10 Mistakes Made by DUI Defendants – Guest Post

DUI Defendants

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense, but that doesn’t stop more than one million people annually from getting arrested for doing it. In fact, driving under the influence is the second-most common factor for drivers involved in fatal crashes, according to 2019 data, with an estimated one out of every 121 licensed drivers being arrested for drunk driving.

If you’ve been arrested and charged for a driving under the influence offense, you may think you’ll automatically be found guilty. However, that’s not always the case, especially because there are ways people can get railroaded into a DUI conviction.

There are also ways to fight DUI charges, regardless of whether you were legally impaired or not, depending on your circumstances. Here are the top 10 mistakes DUI defendants make and how to avoid them.

Talking Too Much

When you’re pulled over, completing field sobriety tests, or otherwise talking to the police, it’s important to exercise your Miranda rights and your right to remain silent. Panicking and trying to talk your way out of an arrest can make things worse, and you may accidentally slip up and say something that can prove your guilt later on.

Don’t try to explain the situation, justify your decisions, or talk your way out of the arrest. Definitely avoid joking with officers or having a bad attitude, and absolutely do not tell the officer you’ve been drinking or are drunk.

You should also immediately consult a DUI attorney before speaking with anyone or making any decisions.

Not Taking the Charge Seriously

A DUI is a serious charge that will stay on your record for many years, so it’s critical to take the arrest and/or charge seriously. Follow all directions from the court, including driving or not driving when you are or aren’t supposed to, showing up to all scheduled court dates, etc. Treat the officers and court with respect, and your words and actions should speak to your understanding of the seriousness of the situation.

Waiting Too Long After Your Arrest to Act

Being arrested and charged with a DUI can be an intense situation, especially if you had to spend time in jail. However, you can’t simply ignore the fact that it happened, and you must act immediately. Waiting too long to contact an attorney or understand what’s going on and what you should do next may mean you miss out on certain protections, procedures, or even court dates, which can impact your case.

Not Hiring a Lawyer Immediately

One of the first things you should do is hire a DUI attorney. They can help you understand your charges, advise you as to the penalties you could be facing, and how to plead. They will also have access to information, arguments, experts, and materials that are important to helping your case.

DUI attorneys can ensure you receive a fair trial and can help point out or call out any mistakes made by the arresting officers. It’s important to be honest with your lawyer and follow all their advice to ensure you don’t interfere with the outcome of your case.

Speaking Without Your Lawyer Present

Once you’ve hired a DUI attorney, use them. As per your Miranda rights, anything you say or do can be used against you. The first thing you should do after your arrest is ask to speak to your lawyer and refuse to speak without one present at any other time. This can help ensure your rights are protected and you don’t say or do anything that can hurt your chances of getting out of a conviction.

Assuming Guilt

Just because you were arrested doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty. Even if you have a BAC over 0.08, there are other factors to consider. It’s important to hire an attorney, follow instructions carefully, and avoid making additional mistakes that can be used against you because a good DUI attorney may be able to lower your charges or even get you off.

Driving With a Suspended License

Typically, when you’re arrested and charged with a DUI, you’ll have your license suspended for a period of time. While you may get some driving privileges back, you may need to carry paperwork with you or only drive during certain hours or to and from designated places (like work). Driving while your license is suspended, or outside of allotted time, can significantly hurt your chances of lower charges and can get you in even more trouble down the road.

Missing or Being Late to Court

Attending every court date and showing up on time is an important part of your defense. Missing court dates, showing up late, or otherwise impeding the process will not go over well with a judge. You could even be jailed or fined before your trial, or a warrant could be issued for your arrest.

Accepting Breathalyzer Results

Breathalyzer results are not always 100% accurate. These machines can mess up, or not be run properly, such as incorrect calibration, poor maintenance, or improper administration. Medical conditions and medications can also affect test results.

Working with a DUI attorney can give you the power to challenge or question these results, sometimes lowering or even dismissing your charges.

Feeling Hopeless

Being charged with a DUI is serious, but especially if it’s your first offense, it will not affect you forever. It can be very emotional or overwhelming to be arrested and have to go through the DUI court proceedings, and it may feel like too much. However, hiring a great DUI attorney, following the correct steps and instructions, and avoiding driving under the influence in the future, can help ensure this was a one-time mistake that you’ll recover from.

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