Common DUI Arrest Mistakes People Make
After getting pulled over, a driver is arrested and charged with driving under the influence. This is a common occurrence, despite the dangers of driving while intoxicated, yet many people aren’t sure what to do if they’re pulled over, arrested, and charged with a DUI. It’s far too easy for people who are pulled over or arrested to make mistakes, some of which can have a huge impact on their case. If you’re ever pulled over or arrested and charged with a DUI, avoid making the following mistakes and speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to start getting help.
Trying to Talk Their Way Out of an Arrest
Many people end up talking too much after they’re arrested. They might attempt to talk their way out of the charges, only to find out they end up in more trouble by admitting to something that the police officers weren’t already aware of or they end up admitting to driving under the influence, making it far more difficult to avoid a conviction in the long run. While it may seem like a good idea to try to be friendly and nice to the officers, they are there to do a job. It’s not a good idea to talk to them and attempt to talk them out of an arrest, as this is not very likely to occur. Instead, they’re just going to get more evidence to put in the report.
Instead, provide identifying information as needed to the officers and decline to speak further. Politely decline to answer any questions when pulled over or after the arrest to avoid saying anything incriminating. Request to speak with a lawyer before any questioning. A lawyer knows what to say and what to avoid saying to prevent talking about something that could be incriminating or make it more difficult to defend against the charges.
Trying to Run From an Arrest
Running from the police is never a good idea. Yet, people will attempt to continue driving and not pull over, expecting to get away from the officers. All this does is lead to a car chase, which is added charges and has the potential to become a far more dangerous situation. It’s possible to be in an accident or be injured during the arrest, as the officers now need to have concern for their safety when the vehicle is stopped. Others will attempt to run from the scene, expecting to get away from the officers. This can end the same way – with extra charges to defend against as well as the potential for injuries.
Instead, use the turn signal and pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so. It is okay to drive a few feet and pull into a parking lot for everyone’s safety, but don’t continue driving more than that and use the turn signal to show the officers the vehicle is being pulled over to a safe location. Keep your hands where the officer can see them, be calm and polite to the officers, and provide requested identifying information.
Admitting to Drinking Before Driving
While answering the officer’s questions, many people will admit to having a drink or two before getting in the vehicle and driving. Do not do this. Officers hear this every time people are pulled over for a DUI, no matter how obvious it is that the person has been drinking. There’s no need to admit to having any alcohol and all this will do is hurt the case, as there is now an admission that the driver had been drinking before getting behind the wheel. Likewise, don’t admit to taking any medication, legal or otherwise, before getting behind the wheel.
Politely decline to answer any questions from the officers. If they are going to arrest you for a DUI, it’s more crucial to avoid talking and to request a lawyer. Always be polite but firm, no questions will be answered without legal representation.
Ignoring the Charges and Not Taking Them Seriously
Another common mistake is ignoring the charges and failing to take them seriously. Many people will assume they have a way to get out of a conviction and that if they just speak with the judge at trial, the charges will be dismissed. This doesn’t happen. Instead, what will happen is the person will not be prepared for trial, will not have any defense against the charges, and will end up convicted. They will also likely end up with the maximum sentence. Once there has been a conviction, the case cannot be appealed simply because the person failed to take it seriously, failed to hire a lawyer, and failed to defend against the charges.
DUI cases are incredibly serious and can have a huge impact on someone’s future. It’s always better to take the charges seriously from the start, to look for a lawyer to work on the case and to start determining the right defense to use as quickly as possible. By starting quickly and getting the right help, the person does have a better chance of minimizing the impact this case will have on their future.
Driving After License is Suspended
The driver’s driving license will be automatically suspended pending an outcome in the case. If the person is found not guilty, they can apply to have their license reinstated. If they are found guilty, the license will be suspended or revoked for a period of time, after which they can have it reinstated. If the driver is pulled over while driving on a suspended license, they face further criminal charges, penalties and fines, as well as the license being suspended for a longer period of time.
Avoid driving while the license is suspended. If possible, talk to a lawyer about getting a hardship license. This allows the driver to drive to work and back, to get groceries and pay bills, and to other limited locations during limited times. These are possible to obtain to help prevent someone from losing their job because they can’t drive. However, make sure to obtain this before attempting to drive to avoid added charges.
Failing to Appear in Court
Scared of the potential outcome, many people will end up missing their court hearings. This leads to a bench warrant for their arrest, the possibility of further charges, and the possibility for the potential sentencing to become more severe. While emergencies do happen, it’s never advised to miss a court hearing. The judge hears excuses all of the time and isn’t interested in finding out why the person didn’t show up as expected.
This is where having a lawyer is a necessity. Along with helping defend against the charges, if a court date does have to be missed, the lawyer can be there to represent their client. They may be able to be there in lieu of the client or explain to the judge what happened and request an extension to be sure the client can attend the hearing. By having legal representation, it’s possible to avoid further charges or any issues with the case.
Trying to Represent Themselves
It is extremely rare for someone to represent themselves in court and end up avoiding a conviction. It’s far more likely they will not know what to do or say, will not be prepared to defend against the charges properly, and will end up with a conviction and the maximum penalties under sentencing guidelines. The legal system is complex and even when something seems obvious, there are a lot of tiny details that can make a huge difference in whether or not a defense will be successful. Someone with no legal experience or training is going to have a very difficult time in court.
