Fighting A DUI Charge
When a person is arrested for DUI, they often think it is inevitable that they will be found guilty and suffer the penalties for that conviction. But being charged with DUI does not automatically mean you will lose your license or face jail time. A DUI lawyer can help defend you against those charges and depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could be acquitted or have charges dropped.
Defending Against DUI Charges
There are several ways a DUI lawyer may be able to defend against those charges. First of all, the officer who stops your vehicle must have had a reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law in some way in order to make that stop. The officer must then have had probable cause that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs in order to arrest you. If the officer charges you with DUI without probable cause, the charges may be dropped, or you could be acquitted.
But one factor that could have a significant impact on your acquittal or whether the charges are dropped is how you act during the traffic stop. If you are not cooperative, the prosecutor can actually use that behavior as evidence against you in the DUI case. This is why a driver who is stopped by police should never engage in the following behaviors:
- Never exhibit hostility towards police – No matter how frustrated or upset you are that you have been pulled over by police, it is imperative that you cooperate with the officer from your first contact with him or her. Failure to cooperate could make the officer even more suspicious. Stay calm, with both hands on the steering wheel, and provide whatever documentation the officer requests (i.e. driver’s license and registration). If you fail to cooperate with the police, they may also add on an obstruction of justice charge with the DUI charge, making a defense even more difficult.
- Do not talk too much – If the officer who stops you suspects you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, do not beg for leniency or come up with excuses as to why you were behind the wheel. All this does is give the prosecutor more evidence to use against you in court. In fact, anything you say can be used as evidence against you if police end up charging you with DUI. If you talk too much, you may accidentally admit to drinking (i.e. “But officer, I only had one glass of wine.”) and that too will be used as evidence against you. If the officer asks you any questions other than your name, address, and date of birth, politely refuse to answer them.
- Do not agree to submit to a field sobriety test – Under the law, you are not required to submit to any field sobriety test. When it comes to breath or blood tests that measure your blood alcohol content, the laws in your state will determine whether or not there are consequences for refusal. In states that have implied consent laws, if you refuse to submit, you will likely have your license suspended even if you are found not guilty of DUI or those charges are eventually dropped. A DUI lawyer can help defend against any implied consent charges, as well.
- Do not resist arrest – If the officer ends up arresting and charging you with DUI, do not resist arrest or try to get away. This will only result in additional charges against you, such as resisting arrest or assault on an officer, which have very serious consequences if convicted. It will also make defending against the DUI charge very difficult.
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