When you face any DUI lawyer you will receive information about driving under the influence, the penalties and what they will do for you.
What the DUI attorney may not tell you however are some extremely important things that require you to think about carefully. These are the seven, top tips for anyone charged with a DUI offence.
1. Depending upon the jurisdiction, you do not necessarily lose your licence if you refuse a blood test or a breath test. For instance, in Georgia you can forward a fee to the Department of Driver Services within 10 business days from your arrest and a license hearing will be held, which is the earliest time when your license can be suspended.
2. A blood or breath test in a DUI can be beaten. Now, truth be, many dui attorneys will tell you that anyway, but many will tend to charge a fee and tell you they will simply do their best, knowing that most will accept a suspension of license or worse. There are a range of defences available to beat out a breath or blood test result, ranging from the legality of original stop to questions as to probable cause arguements. Frequently the police have not provided a proper reading of rights, for instance because DUI testing rights are not provided, or there are no implied consent rights given.
3. The testing regime is illegal. Often there will be a challenge to the actual blood or breath test machine or records that indicate th ey are not properly working or the record trail is not kept properly. This is a technical area and a good DUI attorney who has experience in knowing about the technical aspects of breath and blood testing will know what to look for and how to question the police in court.
4. Winning before a jury is often a highly probable way to achieve success – but not all lawyers want to do it. A jury can quite easily be convinced that breath testing problems are such that a doubt as to the veracity of their readings can be cast – result? After all, a good DUI lawyer who has jury experience can check and ask a jury about the sobriety of the defendant on a video and ask how drunk they appear compared to the breath test gear. The result can quite easily – and often – be: Not guilty.
5. Challenging the field sobriety tests requires some expertise. A good DUI attorney will know how to properly question police about the field sobriety tests that are often used, such as the step, walk and turn test or the 30 second one-legged stand test. Police will often relate the outcome of such tests to “impairment” etc, but a good DUI lawyer can readily question that. Remember, such tests were established 50 years ago under tightly controlled circumstances. Remember too that failing such field tests can be due to a bunch of other reasons, including vertigo, ear infections and other medical disorders. A good DWI or DUI attorney will know that.
6. Alcohol affects people different and the tests that will be provided by the police will often be applied unevenly, wrongly or illegally. A good DUI lawyer will be able to determine how and why the tests should be applied and what the issues might be. For instance, the legal limit for BAC varies and field tests can be undertaken successfully without drivers slurring speech or stumbling. If you have refused a breath test you can still win a case because the State or other jurisdiction still has to prove that you are drunk or less safe, which can be very hard to do.
7. Don’t be fulled by cheap lawyers who appear to offer everything at no cost. In fact a cheap lawyer can wind up being very expensive because they are absolutely in it for the money and want your business. You are better going for a DUI attorney who has good credentials, good reputation and good experience. This is a technical area of law and it also requires someone who has good advocacy skills, not something always known to the cheap, storefront lawyer.
DOn’t fall for people like bail bondsmen or police or EMT etc who are paid to give a lawyer’s card to you because apart from often violating bar codes, you are frequently getting a cheap lawyer in every respect. At the end of the day a good lawyer will take the time to ensure your case is properly prepared and handled to ensure the best, possible result. You may be charged a flat fee or not, but you should carefully check their credentials. A good dui lawyer will be working from referrals or word-of-mouth, or based on non-verbal marketing evidencing their abilities.