About 40% of car accidents that result in death involve alcohol. If you were recently charged with a DUI, it helps to prepare yourself. Otherwise, you might do or say something that can impact your case.
Here’s everything you need to know while preparing for your DUI defense case. With these tips, you can act with your best interests in mind.
Getting charged with a DUI is already scary enough. With a plan, you can beat the charges.
Don’t make the situation worse than it already is. Instead, learn what to do after you’re charged with a DUI using these tips today.
1. Find an Experienced Lawyer
There are over 61,000 criminal lawyers and attorneys throughout the US. The best move you can make for your DUI defense case is finding a lawyer. Your DUI defense attorney could get the charges dropped.
At the very least, they can reduce your charges. They might even help you avoid jail time.
First, visit your local bar association website or the Martindale-Hubbel directory. Make a list of criminal defense lawyers in your area. Make sure they’re licensed to practice in the area, too.
Some laws and procedures can vary based on where the charges were filed. It’s important to find a lawyer with relevant experience and expertise.
You can click here for more information during your search.
Once you find a qualified lawyer, learn more about their professional history. How long have they worked as a criminal defense attorney?
Make sure they specialize in DUI defense cases, too. Finding a DUI defense attorney will give you peace of mind. They might already have a strategy in mind that can help build your defense.
Ask each lawyer on your list how many DUI defense cases they’ve handled over the years. Then, ask them about the outcome for each case. Ask them what outcome they expect for your case, too.
A good DUI defense attorney won’t make guarantees. Instead, they’ll help you see the reality of the situation.
Take the time to read reviews posted by their recent clients. Read over their contract as well. Then, hire the best attorney for a DUI charge with your goals in mind.
Finding the best DUI attorney can increase your chances of a positive outcome.
If you try to handle the situation alone, however, you could make a costly mistake along the way.
2. Remain Silent
While your attorney starts working on your DUI defense case, it’s important that you remain silent.
You’re allowed to remain silent when you don’t have your lawyer present according to your Fifth Amendment. Don’t try to make a case for yourself or explain what happened. Leave any discussions to your lawyer.
After all, you hired them to protect your best interests.
Remember, anything you say or do can get used against you. An officer might ask you to relay your side of the story. Avoid the urge to make a statement or plead your case.
Otherwise, the officers might use what you say to make an arrest, even if they don’t have tangible evidence.
Once you give a statement, you’re committing yourself to that version of events.
You might say something that will make you look guilty. You could incriminate yourself.
Only discuss what happened with your DUI defense attorney. They’ll fight with your best interests in mind.
3. Don’t Give Consent
It’s not enough to remain silent. Make sure to avoid giving the police consent, too. That includes consent to:
- Look in your car
- Dig through the trunk
- Search your home
If they ask for consent, tell them you need to consult your lawyer first.
4. Building Your Defense
Your DUI defense attorney will help you determine the best course of action moving forward.
For example, your lawyer might argue there was a Miranda violation.
The police are required to tell a suspect they’re officially under arrest under the US Constitution. Tell your lawyer if the officer failed to read you your Miranda warnings. They should mention your right to:
- An attorney
- Remain silent
- Court-appointed counsel
If they didn’t issue your Miranda rights, any evidence they gathered afterward is no longer valid. That includes any biological evidence, field sobriety tests, or incriminating statements.
Your lawyer can also argue the officer failed to follow proper testing protocols.
The officer is obligated to follow certain protocols when administering your field sobriety test (FST). If they failed to follow the proper procedure, you can get the test results thrown out.
Let your lawyer know if the officer was intimidating or disrespectful. Mention if you wore stilettos during the heel-toe test, too.
Your lawyer can also argue violations of the rules of evidence when building your DUI defense case. They might argue the use of unauthenticated recordings, photos, or documents. They might argue improper storage of samples, too.
After your arrest, the officer is responsible for arranging a blood-alcohol test. Your lawyer could argue the test was mislabeled, contaminated, or fermented.
They might also argue you were improperly stopped by the police. Perhaps you’re taking a medication that caused you to appear under the influence.
Let your lawyer know about all conditions related to your case. The smallest detail could help build your defense.
5. Plea Bargains
The prosecutor might try to make an offer to allow you to settle. For example, they might give you the opportunity of a plea deal. Before accepting the offer, discuss it with your lawyer.
Your DUI defense lawyer will help you weigh the pros and cons. Avoid making a brash decision before consulting them first.
Usually, you have three options for a plea.
You can plead guilty and admit to the crime. You can claim you’re not guilty, forcing the state to prove you committed a crime. You can also choose nolo contendere (no contest).
Nolo contendere means you don’t want to fight. You’re not claiming you’re guilty or innocent. However, a claim of nolo contendere is seen as a guilty plea.
Your lawyer will help you make an informed choice.
Don’t try to build your DUI defense case alone. Instead, consult an experienced DUI defense attorney. Their prior experience could make all the difference when building your defense.
They can help you avoid jail time or at least minimize your sentence.