No one should get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. During the last St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Washington police arrested 59 drivers in King County alone.

A first DUI conviction in Washington state can still bring disastrous consequences. For a first offense, drivers can still face up to one year in jail as well as up to $5,000 in fines. It is best to begin mounting a defense immediately right when the police arrest you. Here are the essential steps to take to have the best shot of getting out of this situation all right.

Take the chemical test

Due to Washington’s implied consent laws, you must submit to a chemical test at the police station after the cops arrest you. If you refuse this test, then the DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license. The police may still have plenty of evidence to suggest your intoxication, so you are better off taking the chemical test and cooperating for the time being.

Exercise your rights

You should exercise your right to an attorney right away before you talk to any police officers at any stage of the process. When you are at the jail, the cops may ask you questions to try to get you to incriminate yourself. You must know your rights and request a questioning with your lawyer present.

Request a hearing at the DMV

Once you get out on bail, you need to request a DMV hearing. You only have a limited timeframe to do this, so there is no time to waste. This hearing will be your chance to retain your driver’s license. In the event you do not attend this hearing, then the DMV could suspend your license automatically. Once your license is secure, you can begin preparing for the arraignment however your attorney sees fit.