If you just received a DUI charge (a.k.a. OMVI, OVI, DWI, etc.), you are likely experiencing an upheaval of difficult feelings and emotions…anger, regret, anxiety, dread, maybe even self-hate. These are normal responses. 

This blog is written to offer perspective on these emotions and help you develop a proactive plan for the next steps. Here’s what to do after you or a family member gets a DUI.


Talk to Someone to Help You Process

If you feel emotionally overwhelmed, we encourage you to speak with a mental health professional. It’s important to take preventative steps and take care of your mental health—something that can help you feel more confident navigating the journey after your DUI.

Everyone responds differently to an event like a DUI. The emotional impact typically varies with the severity of the incident. These factors might include: 

  • The arresting officer’s demeanor
  • Whether or not there was an accident and/or injuries
  • How much public or professional exposure the DUI charge is causing you
  • Whether you spent some time in jail

Whatever situation you are in, taking the time to process will help you feel more grounded and ready to tackle what lies ahead. Here are some strategies you can try to help manage stress and anxious feelings

Stay Educated

You’ll find a lot of DUI information on the internet. Where  should you start though and who can you trust? You can  narrow down your search first looking up information regarding DUI laws in the state where the event occurred. 

This will point you in the right direction but ultimately, you will have to deal with the prosecutor and a judge who have their own style and nuanced procedures. Thus, it’s vital to find an attorney who does business in the same local court where the DUI event occurred. 

Consider Hiring an Attorney

Even if you are considering pleading guilty, our advice is that you hire a reputable attorney. You will have the option of using your own attorney. If you cannot get one, the courts will appoint a public defender for you. 

Attorneys are not there just to “get people out of their charges”. They are there to make sure you are fairly represented in court. Make sure the attorney specializes in DUI defense. This is no time to be funding someone who is on the DUI learning curve, or trying to save money by using your uncle’s buddy who is actually a divorce attorney.

Make Time for Self Reflection

During a time like this, it’s easy to panic and make swift decisions. Whether you’re speaking to an attorney or doing online research, we encourage you to carve out time to reflect upon what you have been learning about when reading online or speaking with your attorney. 

Doing so will help you remain grounded and make smart decisions that can positively impact your life and, if applicable, help you get and remain sober. 

Take a Proactive Stance toward Your Offense

Let your attorney be your defense in court. Many attorneys will recommend you receive an alcohol and/or drug assessment as soon as possible, even before your first or second appearance in court. 

An alcohol and/or drug assessment can work in your favor. For example, if your assessment finds you have no alcohol or drug use disorder, it often helps the judge see you as a responsible citizen who presents a lower risk. Thus, it can help mitigate DUI charges.


Ready to Get Started? Get My Assessment.



These FAQs are intended to help fill in any knowledge gaps, as you navigate the DUI process. 

What is a DUI assessment? 

A DUI assessment is a process that determines if an alcohol use disorder exists. And if so, the severity of the condition or disorder.

A legal official may order the DUI evaluation to gain more information on the individual who is under trial. Participating in the assessment can show authorities they are willing to cooperate and possibly mitigate charges. 

What happens when you get your first DUI? 

In most states, a first DUI is a misdemeanor. But this would change if other circumstances are involved, such as drug possession, theft, or an accident that causes harm. 

A DUI often involves jail time, fines, and license suspension. Individuals must go to court, which may involve an arraignment and a sentence. 

What is the best outcome for a DUI? 

If someone is found guilty of driving under the influence, their sentence may involve community service, counseling, and/or online education classes to help minimize any risks moving forward. Participating in these activities can help individuals get back on track and pave a healthier future for themselves. 

While receiving a DUI can be frustrating, it can jump start a positive cycle of change for yourself and those around you.

Learn the 11 ways to cut down on drinking.


How long do most DUI cases take?

It depends on the complexity of the DUI case. While some may take a day, others can last anywhere between two and six months. 

Can I drive after a DUI? 

Upon a DUI charge, your driving privileges are typically suspended or restricted for a period of time. The time frame depends on the DUI event or circumstances surrounding the event. In addition, the time period may be longer if it is not your first DUI. 

What impact does a DUI have on my license?

Your license will be suspended or revoked for a set time. Depending on the state, this can range from 30 days to a year or longer. Some states will allow limited driving privileges to drive to and from work.

Lean on New Directions for Your Assessment Needs

New Directions has provided professional DUI assessments online throughout the United States for the last 15 years. If you have more questions regarding what to do when you get a DUI, contact our team.


For more guidance and details on what an alcohol evaluation is, browse our related blog articles: