An arrest, even for a misdemeanor charge such as driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), is extremely stressful. If this is your first such experience, what should you do?

Here are four steps to help you cope with a first-time arrest, no matter how serious the offense.

1. Call your family

After you arrive at the detention facility, the personnel will probably allow you to make a phone call. Use this opportunity to call a family member or close friend who can contact others who will help you, such as a bail bondsman or an attorney. If your stay in jail is longer than a few hours, whoever you call may also be able to provide you with cash so that you can buy food, toiletries and other necessities.

2. Contact a bail bondsman

Understandably, you probably want to get out of jail at the earliest opportunity. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may need the help of a bail bondsman to do so. The fee for the services of the bail bondsman will be a percentage of the bond amount the court orders.

3. Seek legal help

Although the court will permit you to represent yourself, it is a sound idea to seek legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows the state and federal laws, practices in the court where your case will be tried, and will work to either get the charges against you reduced or have them dismissed altogether.

4. Abide by the law

Once you get out of jail, resolve to steer clear of any further trouble with the law. After your release, you may have to follow certain requirements either the court or the bail bondsman has established. You must take care to abide by the law so that you do not end up in jail again. Rely on legal guidance and do everything you can to help ensure the best outcome possible for your case.