Driving while under the influence (DUI) is the criminal charge someone that faces if police officers catch them driving while they allegedly have too much alcohol in their bloodstream. DUI arrests can occur after someone causes a crash or after a roadside traffic stop.
Given that there is usually a limited amount of evidence involved and less at risk than in cases involving violent offenses, some people facing a DUI will try to represent themselves in court. Going into a criminal trial without an attorney could be a major mistake. Attorneys who understand DUI cases can minimize the impact of the charge on your life.
- A lawyer helps you navigate your arrest and release from jail
Ideally, you will ask for an attorney as soon as you find out that the police intend to arrest you. That way, you have someone there protecting you from making mistakes that could hurt your chances of defending yourself.
Your lawyer can also help with posting bond or otherwise securing your release from state custody. The sooner you involve a defense attorney, the easier it will be for them to do their job of helping you protect yourself.
- An attorney knows how to review records about state evidence
Discovery is the right of a defendant to know about evidence the prosecution will use during a trial. An attorney with experience helping people defend themselves will be able to closely review the chain of custody for evidence that the state intends to use in your case. They may identify issues that could allow you to challenge the inclusion of certain evidence.
- Lawyers understand the limitations of DUI traffic stops
Too many people seem to think that breath tests are always reliable or that police officers can easily tell the difference between motor issues related to medical conditions and stumbling caused by intoxication. Whether you know that the breath test returned inaccurate results or you have an alternate explanation for certain behavior that the police view as evidence of impairment, an attorney can expand on those issues and turn them into a reasonable doubt.
- A lawyer can tell you about a violation of your rights
If you question the traffic stop itself or the behavior of law enforcement after your arrest, it’s possible that what occurred violated your rights. It can be hard to be objective when analyzing your own arrest. An attorney familiar with where the courts draw the line when it comes to police behavior can give you insight about whether what occurred constitutes a violation of your rights and what impact, if any, it might have on the outcome of your case.
Trying to handle a drunk driving offense on your own might lead to a conviction, a fine, the loss of your license and even incarceration. Working with a criminal defense attorney could improve your chances of avoiding a conviction.