Assume the Case Can’t Be Won
There are hundreds of mistakes that could transpire during a DUI arrest, which an experienced lawyer can pinpoint and use in your favor. Research the lawyer’s qualifications and ask questions relative to his or her training and experience with DUI cases. A DUI charge resonates to your entire life, not just your driving record. Take your case seriously and hire an adequate attorney who will fight to clear your name.
Failing to Request a Preliminary Hearing
If you fail to request a Preliminary Hearing, you are basically admitting guilt before the case even moves to a trial. Contest the charges, cross-examine the Police Officer and create the tone early-on that you are innocent of the charges and that you will do everything in your power to clear your name. The Preliminary Hearing is an outstanding way to gain knowledge on the case and gives your lawyer time to gather evidence, re-test existing evidence and develop a defense case.
Assuming the Road Side Tests Were Administered Properly
Hiring an attorney who isn’t familiar with the phases of DUI Detection as it is taught to police through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is never a good idea. Between the three (3) Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and the administration of a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) device, the arresting officer almost always strays from objective scoring at some point during the arrest. Due to human interaction, the arresting officer is oftentimes led to subjectively scoring the Field Sobriety Tests and may not be certified to administer such tests, in the first place. Hire an attorney who is familiar with all necessary protocol in making a DUI arrest, in order to give yourself every chance possible to prevail.
Calling The Officer a Liar
Rather than flat out calling the Officer a liar, a skilled lawyer will present the fact that so many intricacies are involved in a DUI traffic stop that the officer may be presenting wrong information on this case. You are not persecuting the officer for being a liar, but rather presenting the concept that the specifics of this case may have been misremembered due to multiple stops on the day of the arrest, faulty evidence or improper following of procedures.
Not Knowing the Consequences of a Guilty Plea or a Conviction
Far too many individuals admit guilt in their DUI case because they feel like they cannot beat the system, or that it will be too expensive to fight, or that having a DUI is not a big deal. The fact of the matter is that if you plead guilty you will be faced with fines or jail-time, elevated insurance rates, the inability to rent a car, DUI and Alcohol Anonymous classes and a blemished driving record that will follow you for ten years. Know your rights and the consequences of admitting guilt. Educate yourself in possible defenses and equip yourself with the most adequate lawyer available.
Assume That all Procedures Were Followed During The Breath Test
There are rules and regulations when administering a Breath Test. A common mistake is to assume that all procedures were properly followed. Something as simple as not changing the mouthpiece on the machinery before the test is given, not keeping a log of breath tests, or calibrating a machine too-frequently could be used in your favor. Make sure your lawyer gathers all of the necessary documents: logs, maintenance reports, the operator’s certifications, as well as the typical arrest and complaint report. Remember, the government has to prove that you were driving under the influence, without a shadow of a doubt! There are too many forces involved to not do your best to gather information towards creating a defense.
Never Studying the Scene
Make sure that your attorney is familiar with the area in which the traffic stop was conducted. There may be terrain that made the field sobriety test difficult to complete, or that could have contributed to swerving. Have your attorney gather evidence in the form of photographs and video. For example, an officer might accuse you of weaving in and out of the lanes on multiple occasions; where in actuality there was not enough room to swerve without hitting the guard rail. Examining the scene provides the attorney with the intimate knowledge necessary to confidently question the arresting officer.
Failure to File a Pre-Trial Motion
A pre-trial motion should be filed and argued in nearly every case, especially if no preliminary hearing was held. As mentioned earlier, a preliminary hearing should be held, as well! Even if the Preliminary Hearing and the Pre-Trial Motion are seemingly unsuccessful, they serve a major role in developing a case against the Officer for the sole fact that he or she is further questioned. This may create the case where an officer gets caught misremembering the specifics of the traffic stop.
Going Under Oath to Represent Yourself
It is never a good idea to testify when you are the one being accused. Although we are innocent until proven guilty, the fact that an officer has condemned us means that we must be knowledgeable in the laws in order to argue that we were wrongly accused. Since we do not have the knowledge and provided the fact that the average human being looks extremely nervous when on a stand, it is best to leave the talking to the trained professionals. Furthermore, the goal of fighting a DUI charge is to create a case that the prosecution is not strong enough to convict beyond all reasonable doubt. When the defendant takes the stand, the focus no longer is about the prosecution presenting information to prove there is no reasonable doubt, the focus turns to whether the defendant is honest and trustworthy.
Failing to Consult a Specialist
The intricacies of DUI law make it impossible for the average citizen to represent themselves in a court house. Just as you would consult a doctor for advice and treatment when sick, so too should you consult a DUI specialist before beginning your DUI defense. Attorneys devote their lives to learning the ins-and-outs of DUI law. These laws are constantly changing with new technology being introduced, revisions to existing laws and increasingly stringent procedures being put in place. Leave it to the experts to fight for your freedom.