Defending DUI charges is rarely easy, but more than possible. You may think it’s over once you drink and mix it with some driving. That is simply not the case. Drinking at any amount may lead the arresting officer to think you are over the limit, especially at night and if you are acting suspect. There are ways to defend a drinking and driving properly.
You first want to protect yourself. You should say nothing which will incriminate you in a court of law. All too often defendants say the amount they drank, what they drank, etc, and then try to defend it. You have need not incriminate yourself.
On the other hand, you might know if you’re over the limit. That can affect your defense strategy.
Hire the Right DUI Lawyer
Make no decisions until you hire the right DUI lawyer. Go with a local lawyer with the time and experience to help. Then be as honest as you can with them. Again, simply drinking and then driving does not mean you plead guilty. You quite often have a strong defense.
Most DUI cases are plead not guilty, but some forgo the entire process and plead guilty, expecting to save time and money by hiring no lawyer and accepting the charges. This is a big mistake. Just as you would not make a class action lawsuit against a company without proper legal experts, the same is the case with your DUI plea. You may have a defense, even if you were over the limit. There are just too many intangible to forgo a lawyer and plead guilty.
Judge or Jury?
You sometimes have an option between a judge or jury trial. Your lawyer may have a personal preference. Usually, you face a judge, a judge who may have seen hundreds of people like you defend DUI charges. On the other side, a jury may be more open to hearing your statements and defense. However, most state laws do not allow for a jury trial in DUI cases.
Understanding the Laws
You have to understand what you were charged with and why in order to prepare a proper defense. Your lawyer will be creating the defense, but you want to know as much as possible. The officer testimony, the BAC breath test and further blood tests, witnesses, expert witnesses – these all have a place in DUI court. For example, sometimes breath tests are inaccurate; blood tests are the most effective. Therefore, a breathalyzer reading can be called into question.
Going with the Expert
Stick with your lawyer and you can at least come out of this with some minor charges. If you hire the right lawyer, someone experienced in defending DUI cases, he or she may find big holes in the prosecution’s case. What usually happens is not a plea bargain, though, as plea bargains are rare in DUI cases. You may be found innocent, or at least have only minor penalties. If you try to go alone or plead guilty, you are often facing the maximum charges.