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How to Manage the Stress of Facing a DUI Charge

Facing a Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) charge in New Hampshire is stressful. There can be a high amount of frustration, anxiety, or even shame stemming from an arrest. These emotions only increase as you face the criminal case and potential consequences, which may include a long loss of driving privileges and court fines. In some cases, these emotions are amplified by the possibility of jail time. People are often plagued by their decision to refuse a chemical test, others by the constant worry of what the chemical test result will show. There is also added stress as the arrest may be disclosed to family members, people in the community, and even employers.

Unfortunately, a DUI arrest will impact your life in several ways. There are numerous ways you can handle the stress of this situation.

1. Avoid the DUI Arrest Shame Spiral.

Even if you made a decision to consume alcohol or drugs and get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you may not be guilty of a DUI. But there is often a lot of self-blame surrounding that decision.

A DUI arrest shame spiral is a cycle of escalating shame and self-blame that is difficult to disrupt. Essentially, people engage in unhealthy self-loathing and cannot properly manage the emotions surrounding the arrest.

Remember, it is good to feel guilty when you make a mistake, but punishment should be equivalent to the mistake and should not be forever.

A DUI arrest, and even a DUI conviction, is something that any person can cope with. It may not be easy, but it is manageable.

2. Avoid Using Alcohol or Drugs.

First, it may be a condition of your bail to avoid consumption of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs. In that case, you must comply with bail and not consume them.

Second, alcohol is a depressant. If you are already struggling with anxiety and depression stemming from your DUI arrest, alcohol is not the solution.

Lastly, your circumstances will be worse if there is another arrest for alcohol or drug-related offense. Do everything in your power to make your circumstances better.

3. Take care of yourself.

Keeping your body healthy is a good step in staying positive and managing the stress of DUI arrest. This can be done through healthy amounts of rest and exercise, as well as proper eating. Breathing, yoga, and mindfulness exercises can be particularly helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed.

4. Stay in the Day.

Part of the stress of a DUI arrest is the stress of the unknown. You don’t immediately know how much the fines will be or how long you could lose your motor vehicle license. You don’t know how this will affect your life, your family, or your job.

You cannot fix the stress of facing a DUI arrest in a single day. This process takes time. Remember that you can only do so much to make your circumstances better. And more than that, you can only do so much in a day. Take pride in doing the best you can each day to face this criminal case.

5. Rely on your Support System.

Don’t go through a stressful time in your life, like a DUI arrest, on your own. Consider reaching out to friends and family who you trust and who support you. Sharing the burden with a social support system can help you cope.

Most people don’t want to share with friends and family that they were arrested for DUI. You don’t necessarily need to in order to get support. People will respect your privacy if you reach out and tell them you are facing something difficult and need a friend.

Don’t have a good support system? That’s okay. You can develop one. Consider joining a self-help group. You would be surprised how many average, professional, educated people have faced what you are facing and coped with the emotions that may feel overwhelming.

6. Seek Professional Help.

One way to handle anxiety stemming from a DUI arrest is to consult with a licensed mental health professional. This may be helpful to address underlying issues with depression or anxiety.

It may also be an opportunity to examine your relationship with drugs or alcohol. You can seek an assessment from a Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor. You can make an appointment with a counselor or therapist. You may also consider more intense treatment if your situation warrants it, like detox, a rehabilitation treatment center, or intensive outpatient treatment.

Any of these options may give you more awareness of your mental health and about your relationship with drugs or alcohol. It may also help your criminal case.

7. Take Control of the Situation.

Most people facing a DUI arrest feel completely out of control. Some DUI arrests trigger almost guaranteed loss of driving privileges, starting 30 days from the date of arrest. Some professionals face the reality that their professional certifications could be impacted by a misdemeanor conviction. Parents fear the inability to maintain employment or continue child transportation if they lose their driver’s license for an extended period. It is natural to stress about the impact these things could have on life. But don’t give up, and don’t spin out of control.

Take back some control by consulting and hiring a lawyer to represent you. You may find comfort in knowing there is someone you can consult with about the arrest and what comes next. The DUI attorneys at Shaheen & Gordon have decades of experience guiding clients through the process of a DUI charge in New Hampshire and frequently secure favorable results. If you need help following a DUI arrest, please contact our team today.

Attorney Joe Cherniske is a partner at Shaheen & Gordon, focusing his practice on criminal defense and DUI. Joe recognizes the life-changing consequences criminal charges can have and uses an aggressive and knowledgeable approach to prevent or mitigate them.