
• Hire the best DUI attorney you can find. Working with a qualified, experienced DUI attorney will significantly alter your experience through your DUI arrest and case experience. If you can trust your lawyer to make the necessary moves for the best outcome of your case, and he or she can be completely transparent in your communication, a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders. Understanding the steps on a need-to-know basis will veer your mind from worry and getting hung up on unlikely hypothetical scenarios.
• Inform yourself. Ask questions; be completely educated on your DUI conviction and the process ahead. You are using your money for your selected attorney; invest in a lawyer with the knowledge and experience to keep you in the know. At the beginning of the process, look to our information on My DUI Solutions so you can be prepared for what is ahead.
• Don’t get overwhelmed, proceed one step at a time. Right away, many necessary steps present themselves. Stay calm, focus on one solution at a time as you navigate your DUI and legal process. Your attorney will help you with each task at hand; focus on the element before you and don’t look too far ahead.
• Take the emotion out of the equation. This experience won’t last forever and you will get through it! Focus on that and don’t let a DUI redefine who you are. If you start to feel waves of guilt or anger, remember that this was a mistake and you are taking all necessary steps to make the situation better.
• Start taking steps toward your brighter future. By making changes and advances in your life that construct a hopeful journey ahead, you can face any surprises in your case with dignity. You know you are improving your life and yourself, don’t let unforeseen obstacles weigh you down.
The stress of the situation can weigh heavily on some people. You might be having trouble sleeping, you’re worried about what could happen to your job, and you’re embarrassed about what your friends and family might be thinking. To make matters worse, while you’re dealing with all of this stress, you’re also facing important deadlines and are being forced to make some of the most important decisions in your case, decisions which can have a long-lasting impact on your case, your career, and your future. If you accidentally make a critical mistake by missing a deadline or failing to preserve important evidence, you can ruin your chances of getting your license back or even sabotage your entire case.
Here are some stages of surviving your DUI arrest, and the tips you need for surviving the emotional aftershock of your DUI arrest.
• SHOCK and DENIAL: Most clients’ initial reaction to their DUI arrest is a feeling of numbness and disbelief. It’s common to try and deny the reality of the situation at some level, and to try to hide yourself from the reality of what’s happening. Getting arrested and being branded a criminal by the prosecutors and the police can be a very emotional experience. Going into shock and trying to hide is your body’s way of providing emotional protection to keep you from getting completely overwhelmed. This feeling of shock and denial can last for as little as a few days, or as long as a few weeks after your DUI arrest. It’s important to realize that your brain is trying to shut down a little bit, and to seek help as soon as possible, because if you hide too long, you’ll miss important deadlines that can affect the outcome of your DUI case.
• PAIN and GUILT: Once the shock of the DUI arrest begins to wear off, it will be replace with a feeling of suffering and emotional pain. You’ll play the “What if?” game, putting yourself into a torture chamber and thinking about all of the negative things that can arise from a DUI conviction. For many people, this feeling is almost unbearable. But remember: You will get through this. You will survive. Nobody ever died from a DUI arrest. You will probably start feeling guilty about things you did, and feeling regret and remorse about things that you didn’t do or should have done. Unfortunately, some people are going to pile on and try to make you feel worse.
• ANGER and BARGAINING: Once the guilt begins to wear off, the next thing you’ll feel is anger. Feelings of anger can be triggered suddenly and without warning. You might read the police reports and feel that the police officer is lying about your DUI arrest. You might feel anger at yourself for getting behind the wheel. You may be angry at others for letting you drive. Obviously, a DUI arrest can be expensive, and this can add extra stress at home. It’s even more difficult at home if you’re the primary driver and now you’re stuck with a suspended driver’s license. You may want to lash out and blame others, especially close loved ones, just because they’re nearby. You must control your temptation to lash out, because if you don’t, you can cause permanent damage to your relationships, driving away the people who love you and care about, destroying your family life, or even getting you fired. It’s normal and healthy to release your anger and pent-up frustration, but you’ve got to do it in a constructive way (if possible) that doesn’t destroy your relationships. You may yell out loud, or privately rage and ask, “Why me?!?” You may try to bargain in vain for a way out of your despair, saying things like “I’ll never drink again” or making promises if it will “just go away.” Again, this is normal. If you’re prepared to deal with the inevitable anger and bargaining that will arise, you will be able to keep yourself under control so it doesn’t ruin your relationships.
• DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, and LONELINESS: Just when your friends are starting to think that you should be moving on and moving past the stress of the situation, you’ll encounter a period of sadness and self-reflection that can possibly overtake you. This is normal. Don’t let anyone try to talk you out of it, no matter how well-meaning they are. Believe it or not, encouragement from others isn’t very helpful to you during this stage of grieving. In this stage, you may finally realize the true magnitude of the consequences of a DUI arrest, and it can be depressing. You may isolate yourself on purpose, play the “what if?” game again, reflecting on the things that you did (or didn’t) do, and also focusing on your past and other mistakes that you’ve made. You may feel empty, or feel a sense of despair. Yes, DUI arrests are serious, but you can’t let it ruin your life. It’s helpful to have someone to talk to, hopefully someone who listens and understands what you are going through. A close friend, professional therapist, or an experienced DUI attorney is all be good people to talk to. Having an experienced DUI attorney on your side will also help you feel like you’re taking back control over your life.
