After being pulled over for a DUI, you may wonder what happens next. Often, mistakes – mistakes made when the arresting officer asks you questions, mistakes made in terms of representation, and especially mistakes made in court. There are ways to avoid these problems. This guide shows you how.
You only need to give identifying information to the officer – your license and registration – but you do not have to answer further questions. Perhaps most importantly, you do not have to say whether you’ve been drinking or not. You can avoid any other questions the officer asks. Explain you will answer no questions without a lawyer on hand.
You by law have to take the breathalyzer in all states, but other tests, such as field tests where you walk in a straight line or say the alphabet backwards, are not mandatory. While an officer may ask, and you may want to prove you are fine, this is a test you simply do not have to take.
Many make mistakes in hiring legal representation (or in not hiring). Say you get pulled over, charged with a DUI, and decide to plead guilty. You are then allowing the maximum penalties to be enforced. Or, say you hire a court appointed lawyer, but because she has many cases and does not specialize in DUI law, you have little chance for an effective defense. Finally, you might hire the cheapest lawyer you can find – or the lawyer who promises maximum results only to add your case to dozens of others – when in fact many lawyers offer fair fees and actually spend time helping. If you look online and by state, you can find many experienced DUI lawyers, and many willing to look over your case for no extra fee.
Plead not guilty almost every time you get charged with a DUI. You might think because the breathalyzer failed you have no chance. That’s wrong. You do have a chance, even if you had been drinking. There is much more to a DUI charge than failing breath tests. You might challenge why the officer pulled you over in the first place, or how he or she failed to explain your rights, or even question the accuracy of any BAC (blood alcohol content) tests given to you.
Rarely will the prosecution offer a deal in a DUI case, but it does happen. However, you should make no deal without an experienced DUI lawyer to consult with. If you can prove some legal problems, such as validity of BAC tests, you have a much better chance of being offered a deal.