FAQ Criminal Law – DUI

Posted on July 25, 2011 in Criminal Defense, Personal Representation

Even good people and their children sometimes find themselves having difficult discussions with the police, or worse under arrest. So what to do? Let’s look at some of the more common situations that occur with DUI.

What should I do when I see the flashing lights on the car behind me?

Carefully pull over and be polite in your interactions with the officer.If you have been drinking or high, things will only get worse if you act like a jerk.Judges always ask the officers how the person acted. It is much better when the officer says the person was polite and cooperative.That is also a critical factor when I am trying to get the best deal possible with the prosecutor. He or she always speaks to the police officer before committing to any plea agreement.

On a preventive note, if you are going to be out drinking after 11:30 p.m., have a designated driver.The designated driver should have nothing at all to drink.I have had too many clients who said they didn’t have that much to drink because they were the designated driver yet blew a .11 on the breath test. He or she thought being the designated driver would earn a break.Granted, the client was less impaired than the friends being driven, but he or she was still impaired.There are no points for good intentions if you are driving impaired.

The police look for any reason to pull you from 11:30 p.m. to daybreak.They know at that time of night there is an 80% chance the driver is impaired.That is why they will look for expired tag and inspection stickers, or burned-out lights.They simply want probable cause for a stop.Once an officer has stopped you and smells alcohol or pot in the car, he or she can begin the field sobriety test and other things needed to gather the evidence for an arrest.

Another urban myth is that you can beat the charge if you refuse to take the blood or breathe test, but these are not required for a conviction.If you fail the field sobriety test, you will be convicted.If you refuse to take the test, you will be charged, and the charge carries penalties of up to 6 months in jail, a large fine, and a suspended operator’s license.

Should I agree to a search of my car?

There is no good answer that question.If you are asking the question, you are already screwed because you are holding or have something in the car you are not supposed to.If you refuse, the police will either impound the car if they arrest you and get a search warrant or simply search to do an inventory of the vehicle’s contents because they are responsible for a vehicle’s contents when it is impounded.If they can’t arrest you at the scene but think you have some form of contraband in the car, they can detain you until they can get a search warrant.So either way they find the stuff, and you are screwed.Before you drink away from home, know the potential consequences.