Staying positive after a DUI charge may seem to be impossible, but it’s important to keep moving forward. You hire a lawyer. You prepare a defense. You question what happened. That’s a start, but let’s go further.
The Questioning Officer
Many DUI lawyers hear this story. Remember the good cop/bad cop routine on TV? Well, it occurs sometimes with just one officer. He or she is all by the books when testing your for alcohol with a breathalyzer, perhaps asking you to do some field sobriety tests, and explaining your rights. Now, when he or she explains your rights, listen to them carefully (or recall how it goes). “You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” These words are more important when the officer starts being friendly and asking you questions. He or she might pretend friendliness in order to get more information – in other words, getting you to incriminate yourself. Don’t; you should avoid saying anything else. All you need do is give you information, take the breath test, and accept any charges. Ignore the rest.
Remember What’s Said?
Write down any details you possibly can. Even if you did not answer questions, write down what the arresting officer said. Write down, in other words, every detail you can think of.
When in jail, say nothing, do nothing, make no mistakes. This can be quite difficult, especially if you are angry and worried. However, the more you say to police officers when you are put in jail, the more words you sling at them, and the more you say to other inmates only hurts your case. If you are mean to officers, it only works against you. Make this like a bad meeting with a boss in a job you have to keep; the less you question and take personal the better.
Your Testimony Verses Arresting Officer Testimony
Often what happens in a DUI case is the arresting officer’s testimony against yours. While it may seem unfair that one person can provide proof to punish you, that’s the way it works. Most judges will look at an arresting officer as more trustworthy than someone charged with a DUI. You have to understand many judges see DUI cases on a daily basis, making your story quite common. However, if you write down what exactly happened, if you feel wronged, and if you make contact with an experienced attorney, you still have a great chance of beating some charges or lessening penalties.
How can you question officer testimony? You can by collecting witnesses. That means anyone you meet while in jail, including any guards or others in jail, who are credible witnesses on how you seem can be used. Why? Because if the arresting officer says you were clearly intoxicated, but you have credible witnesses saying otherwise, you can discredit the testimony.
Tell Your DUI Attorney Everything
You should not lie to any officer or judge, but the one you trust with everything is your DUI attorney. If you have collected some witnesses, he or she should be the first one you provide the information. If you had in fact been drinking, explain the events. If the officer acted oddly or treated you wrong, your lawyer can take advantage of it.
Sometimes preparing an effective defense is more about what you do when arrested than what happens after. However, remember that how you act from the officer’s vehicle, to jail, to your home, and to court all can be used for you or against you.