Driving Under the Influence, also known as DUI seems to be one of those charges that many people believe can’t or won’t happen to them. The reality of the situation is if you have a vehicle and enjoy an occasional drink or two, you are open to the possibility of being pulled over and getting a DUI charge at some point in your lifetime. I am aware that ALL of my readers are smart, intelligent individuals and know how to avoid these unfortunate situations. But sometimes we get caught slipping and may not always be on our P’s and Q’s. Listed below are 5 common mistakes dealing with DUI’s that can be avoided now that you know better.
Mistake #1: Admitting to Drinking
The first thing a police officer will ask when you are stopped for suspicion of drunk driving is if you had any alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. Never under any circumstance admit to having a drink before driving. I am not advocating lying to the police. I am however advocating that you assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. What normally happens is the second you admit to drinking before driving you will be pulled from the vehicle and the DUI investigation will begin. It is best to answer the question by simply stating “I do not want to answer that” or “no comment.” It is also a good idea at this time to request to speak with an attorney.
Mistake #2: Agreeing to the Breathalyzer and Field Sobriety Test
If you know you have had a couple of drinks and are asked to take a Breathalyzer, you should without a doubt decline. Although in most states denying the test will result in an automatic license suspension, there are ways to keep at least some of your driving privileges. On the other hand, If you have not been drinking and know beyond a doubt that you can pass the test, then by all means, accept.
You are also allowed to deny the field sobriety tests with no automatic license suspension. Field Sobriety Tests are slightly subjective and almost always work against you. The problem with field sobriety tests is that they are stupid physical exercises of dexterity and concentration offered under super tense circumstances. Most drivers could not properly perform the tests under ideal circumstances, much less on the side of a busy road in the early morning hours. It is almost impossible to perform these tests correctly on the side of the road at night when you are probably already nervous and anxious. Considering when you do something correct, it never appears anywhere in the officer’s report, it is always better to politely decline and not assist the officer in building a case against you.
Mistake #3: Not Requesting a Timely MVA Hearing
After your arrest you receive a temporary license which tells you the time requirements for filing a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Administration. If you fail to make this request in a timely manner you will lose your privileges to drive. if you don’t request a hearing and then drive while your license is suspended this will be considered yet another serious traffic offense that could result in jail time as well. There are several defenses that can be presented to the MVA that can save you from losing your privileges. Keep in mind that these defenses can only be raised after a hearing is properly requested.
Mistake #4: Retaining the Cheapest Attorney You Can Find
Being a consumer myself, I understand the importance of having options and holding on to your hard earned money to buy things that are more important to you…. like……I don’t know, more drinks……but never base your decision to hire an attorney on price alone. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If an attorney is taking your case for a fee that is way below the market, it is likely that he or she can’t put the time necessary to raise all of the defenses, evaluate all the issues and give you a proper defense. Don’t hesitate to ask the attorney why his fee is set at a certain amount. A good and confident DUI attorney will tell you exactly why you are being charged at a certain fee.
Mistake #5: Taking the State’s Attorney’s First Offer
It is common practice for the Assistant State’s Attorney to try and get you to plead guilty. The State’s Attorney’s first offer is often an unrealistic offer when compared to the facts of your case. It’s usually never a good deal. It’s just a way to get rid of your case with the least amount of work. Not many cases are dismissed or reduced at this stage. By accepting the first offer, you waive your rights to a judge or jury trial, to raise potential constitutional violations and to fight the charges with a good attorney by your side.
About Me: Prince Williams, Esq., is an Avid attorney with The Law Offices of Prince Williams, Esq. the premiere accident, DUI and criminal defense firm in Maryland. Call today, 978-633-9711. Let us know how we can help you.