If you are arrested for a DUI or DWI, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be interested in fighting the case for a number of reasons. Maybe the breathalyzer was wrong, which does happen. Maybe you were not driving. Maybe you face jail time. Or maybe you believe the officer did not do the arrest properly, such as not giving you a Miranda.
This guide gives key tips on how to fight a DUI charge. First, let’s talk about how the court hearing will work, where you plead your case in front of a judge.
The Arraignment for a DUI
This is where you will be entering your plea of not guilty or guilty. It’s smart to have an attorney from the very beginning. You will be set on bail and in most cases for your first offenses you’ll be released after the arraignment.
Since you are asked to enter a plea, you may be worried if you want to change your mind. Say for example you enter a plea of not guilty, and you want to fight the charge. After discussing it with your DUI lawyer, you see problems in your story and maybe you were in the wrong. In any case, you can change your plea differently later.
One other important note is that, during this arraignment, if you’re being charged with prior DUIs, you should deny these. Why? If you challenge them, your attorney can fight them later and likely help your case if charges are made.
Options After the Arraignment
You can plead guilty as charged, plea bargain for a reduced charge, and also choose between asking for a trial by a judge or having a jury.
Fighting The DUI Charges
If you plead not guilty to DUI charges, what are your chances? It depends on the situation. You simply must have a DUI lawyer if you intend to fight the charges. Why? A specialist in DUI law can save you from making big mistakes and losing the case.
If you fight the charge of your DUI, saying perhaps you had drank some but weren’t over the limit, you must offer the judge or jury proof of this in some way; this can be an incorrect breathalyzer test. It depends on how you were tested for BAC, blood alcohol level. The legal limit in all 50 states is 0.08% and above. If you are very close to that, if the officer tested you at 0.085 for example, or 0.09, you have a good chance of questioning the validity of the charges. If on the other hand you tested very highly, most judges and juries will question your honesty in fighting the charges. This means if you get a 0.012 or higher, you’ll have a tough time convincing anyone your innocent.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
Before you do any plea bargaining or fighting, make sure you hire a lawyer who specializes in DUI law. He or she can tell you more about your exact chances. It’s simply a must if you intend to fight DUI charges. Since not all tests are always accurate, especially in terms of testing blood alcohol levels, and since some officers do not follow protocol completely, a lawyer might be able to force the prosecution to make a deal or even drop the case against you.