If you find yourself with a DUI that could possibly lead to fines and imprisonment, it’s important to know your options and your rights especially since it’s one of the few crimes committed in America where an individual can be arrested based on the subjective perception of the police officer. Whether you’re guilty of operating a vehicle impaired while under the influence of alcohol or your BAC level was found to be over the .08 limit, it’s highly advisable to seek the counsel of a DUI defense attorney.
It’s important to know what to expect from law enforcement if ever you’re stopped and under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Whether you’re intoxicated or not, the police officer can ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests to either confirm or refute his suspicions of a DUI. But in many cases, if you’re asked to step outside of your vehicle then know that suspicions are high.
There are many legal procedures that a police officer has to follow in order to properly observe you and administer the tests. They are the following:
- A twenty minute observation period before a breath test
- Sobriety exercises including the one-leg stand, walk and turn, finger to nose, etc.
- Breath test to determine alcohol content
- Eye test, also known as the HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- Blood test which is done by a trained medical professional
- Urine test usually taken if breath and blood tests are unavailable or drug influence is suspected
- Reading of Implied Consent Warnings which should be given before administering any breath, blood, or urine test
- Reading of Miranda warnings when an officer intends to question you
In order for law enforcement to use any of the results of the tests against you at your hearing, they have to strictly adhere to regulations when performing them. Errors on their part can result in the evidence gathered from the sobriety tests inadmissible in court.
The Importance of a Good DUI Defense
DUI laws are getting stricter and the punishments for being found guilty of a DUI can be very damaging to your reputation and record. This is why it’s important to hire an efficient and highly experienced defense attorney who will do everything they can to have your charges dismissed or at the very least, work to reduce them.
Too many people make the mistake of going to their DUI hearing unrepresented. They are often overwhelmed with the process, come unprepared and easily intimidated by the prosecutors; this often results in them settling with whatever sentence they were given however over the top or unjust it may seem. Also, trying to appeal excessive fines or jail time can be challenging without a DUI defense attorney.
A defense attorney is properly equipped with the knowledge on how to deal with DUI charges and fully understands the court system. In addition to defending your rights an attorney also has the ability to:
- Request suppression of evidence which was obtained illegally or violated
your constitutional rights in any way
- Question, challenge and omit sobriety tests that were not administered properly
- Review recordings and devices used during the sobriety tests
- Appeal for alternative or reduced sentencing if found guilty
- Retrieve revoked or suspended licenses quicker
DUIs should not be taken lightly and is considered a criminal offense with very serious repercussions that can have a lasting effect on your life. So find a lawyer who can defend you against any charges and resolve your DUI case.