7 Emotional Stages after a DUI Arrest

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Despite knowing that a DUI charge comes with harsh consequences in the state of Florida, many fail to appreciate the emotional toll it can take. DUI arrests are traumatic to your personal, financial, and work life. You can experience several stages of emotion that may tax your overall health if you don’t learn how to cope effectively.  

The pressure of impending court deadlines and making sound decisions that will ultimately affect your freedom and future may keep you up at night. You don’t want to make any mistakes in your defense or fail to meet a requirement of the court because you could ruin your whole case or lose your license.  

The 7 Emotional Stages

Those facing DUI charges need to emotionally prepare for the stress that results from an arrest and possibly spending time in jail. They should also hire a reputable DUI defense attorney who will not only defend them but offer compassion to help process the emotional turmoil involved with these types of cases.

The below seven emotional stages of a DUI arrest are similar to those of other major life events, and one should treat their mental health seriously. Never hesitate to reach out for help if things are too overwhelming, and talk about possible options for counseling with your lawyer or healthcare provider if needed.

Shock and Denial of Your Situation

Right after arrest for DUI, it might feel like it’s all a bad dream. The shock of the situation sometimes makes one want to deny it’s even happening or try to avoid dealing with the fallout altogether. This is a typical emotional response because trying to hide from the situation gives your mind time to process the traumatizing experience of your arrest.

Fear and Remorse

When you pass through the stage of shock and denial, feelings of fear start to cause you emotional pain and suffering. You will imagine all the worst-case scenarios of not just your court case, but the impact of a DUI conviction on your life in general.

On top of the remorse, you will feel guilty for what you did. You will think about the day of your DUI and reconsider all the choices you made. Seeing your booking photo released to the Florida public will make you feel even worse. Remember that to learn from mistakes we first have to make them, and it’s also important to remember that this period in your life is temporary.

Making Deals and Feeling Angry

After dealing with a lot of guilt and remorse, you might notice that your temper is shorter than usual. Maybe you read the police report and feel the officer purposely exaggerated the circumstances of your arrest. Worse, maybe you’re angry with yourself for even getting behind the wheel in the first place. Whatever it is causing you to feel sudden bouts of anger, try to use these feelings to do something productive. Controlling your temper is critical to preserving your family relationships, but it’s also critical when you’re in front of a judge in court.

All of this emotional torment makes one desperate to have it all go away quickly. You may find yourself promising never to have another drink or do anything asked of you if the pressures and consequences of your DUI would disappear. While this is not a realistic attitude, it is normal.

Depression and Lonely Introspection

You may finally start to feel like things are beginning to return to normalcy and that you can face the consequences and move on from your DUI situation. Then, unexpectedly, the full weight of your actions will crush this optimism out of the blue.

Similar to remorse, introspection takes a broader view of your entire life and all the other big mistakes you’ve ever made. DUI arrests are significant errors in judgment, and you may beat yourself up about having already known better than to attempt to drive home intoxicated.  Some individuals isolate themselves during this stage and experience depression just thinking about all the other mistakes they made in life.

This is a normal feeling, but don’t face it alone. If you find yourself hiding away from others and rethinking your past mistakes, find a professional counselor, talk to close friends or your DUI attorney. It’s important to know how to deal with DUI depression, and the keys to recovering from a DUI conviction.

Calmer Seas of Emotion

Once you’ve had time to process your emotions, you’ll feel calmer and more confident about your future. While going to your court appointments may trigger some of your previous anger or depression, they will pass more quickly. Your trusted defense lawyer can also help you bounce back by explaining clearly what your situation is, the likely outcome, and what the plan is for you to move ahead and get your life back on track.

Putting Your Life Back Together

Now that you have a game plan to face your DUI charges, you can focus on solutions to all the stressful situations caused by your drunk driving. This means dealing with the financial issues brought on by the loss of your driving privileges, dealing with your employer’s disappointment in your actions, and rebuilding trust with your family.  Always remember that a normal life is possible after a DUI arrest.

Accepting Reality

In the end, your acceptance and facing the reality of your DUI situation is the most beneficial. This doesn’t mean that everything has become easier and life is entirely back to normal, but acceptance brings hope. This hope and path to your future will appear more quickly with the help of a knowledgeable DUI attorney.

Compassionate Orlando DUI Attorneys

At The Umansky Law Firm, we understand that as humans we are fallible. Our firm believes everyone deserves a second chance after making a mistake and this underscores our compassionate approach toward our clients. We fight aggressively against Florida state prosecutors to protect your rights and future so you can move forward after a DUI arrest.

As former state prosecutors, we know how Florida courts approach drunk driving cases, and this gives us negotiation power to minimize the consequences. Our knowledge about field sobriety testing, breathalyzers, ignition locks, and other new technology will help us defend your case and get you the best outcome possible. Put our more than 100  years of combined experience to work for you today by contacting our office at (407) 228-3838 to receive a free consultation and guide that gives you more information about Florida’s DUI process.