If you’ve been charged with a DUI recently, this is no lightweight charge that you can simply dismiss out of hand. DUIs are most often given for alcohol-related intoxication, but any consciousness-altering substance that can render one incapable of driving, including prescription medications, is considered fair game. DUI charges were once considered relatively minor offenses, but this has changed in recent decades. Today, a DUI charge warrants the assistance of a criminal lawyer in every case – even if this is your first offense.
When you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI: Cooperate, but exercise your right to remain silent. If you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI, the police in the United States will usually give you a series of field sobriety tests (reciting the alphabet, walking heel to toe for several steps) that will help to “prove” or “disprove” your current state of intoxication/impairment. Here in Canada, you will usually be asked to take a Breathalyzer test if you’re suspected of driving drunk.
These tests are not foolproof, however, and Breathalyzer tests are also not wholly accurate; they can give false positives.
What should you do to help ensure your rights as an innocent person are protected when you’re pulled over?
Cooperate with the police and follow their instructions, but *immediately* exercise your right to remain silent if you are placed under arrest and read your Miranda rights. Don’t say anything further to anyone and retain a criminal lawyer versed in DUI. He or she will advise you on the best course of action at that point.
You need an experienced criminal lawyer on your side, from the very beginning of your case!
It’s imperative that you retain an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as you are charged with a DUI; you need this expertise to help you fight these charges most effectively. An experienced criminal lawyer will:
- Protect your innocence from being compromised
If you’re innocent of your DUI charges, you may think you don’t need a criminal lawyer. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It’s no mistake that when you are read your Miranda rights, you are told, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” That holds true if you’re innocent, as well. For example, you should *never* give police interviews unless your lawyer is present. He or she will protect you from making mistakes that could compromise your case and even lead to actual conviction despite your innocence.
- Lead you through the court process, protecting your rights and defending you at every step
In a court of law, it’s not so much about determining your innocence or guilt. Instead, it’s about which side presents the best and most compelling case. Will the prosecutor prove his or her case best and “win,” or will your criminal lawyer?
When you have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side in court, you have the best weapon possible to get your DUI charges dismissed. That is, your lawyer will present the facts of your case to the judge or jury compellingly, succinctly, and clearly. The prosecutor will also do his or her best job to try to prove your guilt, but in expert hands, the facts speak volumes. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you prove your innocence and put this behind you.
If you’re guilty and/or are a “repeat offender”
Finally, if you are guilty of your DUI charges and/or have previous DUI convictions, a criminal lawyer will see to it that you are represented properly during your trial and will work to reduce or dismiss any unfair charges, so that you are assured the best outcome possible.