What To Do If You Get Pulled Over For A DUI This Holiday Season

Don't drink and drive. It's not smart. While drunk and impaired driving kills and injures many people throughout the year, the holidays are the hardest with over 300 people dying, on average, each year in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. There are multiple ways holiday revelers can avoid this situation, from selecting a designated driver to riding an Uber home and getting your car back another day. Nevertheless, DUIs happen, and if you are pulled over, here is a step-by-step rundown on what you need to do. 

1. Stay Calm: There is no need to get upset, yell, or cry. It doesn't change anything. Police officers need calm to do their job properly, especially if you happen to be on the side of a busy road. Following their directions and staying calm can make the best of a bad situation. 

2. Ask About the Arraignment: If you get arrested, be sure to ask the officers where they are taking you and when the arraignment will be. No one can bail you out without that information. Once you have been booked, the officers will make arrangements to have you arraigned in front of a judge. In layman's terms, this means they will tell the judge what you are being charged with, and the judge will, in turn, set the amount of the bail. 

3. Contact a Bail Bondsman: Once the bail has been set, have a family member contact a local bail bondsman and make arrangements to bail you out. Typically, you are required to come up with 10 percent of the bail amount and the bail bondsman will provide the other 90 percent. Think of your 10 percent deposit as his fee. You aren't getting it back, unfortunately. Your only other option, however, is to stay in jail until your your trial, which could be months away. 

4. Hire a DUI Attorney: Once you've been arrested and charged with a drinking and driving offense, whether DWI or DUI, you need an attorney. Even if you think you should just plead guilty and do the time, get an attorney. A good DUI attorney can make sure your arrest was legitimate, the charges are appropriate, and your trial is fair.  

5. Seek Help: Whether you start going to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings or seeing a personal therapist, do it the day after you get bailed out. These services will help you if you have a drinking problem, and if you don't, they can certainly help you put your behavior and choices in perspective. You could also attend a few M.A.D.D. meetings for good measure to show to judge and prosecuting attorney that you are truly contrite for your actions and trying to better yourself so it never happens again. There's no guarantee that such actions will help your case, but it can't hurt. 

6. Attend Every Court Date: No matter how busy you are, you need to attend each and every court date. There is no excuse for skipping or forgetting to show up. Not only will you have a bail bondsman wondering where you are, but you could also have a warrant out for your arrest. 

7. Follow Through with Punishment: Whatever punishment is handed down from the judge, do it and do it now. Community service, more AA meetings, a morgue tour -- whatever it is -- schedule it as soon as possible, show up, and get it done.

8. Make a Better Plan for Next Christmas: Learn your lesson the first time. Don't let there be a second by making a better plan to either not drink or to find a sober ride home next year. 

Getting arrested for DUI results from poor decision-making, it does not have to be the end of the world, however. Stay calm, get bailed out, and hire an experienced DUI attorney. You will survive this and come out stronger and better.