What To Do After A DUI Arrest
Arrested For a DUI?
When a police officer arrests you for driving under the influence (DUI), it is natural to feel nervous about what may happen to you next. We understand that people never anticipate getting placed into this situation. For many people, a DUI charge is the first time they have ever been through the court system. Putting together a smart action-plan can help make your case go smoothly. This article will help to explain how to put your best foot forward following a DUI arrest.
In most DUI arrests, the officer will take you to the police station and request that you submit to a breath test. During this procedure, police officers must comply with strict obligations to protect your rights. My clients often tell me they were not aware of their rights during this procedure. You have the right to speak with an attorney for advice before deciding whether to submit to this test. In fact, an officer must explain this right to you. An officer must also explain to you that refusing this test will result in the Department of Licensing (DOL) suspending your license.
The breath testing process is a double-edged sword because if you blow above a .08 BAC, the DOL will suspend your license for a minimum of 90 days. On the other hand, if you refuse to blow, the DOL will suspend your license for at least one year. Additionally, your “refusal” can be used against you at trial as evidence of guilt. In general, DUI Refusals are easier to defend at trial, because the jury is left to speculate what your BAC could have been. But if convicted of a DUI refusal, the penalties are harsher than if you had taken the test. It is important to understand that no two cases are alike. A knowledgeable DUI attorney can offer you practical guidance which route – submit or refuse – to take.
Prepare For A DOL Hearing
If you blow above a .08 or if you are alleged to have refused the breath test, you have the right to dispute the administrative DOL license suspension. However, you must request a hearing within 7 days of your arrest. You can read more about DOL Hearings here. If your license does get suspended, you may be able to side-step that suspension. Learn more here.
If you need to contact the DOL to request a hearing, click here.
Hire An Experienced Attorney
DUI’s are complex. Their fingers reach into many aspects of your life – your license, your job, and your home life. It pays to hire an experienced DUI attorney. Do not settle for a general practitioner. While all attorneys have passed the bar and are generally familiar with most areas of law, only a DUI attorney has the expertise to assist you with the complex issues involved in a DUI. A good DUI lawyer can assist you in making sure you can still drive, represent you in front of the judge, expose the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, and fight to protect your rights.
A strong DUI lawyer has the expertise to examine:
- The legality of the stop
- Field Sobriety Tests – Were they administered improperly? Coerced?
- Miranda Rights – Did the officer violate your rights?
- Confessions – Were those illegally taken?
- Breath testing – Did the officer made any mistakes in this process?
- Blood testing – Are blood results completely accurate?
A professional DUI lawyer knows which videos and records to subpoena, how to investigate the police officer, and how to expose the prosecution’s weaknesses.
Attend Your Court Hearings
We understand that you have a life outside of your case and outside of the courts. However, it is important that you attend your court hearings. If you have been arrested for a DUI, failure to attend court may result in the judge issuing a warrant for your arrest. The good news is that in some situations, your lawyer may be able to waive your presence so that you do not have to take off time from work.
Communicate With Your Lawyer
I like to think of the attorney-client relationship as a team. Both sides will have to take care of some action-items throughout the case. Having an open line of communication will ensure that all of your questions are fully answered, and your concerns are fully addressed. I want to make sure that you are fully apprised of every step of your case, so that you can make an informed and intelligent decision which direction to take your case. I am available day or night to assist you.
If you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge, hire an experienced attorney. We offer a free case review. (360) 726-3571.