If you’ve been arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), or any other drunk driving-related offense, you should seek the legal advice of a DUI lawyer. A good DUI lawyer can help minimize or avoid severe penalties and consequences often associated with DUI. Knowing when to contact or hire a DUI attorney can make the difference between going to jail, losing your license, and getting a non-guilty or reduced plea verdict.
Why You Need a DUI Lawyer
A DUI arrest is a serious matter. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, there’s a good chance you’ll face jail time, have your license suspended, and/or pay hefty fines not to mention the potential hardships you may encounter at work, with your future career prospects, and personal relationships. In addition, if someone died as a result of your drunk driving, you will potentially have to deal with severe psychological issues as well. While some legal matters may be handled alone, a DUI arrest warrants the legal advice of a qualified DUI attorney or someone who knows how to handle the intricacies of your DUI case. And not just any criminal defense attorney will do. Because DUI laws are highly centralized and specific, DUI cases are best handled by experienced DUI attorneys or someone with specialized knowledge in this area, including knowledge of traffic laws, motor vehicle laws, and ignition interlock devices. Moreover, a good DUI attorney may challenge certain aspects of your DUI charge based on his or her specialized knowledge of breathalyzers, blood test, and chemical testing procedures. Therefore, you need a good DUI lawyer who can help guide you through the often confusing word of DUI.
What to Look for in a DUI Lawyer
Qualified DUI lawyers handle a variety of cases involving DUI arrests, DWI, and other drunk driving-related offenses. When looking for a DUI lawyer, you should concentrate on the lawyer’s expertise, skill level, commitment, and location or area served. For example, an experienced DUI attorney may help:
• reduce or eliminate jail time;
• eliminate a revoked license;
• reduce your DUI charge to a lesser offense, and/or
• avoid trial with a plea bargain.
How to Find a DUI Lawyer
There are numerous ways to find a DUI lawyer. Referrals from friends and family or online research may be a good start. However, not all websites are the same and unless you live in the same county as your friend or relative or have unlimited hours to spend online, you may wish to find a local DUI lawyer using one of several quality-assured lawyer directories.
Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer
Before selecting a DUI lawyer, you should feel comfortable enough to speak with him or her concerning all aspects of your DUI or drunk-driving related charge. Below are some of the questions you should ask before hiring a DUI attorney.
• How much of your criminal defense practice is devoted to DUI/DWI cases?
• How much of my DUI case will you actually handle?
• How many DUI/DWI cases have you defended?
• Are you aware of the state’s breathalyzer requirements and/or loopholes?
• What are your attorney’s fees, and how are they calculated?
DUI Lawyer Fees
The cost of fighting a DUI charge will vary and depends on a number of factors. First, not all DUI attorneys are the same, and a good DUI lawyer will probably cost more than an average DUI lawyer. Second, DUI fees will likely vary according to geography, or where you live. Third, DUI charges are case specific and the fees will vary based on the amount of work needed to represent your case (for example, a first-offender vs. habitual offender). In all cases, it is wise to consult with a variety of DUI attorneys in your area to find one you feel comfortable with in representing you and get a sense of the cost involved in fighting your case.
Hire a DUI Lawyer to Help with Your Case
DUI defense is highly technical and depends heavily on the facts of the individual situation. A qualified local DUI attorney can provide invaluable assistance by reviewing your case and advising you on your options moving forward.
What to Say to the Judge
At sentencing, the judge will ask if you have anything you’d like to say regarding your case. Staying silent is one strategy, but it will neither hurt nor help your argument. Speaking up can change the game, but only if you say the right things.
Apologize To The Judge
All judges want to hear you be remorseful for what you did. Making excuses is intolerable and may make things worse. Never express being sorry for getting caught but instead, let the judge know that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions.
Give Some Background
A trustworthy DUI attorney will give the judge some background information on you before or during the court proceeding. However, when you’re asked to speak, gently and carefully expound on the facts. For example, if you have a drug or alcohol problem, admit it and tell the judge you’re working to get it under control.
Expose the Positives of the Situation
While it may seem very difficult to think of any positives regarding being arrested for a DUI, it’s possible with a little forethought and strategy. Touch base on what you learned from your experience and talk about how you’ll refrain from making the mistake again.
Complete Sentencing Requirements Before Being Sentenced
If you think the judge will require drug or alcohol treatment classes as a part of your DUI sentence, take it upon yourself to sign up and complete those classes on your own. Be sure to tell about your participation during court. Not only does this reflect very positively upon you, but it may also encourage the judge to lighten your legal load.
Promise to Act More Responsibly
By promising the court that you will never commit the crime again, you appear remorseful. If the message is delivered with sincerity (and especially if it’s your first offense), the judge may reduce your sentence as a result. However, it’s important to keep your promise. Whatever you say to the judge is recorded and if you get arrested for the same thing again, your promises may be disregarded or viewed as an empty plea. Most importantly, always be genuine when speaking to a judge. Don’t fake your emotions and never appear to be above the law. It’s okay to be nervous or confused about the process.
Can I Beat a DUI If I Was over the Limit?
