When you are facing a DUI charge, it is important that you understand this is a serious matter that requires experienced legal representation. It is understandable if you are confused about what to do next and what options you have to fight a DUI charge.
Here are some steps you can take after being arrested for a DUI:
Let’s Start with the Tests…
In the process of being arrested, it is likely that you completed both a field sobriety test, as well as breath, urine, and blood tests. If you refused all of these tests and were charged with a DUI, this means there are no test results to use in your case. Even with no clear evidence, this could lead to an automatic license suspension anyways.
In cases where you have refused to complete a blood, breath or urine test, you might stand an increased chance of reducing or dismissing the criminal DUI charges, but you will have to deal with the immediate punishment of any license suspension. Even if you are successful in winning your DUI criminal case after you have refused a test, you still must comply with the mandatory license suspension where applicable.
1. Get Legal Advice
Once you have been arrested for a DUI, your first stop should be to obtain an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Do not assume that the police are on your side or interested in helping you with your case. While they might try to tell you that cooperating with them will lead to reduced sentences or a better experience overall, you need to have someone advocating for you, and this is not necessarily the police officer.
Remember that officers are trained to get as much information and evidence as possible in order to charge someone with a crime. Even speaking to the police immediately after a DUI arrest could give them additional evidence or details to help support a case against you.
2. Work with Your Attorney
To avoid this, communicate only with your criminal defense attorney and request to have your attorney in the room when you are being questioned. This is your right and something that may help you avoid further challenges with your case.
After going through the initial process of being arrested and questioned, you will need to consult with your attorney on the best way to craft a case. Walk through the entire arrest with your criminal defense lawyer so that you can explore whether there are any opportunities to allege that your rights have been ignored.
If the police officer stepped over the line and violated your constitutional rights, the penalties associated with your DUI can be reduced or dismissed entirely. It is important that you have a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer review all of the facts of your case to determine whether this possibility exists.
3. Collect Evidence
After hearing your side of the story, your criminal defense attorney will probably want to gather any additional evidence and speak to potential witnesses in order to craft a case. Having an attorney who has worked with driving under the influence cases in the past is important because he/she likely knows the procedures and the manner in which your case is likely to be handled.
This also gives your attorney the opportunity to speak directly with any police officers or prosecutors involved in the case to discuss reduced or dismissed sentences.
4. Protect Your Rights
Having an attorney at your side is the best way to proceed in this type of case because trying to handle it alone could mean that you are facing stiffer penalties.
One of the most common reasons for having a case dismissed related to DUI is a mistake that a police officer made – either in the initial arrest or in the handling of evidence. There can also be problems with the test used to determine that your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. Make sure that your lawyer is committed to exploring all possible options to help fight a DUI charge.
5. Don’t Fall for the Myths…
Some people are under the impression that driving under the influence is not a serious crime because it is not typically classified as a violent crime. The potential consequences of being convicted with a DUI, however, are serious. It could include court costs, probation, fees to reinstate your license, having your car towed, or even jail time.
Do not minimize the impact of a potential DUI conviction on your record. Regardless of the circumstances in your case, seek out an experienced criminal defense lawyer sooner rather than later.
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