• THE UPWARD TURN: In this stage, your life will feel calmer and more organized, and your depression will begin to lift. Unfortunately, you may be required to go to court right around this time, which can trigger those negative feelings all over again. Luckily, if you have an experienced DUI attorney by your side, you may be able to avoid going back to court, so those negative emotions don’t get re-triggered and restart the entire process.
• RECONSTRUCTION and WORKING THROUGH: You’re going to start to become even more functional. Your mind will return to processing events normally, and you’ll begin seeking realistic solutions to the problems created by your DUI arrest. You’ll start working on practical solutions to the aftershock of the DUI arrest, and will start tackling the financial problems of reconstructing your life. Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer can help you get to this stage much quicker than normal, because the DUI lawyer can show you techniques and strategies for getting your license back, minimizing the potential punishments, and help you create a final picture of how the case can be handled so that you minimize (or even eliminate!) the consequences of your DUI arrest.
• ACCEPTANCE & HOPE: Here, you will accept and deal with the reality of your DUI arrest. That certainly doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy instant happiness, but it also doesn’t mean that you’ll feel like you’re giving up, either. Given everything that you’ve been through, you may feel like you can’t to the life that you enjoyed before you got arrested, but you will find a way forward. You will also enjoy hope. That hope often comes from finding an experienced professional who has the ability, the reputation, the knowledge, and the experience to help you minimize or eliminate the consequences of your DUI arrest.
In 2017, the state government approved a bill that made 4th-time DUI offenses felonies. Therefore, anyone who is caught drunk driving more than three times in less than 10 years will be charged as felons. Anyone who is caught drunk driving more than five times, no matter the timeline, will also be charged as felons. The penalty attached to this crime is 13-17 months in state prison. It should go without saying, however, that DUIs are a sign of a bigger problem. Anyone who drunk drives that frequently is likely to have alcohol use disorder. If you’ve already racked up a couple of convictions, you would benefit from seeking some treatment for alcoholism. Surviving life after a DUI is difficult. But it’s entirely possible. If you or a loved one has been faced with this sad reality, don’t panic. You’re not a bad person just because you broke DUI laws. As we pointed out above, millions of people are arrested for drunk driving every year. Sure, it’s irresponsible. Yes, it’s dangerous. But, as long as everyone walked away alright, there’s still hope.
All drunk driving cases involve very similar circumstances, such as dealing with the emotional stress that comes with worrying about your case and what is going to happen as your case moves along through the system. Stress is also a result of worrying about what will be the outcome of the case, including what punishments might be imposed. Every drunk driving case involves a certain number of common factors. The first of these is the trauma and emotional stress of a drunk driving stop and arrest, and oftentimes it is hard to get this memory out of your mind. This trauma often results in problems with dietary habits, sleeplessness and weight loss. It is important for you to understand that these problems are not unique to you and that to a large extent; the vast majority of people that commit this offense are not what are commonly thought of as criminals. Making sure that you feel comfortable with the attorney that you select to handle your case is also very important, because much of your stress will be lessened just by having the confidence in your attorney and his or her ability to obtain a positive result. Oftentimes, the problems and the stress that arise from these cases can become worse because of all the waiting. You should understand, however, that waiting is something that your attorney may not be able to avoid. The legal system involves many different kinds of cases and many different people. For example, there are the Judges and the Judges’ scheduling clerks, the Prosecuting Attorneys, the witnesses, and the police officers. Everyone’s calendar must be accommodated when scheduling important matters like trials. Also, simply because of the backlog that many of the Judges and Courts face, these matters can take several weeks to schedule. Judges also usually have nearly 100% control of scheduling. Consequently, while attorneys can do certain things to try to move things along more quickly, your attorney might decide that delay is not advantageous for you.
It may also occur from time to time that your attorney will ask for an adjournment, and this is usually because your attorney is trying to do something or obtain something that will be advantageous to your defense. During these delays, you may be wondering what is happening with your case, and sometimes the answer is – not much at all. For example, it may be that the case is simply waiting its turn in the system, or it may be that your attorney is waiting to receive information about your case. This information is called discovery and obtaining discovery can sometimes take several weeks or even months. These cases are usually handled on a first-in-first-out system, and therefore the arrest that occurred prior to yours will be scheduled first. Depending on the circumstances and the court in which your case is filed, the delay can be anywhere between 2-3 months but sometimes lasts well over a year. Don’t assume that because you are not receiving constant calls and letters from your attorney that nothing is happening with your case. Often, things are happening behind the scenes, such as plea negotiations, and it may also be true that your attorney is simply waiting to obtain the discovery on your case.
One thing that is certain is that your case will always be proceeding in one direction, which is toward a conclusion. Your attorney may not call you each step of the way, so do not assume that nothing is happening because you have not heard from your attorney. Oftentimes, hearings are being scheduled and discovery is being obtained and reviewed, et cetera. Your attendance will always be required every time your case is scheduled for any kind of court date, so we will, of course, notify you of actual hearing dates. Problems with stress are often a result of not knowing what to expect, which is simply a fear of the unknown. Sometimes not knowing what is coming can be the biggest stress inducer. It may be helpful to understand the different steps that your case may go through so that you can better anticipate what will be coming in the weeks and months ahead.
Utah DUI Attorney Free Consultation
When You Need Legal Help Defending Against A DUI In Utah, Please Call Ascent Law LLC For your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506