First, you must have the courage to stand up and fight for yourself and not just hang your head and plead guilty. Second, you must use the tools available to you to fight the charges. The tools include not only a toolbox of legal defenses but the skill and knowledge to use the facts of your case to illuminate where reasonable doubt exists or to even prove innocence. Yes, you can beat a DUI charge, regardless of your test results and the legal limit. Legal motions, objections, and arguments are a great way to beat a DUI. Your case should be analyzed from the very beginning for legal flaws, which have nothing to do with whether you were over the legal limit. There are strict rules controlling how a DUI case is to be handled in court, and, if the rules are broken, a judge can dismiss your case. From the time of arrest, the clock starts running. The officers must process you through the system and release you or bring you before a judge. If they do not do this correctly, you may be able to beat the case. Another legal clock starts running after you have been arraigned or advised of the charges against you, and you have pleaded not guilty. If you have been released on bail or your own recognizance the prosecutor has 45 days to take you to trial, or the case should be dismissed. Many times, the District Attorney cannot get their case together in time, and they are forced to ask the judge to dismiss the charges. At other times, the case can be dismissed when the evidence of your alleged wrongdoing is suppressed or thrown out. Defense attorneys can file motions to request that judges suppress evidence when it is improperly obtained. For example, if the cops make an illegal profile stop of someone without the proper reasonable suspicion, the judge can find that the cops’ behavior was inappropriate.
In such a case, the judge should grant the defense attorney’s request to throw out the observations of field sobriety tests and the breath or blood test. When this type of motion is granted, the prosecutor does not have the evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At that point, the case should be dismissed. Trial is another great time to beat your DUI, even if your test result shows you as being over the legal limit. Your defense attorney is “at home” in a courtroom setting; the cops are not. The cops want to be out in the field making arrests, not in the courtroom being looked at under the microscope of cross-examination. When you question the cop about how he/she actually performed their investigation compared to how they were supposed to have done so, the cops lose credibility. The cop’s loss of credibility has nothing to do with the defendant or their alcohol level. When the officer loses credibility, defendants beat a DUI charge. During trial, a good defense attorney will be able to prevent unreliable or irrelevant testimony from getting to the jury. Prosecutors often try to get the ugly evidence of a chemical test result in front of the jury. This chemical test evidence is very technical and usually requires that several witnesses testify to properly lay a foundation for the result. Prosecutors are often unable to prove that the chemical tests given are reliable or trustworthy. If the test is not deemed trustworthy, a judge will not let a jury hear the evidence. With no chemical test result in evidence, you can beat the DUI. Even if the breath or blood tests are shown to the jury, the evidence still needs to be explained. A chemical test that is given an hour or so after the actual driving took place does not tell anyone what the actual alcohol level was at the time of driving. The district attorney needs to prove that a person was driving, and that at the time they were driving, they were over the legal limit. The proper functioning of the breath or blood testing equipment is another area where a lot of DUI cases are won. The breath or blood testing machines that are used (such as the Breathalyzer) have strict regulations controlling how and when they are maintained, calibrated, and checked for accuracy. The technicians maintaining these machines may not be properly trained, or the city or county may not have the money to pay for proper maintenance or repairs. If the testing equipment does not work properly, the results may not be relied upon. If the proper maintenance protocols are not followed, you can beat your DUI irrespective of alcohol level. Many people wrongly think that because they were arrested, they are guilty. This is simply not true, and many people are pleasantly surprised to find out that even though they were told that their alcohol level was over the legal limit, in reality, it was not, and they are not guilty.
What to Do if You Are Stopped while under the Influence
Pull over: Pull over at a safe place. Officers begin making observations immediately when they suspect that someone has been drinking and is driving. Anything a person does goes into the report. Be safe, pull over in a safe spot, and turn off the engine.
Be calm: Do not make any suspicious movements. Again, officers are observing everything a person does. Do not make any suspicious movements like trying to hide open alcoholic beverages or drugs. The best policy is to keep one’s hands on the steering wheel.
Be polite: Be cooperative and polite. Arguing with the police officer will not help one’s situation. If an individual is hostile, combative, rude, etc., officers are more likely to arrest them even if their blood alcohol level is not above the legal limit. On the other hand, do not be too talkative or complimentary. This can also arouse suspicion.
Only provide minimal information: Do not incriminate yourself, but tell the truth. You are required to give the officer your name, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, but you are not required to tell the officer if you have been drinking, how much you have been drinking, etc. One way to answer these other questions and still be polite is to simply say something like, “I am sorry officer, but I have been advised not to answer any further questions.”
Take the tests at the police station: The chances are good that if you refuse field sobriety tests and a handheld breathalyzer, the officer will arrest you and take you to the police station. You are obligated by law in most states to take tests while at the police station. The best-case scenario is to take the breathalyzer test and not take the blood test because attorneys can challenge the reliability of the breathalyzer test in court, but a blood test that reflects that an individual is over the legal limit is pretty much a conviction. In most cases, take the breathalyzer test at the police station.
Be cooperative at the police station: While at the police station, you will most likely be detained for short period until you can post bail. Be cooperative, follow instructions, and keep to yourself.
After you are released from jail, record everything you can recall. Immediately upon release, it is extremely important that you write down everything you can recall about the arrest.
Get an attorney: It is extremely important to get legal representation before attempting to fight a DUI. Get a qualified and experienced attorney who regularly handles these cases and discuss the issue with them.
When you need legal help for a DUI in 84602, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506