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What to do when arrested for DUI/ DWI

What to do when Arrested

I understand you may have been confused, concerned, angry, and unsure of what to expect when you were arrested. Whether you made a mistake, or the officer did, it is important to begin protecting your rights and starting on your defense as soon as possible.


Use Your Miranda Rights / Do Not Incriminate yourself

You have the right not to incriminate yourself. If the officer is questioning you about the incident after you are arrested, he must inform you of your Miranda rights. However, the officer does not have to tell you about your Miranda rights prior to you being arrested/ in custody.

Your Miranda rights include the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. It is rarely a good idea to make statements to the officer. The easiest and best cause of action is likely to just not make any statement at all. If you are going to make a statement, you should have a lawyer present.

Telling the officer you are drunk, tipsy, buzzed, or pretty much anything other than completely sober, is probably the worst thing you can do to hurt your case.



Hopefully, you were able to make bail and be released shortly after arrest. If so, you have opportunities to start preparing your case.


Get your Blood Tested

I highly recommend you go to the hospital for a blood test, to check for alcohol, as soon as you are released from jail. This evidence can be the best available defense in your case.


Take Photographs of the Scene

Where you were driving, and where you did field sobriety can be important factors to build a defense to your case. Often, it can be useful to show pictures or video to the judge or jury. Your lawyer should go to the scene and go over the route you traveled. Additionally, you, or your lawyer, should take pictures of the scene which can help your case. This includes any debris where you did the tests, a non-level surface, winding roads, construction, etc. It is best to take the picture/video at the same time of day that you were arrested to show what the conditions were like at the time in question.



Make a List of Witnesses

You should start to make a list of potential witnesses soon after you are arrested, while you are most likely to remember things. Make a list of people you were with prior to driving, especially if they observed you drinking, or not drinking; a list of anyone in the car with you; and a list of anyone who picked you up from the police station. These people will be able to testify as to any observations they made which may be able to show you were not impaired.


Seek Alcohol Treatment

In certain cases, it will help your case if you receive treatment or counseling related to alcohol prior to the actual case. This is very case specific. Discuss this option with your lawyer to determine if the benefits outweigh any consequences. Besides helping your case, if you do have a problem with alcohol, it is in your best interest to seek treatment regardless of the outcome of the case.


Get the Necessary Money Together

Just by being arrested, you are facing costs. You likely want a qualified DWI lawyer to represent you. This will normally cost a few thousand dollars. Expert witnesses are often additionally a couple thousand dollars. You will likely have to take time off from work for Court appearances. If you lose your license or are convicted, you may lose your job. If you are found guilty, there will be mandatory minimum fines you must pay, as well as a costly things you must do prior to getting your license back.


Seek out a Qualified New Hampshire DWI Lawyer

There are certain timeframes you must follow in your case to protect your rights. Make sure you do not miss any deadlines. Further, in some cases there are things you must/should do close in time to the date of offense. Seek out a qualified DUI lawyer to best protect your rights.


Besides all the things you should do, there are a couple of things you should not do after being arrested.


Do not Plead Guilty to DWI until you Completely Understand the Charge, the Evidence, and all of the Associated Consequences

I have had many people who were not represented by a lawyer, or by a lawyer who does not regularly handle DWI case, call me after they enter a plea, regretting the decision, and wanting a different outcome. In some circumstances, a previous plea may be withdrawn/ set aside; however, it is often a very difficult thing to do. It makes much more sense to get a qualified lawyer in the first place prior to entering any plea.


Do not Drive while your License is Suspended

If you drive after suspension for DWI you will go to and lose your license for an additional year.


Don't assume you are Guilty because you are Arrested for DWI!

Make the State prove their case. It is the State’s burden to prove both the administrative license suspension, as well at the criminal case. If the prosecutor cannot do these things, you will remain not guilty and keep your license. Often, cases that appear on the surface to be bad will have good legal defenses. Seek out a qualified lawyer to protect your rights.

Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee a future outcome. Results include cases in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Attorney Dan Hynes is admitted to practice law only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This website may be considered advertising. Contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship and the information on this site is not legal advice and may be inaccurate or not applicable to your case. Each case is different.

Mailing Address: Dan Hynes PO BOX 598 Merrimack, NH 03054