Make not mistake: A DUI is a serious offense. When you drive intoxicated, you seriously endanger the lives of yourself, your passengers and any other drivers on the road. Despite how common DUIs may seem, there is nothing normal about driving under the influence.

With that being said, once you’ve been charged with a DUI, there’s no point beating yourself up. Instead, it’s important that you take the right steps and make the right choices to remedy the situation as best as possible. Here’s what you should do after a DUI charge.

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Follow The Judge’s Orders To The Letter

Different states have different standard sentences for DUI charges. While some states will in fact sentence you to jail time, other states are more lenient and don’t recommend jail for first offenses, opting instead for community service or court ordered education programs.

Whatever your sentence may be, it’s imperative that you comply with every single aspect. This means paying whatever fines you’ve received and surrendering yourself for any jail sentence that you may have received. The more you comply with the judge’s orders, the better off you will be.

Make Some Serious Changes

Addiction isn’t always a component in a DUI, but it often can be. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important that you seek help. Otherwise, you need to vow to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after imbibing again. If you can’t secure a taxi or safe transportation, then you shouldn’t be going out. After a DUI, it’s not a bad idea to take an extended break from alcohol consumption. If you find this to be an extremely difficult task, then you might just have a problem after all.

There are plenty of normal, mostly law-abiding individuals who are charged with DUIs. These people acknowledged their mistakes, complied with the judge’s orders and changed their behavior going forward. Others don’t take action to improve themselves, fall into a downward spiral and become repeat offenders. Don’t find yourself in the latter group. Instead, take responsibility and make smart choices to ensure that this is an experience that you grow from, not one that ends up being your undoing.