Hiring a lawyer is a must for DUI cases. They are already familiar with all of the possible defenses, can review the case carefully to see what can be done, and will do as much as possible to help their client get a better outcome for the case. Plus, they won’t make any mistakes with how things are handled in court that could hurt the case.
Assuming There’s No Defense to Charges
Drivers often feel discouraged after an arrest and may wonder if there is any way to defend against the charges. Whether or not the person had any drinks before driving, they may worry that the case against them will be successful and that they’ll end up in jail. Often, this leads drivers to plead guilty, hoping to get a reduced sentence for doing so. This is not likely to happen and, instead, the driver faces the full penalties for the specific charges they’re facing.
There are defenses to DUI cases, even if the person did have a drink or two before driving. It’s possible that the stop by the police was not legal, in which case, it may be possible to suppress all evidence after the stop. It’s also possible that the blood alcohol content (BAC) tests were done incorrectly, so there is no way to show the driver was over the legal limit while they were driving. Hire a lawyer and let them look into potential defenses, as there may be defenses you were unaware of after the arrest.
Believing the Officers Followed the Law
Law enforcement officers are just like everyone else. They do not know everything about the law and they can make mistakes. Yet, many drivers will simply assume that the officers followed the law when stopping them, doing any field tests, and arresting them. This might not be the case and it may be possible to have the charges dismissed due to mistakes made by the officers.
A lawyer can review the case to determine if the officers followed the law at all times. If not, they can determine if this is a valid defense that can be used to avoid the charges. Depending on the laws broken or mistakes made, it could be possible to have some or all evidence against the driver suppressed so it can be used in court. From there, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Considering Only the Cost for Hiring a Lawyer
It’s never a good idea to just look at the total cost for hiring a lawyer without checking into any other details. Though defending against DUI charges can be expensive, the overall outcome is far better with a good attorney versus with a cheap one. The clap attorney may not be as experienced or knowledgeable about DUI charges, so they may not get as good of an outcome as a more experienced lawyer. This could be the difference between a conviction and dismissed charges. If the driver is convicted because they opted for the cheapest lawyer, it is likely they will lose far more money in the long run as they may have trouble getting or keeping a job due to a criminal record.
Ignoring Advice From the Lawyer
Lawyers have experience, know what will happen in court, and know what the likely outcome will be in different scenarios. They have been there and done that. Yet, clients will ignore advice from their lawyer all the time, which can end up with them in more trouble. As an example, lawyers will advise clients to avoid discussing the case on social media. Yet, clients may go on social media to rant about the situation and end up saying something incriminating. If their profile is public, the prosecution can see that and use it as evidence in the case.
Listen to advice from the lawyer. If something doesn’t make sense, instead of ignoring it, speak with the lawyer and ask questions. More often than not, they’ll be happy to explain why they’re providing advice and what could happen if the advice isn’t followed. They provide the advice to help their client, so it’s always better to listen to the advice instead of risking making the situation far worse.
Not Being Honest With the Lawyer
Surprises in court will lead to a conviction most of the time. When a driver is arrested and charged with a DUI, they must be completely honest with their lawyer. Everything they say to the lawyer is confidential, so there is no worry about saying the wrong thing. If the driver isn’t completely honest, however, the lawyer may find out in court when something happens and evidence is released. If this happens, the lawyer is not prepared to defend against the new information and may not be able to help their client avoid the repercussions.
Always be completely honest with the lawyer. Always let them know the complete story about what happened, including details that may not seem important at the time. It is better to say too much to the lawyer than to end up with surprises in court that can make a huge difference in the outcome of the case. The lawyer is there to help, and if they don’t know the whole story, they cannot provide the right help for their client to reduce the potential of a conviction.
Not Accepting Drug or Alcohol Treatment
It’s far too common for people to say they don’t have a problem with drugs or alcohol and to refuse any treatment. This can be a huge mistake. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to avoid a DUI conviction by taking the right steps to get treatment and avoid being arrested for the same charges in the future. Many judges will offer a deal to clients who do go through a treatment plan, as it is less likely the judge will see them back in court for a DUI.
Even those who are sure they are not addicted to drugs or alcohol can benefit from treatment, if only to reduce the potential for a conviction that will be on their criminal record and impact the rest of their life. If drug or alcohol treatment is offered, always take it, as this will help you look better in front of the judge and can be a way to avoid a conviction where one would otherwise be guaranteed.
Mistakes happen. When someone is pulled over and arrested for a DUI, however, mistakes should be avoided. Judges aren’t going to care if the arrested person says they didn’t know about something or that they weren’t sure what to do. Instead, by using the information here, drivers can reduce their chance of making a mistake that will make the entire situation worse for them.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, hiring a lawyer for help should be the first thing you do. They’ll provide you with the help and advice needed to get a better outcome for the situation and may be able to help you avoid a DUI conviction on your record. Contact a lawyer now to learn more about the options available for your specific situation and to make sure you have the help needed to avoid the mistakes listed here.