Common DUI FAQ’s
I’ve been arrested for a DUI. Now what?
If you have been arrested for a DUI or a DWI, then you will need to appear before a judge for an arraignment, which is when the defendant appears in court in order to be formally charged with a crime, and then asked to respond to the charge by entering either a guilty or not guilty plea.
Prepare yourself for the legal actions that will need to be taken next by reading the following about what to expect at your arraignment, what options you have for dealing with the charge, and how exactly plea bargaining works.
What should I expect at my arraignment?
You will be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty to your DUI or DWI charge at your arraignment. The amount of your bail may also be set; most defendants who have not already posted bail are generally released at this point. You are able to insist on a just trial in most states. If this is the case, you do not have to explicitly ask for a jury trial, it is assumed that is what you want unless you clearly state otherwise. If your DUI attorney advises you to forgo a jury trial, you can always drop your request for a jury trial at a later date. On the chance that you are charged with prior DUI or DWI conviction, you should deny them so your DUI lawyer can challenge their grounds at a later point in your case.
What options do I have?
Once you are released from jail, you should evaluate your case with a DUI attorney. Some options you have include:
- Asking for a jury trial if it is available in your state.
- Pleading guilty to the DUI charges.
- Requesting a trial before a judge.
- Trying to plea bargain down to a lesser charge such as reckless driving.
Should I fight the DUI charge?
Usually when a jury is more likely to find you guilty of having a blood alcohol level of over 0.08%, driving while under the influence, or driving while intoxicated, the more you will want to consider having your DUI lawyer negotiate a settlement or plea bargain.
What your BAC was at the time of your DUI will have a huge affect on the outcome of your case. Consider the following:
- BAC higher than 0.12%: You will have a very hard time winning your DUI case at trial. In all states a BAC of 0.08% or higher is enough to convict someone of a DUI, regardless of how well they were driving at the time. In order to make positive headway with a BAC that is over 0.12%, your DUI attorney will have to shed doubt on the validity of the test results so either the jury does not believe the numbers, or the results are adjusted for any possible errors that are in your favor. Even then, you would need to hope your BAC would end up being less than 0.08%.
- BAC between 0.08% and 0.11%: If this is the case, then your chances of winning in a trial are slightly higher. While your DUI attorney still has to successfully convince the jury that the test results are not reliable enough to prove your BAC was actually between 0.08% and 0.11%, juries tend to believe the test results regardless. That being said, if you tested for having a BAC that was over 0.08%, you will need an experienced DUI lawyer who will be able to come up with a testimony from someone who was with you either before you were charged with a DUI, or at the time you were driving.
- BAC lower than 0.08%: This will give you the best possible chance out of all the scenarios to beat a DUI charge. For starters, you will not have to worry about facing a conviction of having a BAC of higher than 0.08%. The prosecutor will also have to establish that you were intoxicated that level. However, if your BAC was just under 0.08% an hour after you were driving, then the prosecutor could make the argument that it was higher when you were driving, and simply fell to a lower amount before the blood sample was taken.
How do you fight a DUI or DWI charge?
The legal consequences of being charged with a DUI or DWI are no joke. Considering the serious nature of the penalties you face, you should understand your options for fighting a DUI charge. Having a DUI attorney who puts their best defense strategy forward may prevent your license from being suspended, help convince the prosecution to reduce or even drop the charges, or perhaps even win you an acquittal after a trial has taken place.
For a DUI case, the prosecution must prove two very important things: that the defendant drove a vehicle and was simultaneously intoxicated while doing so. In order to prove one of those two things wrong, these are some common defenses used in DUI cases:
- Challenging the Officer’s Testimony: The arresting officer’s opinions on whether or not you were drunk are often an important part of the evidence that works against you in a DUI case. This commonly includes testimony about the way you were driving, such as whether or not you were weaving or driving at uneven speeds, how you performed field sobriety tests, and how you acted once your car was pulled over. If your DUI lawyer is able to successfully challenge the officer’s testimony, then you are likely to ruin a huge chunk of the prosecution’s case.
- No Miranda Warnings: The law states that if you were arrested, a police officer must then provide you with Miranda warnings. If they fail to do so, or even if they do not recite them correctly, then you may be able to prevent certain evidence from being admitted during trial.
- No Probable Cause to Arrest: One way to prevent evidence that was collected at the time of your arrest from being admitted to trial is to show that the officer did not have probable cause to stop your car, or to arrest you for drunk driving. This means that if you think you were stopped for reasons other than those related to a DUI, such as your ethnicity or race, you may very well be able to challenge your arrest altogether.
- Provide Valid Explanations: Challenge the officer’s testimony that you were intoxicated by providing valid reasons for your behavior, such as:
- Lack of sleep, wearing contacts, or your allergies caused your eyes to be bloodshot.
- Medications you have to take or lack of sleep is the reason why your speech was slurred.
- Physical impairments caused you to not perform well on field sobriety tests.
- You failed the field sobriety test because you did not clearly understand the instructions given.
Do I need a DUI attorney?
It can be difficult when trying to decide whether or not to hire a DUI lawyer after being charged for drinking and driving. However, you may find yourself in the situation of needing to defend yourself against charges that are too high, or when the consequences leave you with a lot to lose.
USAttorneys.com have only the most experienced DUI law firms who will fight for you in the courtroom, and who will make sure your case results are in your favor. To learn more information, contact our DUI lawyers today.