DUI arrests are common, and, throughout the country, countless people plead guilty or are found guilty every day. However, many people arrested for DUI often end up striking a lenient plea bargain or have charges dropped as well, and some who take the case to trial end up being found not guilty. Making mistakes after being arrested can significantly lessen the odds of finding a more favorable outcome. Here are some of the top mistakes people make after being arrested for DUI or other similar charges.
Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer
Laws vary between states, but many require those with a driving license to take a breathalyzer test if demanded by a police officer. While drivers typically have a right to refuse one, doing so can result in harsh penalties. In most cases, it’s best to take the test and find a means to contest the results before the case reaches trial or in front of the court court. Study state laws to learn how to best respond to a request for taking a breathalyzer test.
Talking to the Police More than Necessary
Once a police officer decides to make an arrest, there’s no way to talk yourself out of it. Those who are arrested have a right to remain silent, and police officers cannot compel drivers to make any statements. In many cases, officers try to get those arrested to admit guilt, which makes these cases more difficult to defend. Furthermore, police officers might try to find evidence that the driver is guilty of other crimes, and it can be difficult to avoid traps while inebriated. Be respectful of police officers, but guard your right to remain silent to avoid small mistakes that can be costly at trial. When in the booking station or elsewhere, inform detectives that you’ll only speak once you have access to your lawyer.
Failing to Hire a Lawyer
Many people think DUI cases are simple, but there are many venues to get certain evidence dismissed. If a lawyer can show that a breathalyzer was administered incorrectly, for example, it might be inadmissible in court, making the prosecutor’s task nearly impossible. Information that leads to dropped evidence can be found in police reports, dashcam footage and in other evidence, but it takes experience to know where to look and what to look for. While hiring a lawyer might be expensive, failing to do so can be even more expensive.
Getting Arrested a Second Time
Those arrested for DUI will often encounter prosecutors and attorneys willing to cut a deal or even drop charges, especially when the person arrested has a lawyer. Getting arrested a second time, however, typically makes prosecutors far less likely to offer a lenient plea deal or drop charges. Those arrested twice have far less leverage than those arrested for the first time, and jail time might be inevitable in certain states. The easiest way to avoid a DUI is to only drive while sober, but this advice is even more important if you already have an arrest.
Not Investigating License Opportunities
Many states revoke the driving licenses of people arrested for DUI, even if they haven’t been convicted or plead guilty. However, many states also provide hardship waivers and other means for people to continue driving while the trial is pending. In the state of Florida, for example, those who sign up for DUI school can typically use a hardship license to continue driving for certain purposes, including school and work. One of the benefits of hiring a lawyer quickly is having a guide to help you through the process, which can mean the difference between keeping and losing your job. Those who have been arrested need to ensure they research relevant laws and ask lawyers about available options.
DUI arrests can be costly, and it’s important to act promptly if you’ve been arrested. There are often ways to avoid harsh penalties, and lawyers can sometimes get charges dismissed entirely. Be cautious if you’ve been arrested as small mistakes you make after being arrested can have severe consequences in the future.
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