In some places, your arraignment (the court appearance where the district attorney decides whether to charge you with a crime) will occur in the next few days after arrest. This obviously will be the most pressing issue. While an attorney is not necessary at such a hearing, you likely will find it smoother and much easier to have an attorney with you. It also will save you a court appearance of having to come back later with an attorney if, ultimately, you decide to hire a lawyer.
A skilled lawyer will know how to lead you through the process. It’s generally my practice to take care of everything for my clients; they don’t have to worry about doing any talking in court. There are some courts where arraignments are scheduled out weeks or even a month. In this case, you still might find it helpful to contact an attorney asap about how to handle the case.
The more pressing issue will be dealing with a possible implied consent issue. This is when you’ve either refused a blood, breath, or urine test or you provided a breath test sample and blew over the legal limit (a BAC of .08 or higher). There is a license suspension associated with these refusals or failure, and you have 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing with the office of administrative hearings to contest the DMV’s intent to suspend your driving privileges under the implied consent law. This is completely separate from the court suspension with a DUI conviction.
There are a number of ways having a DMV ICH (DMV Implied Consent Hearing) can be valuable to you and requesting such a hearing seriously should be considered. And, remember, 10 days is 10 days. The DMV will not give you an extension for requesting a hearing absent good cause (and this is hard to establish), so, be sure to get this request in on time.