Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious crime and today’s laws treat it severely. If convicted, you could lose your driving privileges or even serve time in jail. If you cause an accident while intoxicated, you could face serious criminal charges. However, people make mistakes and even one drinking and driving incident can lead to serious long term consequences. For that reason, it’s important to know your rights.
If you are facing DUI charges, it’s important to consult with a professional. A DUI lawyer can minimize the severe penalties and consequences you’re facing. A capable DUI attorney understands traffic, motor vehicle laws and your rights as they apply to your specific case.
It’s typically not a good idea to handle a DUI case on your own, especially if you don’t understand the processes involved. A DUI attorney knows the appropriate procedures and defenses that can help you beat or lessen the charges. A lawyer knows when a plea agreement is appropriate and when a jury trial is inevitable. He or she will present you with the best options available and recommend the best decision you should make. With an experienced DUI lawyer, you have the best opportunity to avoid serious legal repercussions.
What should you do after a drunk driving accident?
If you are involved in a crash, after consuming alcohol or any impairing substance, there are some important steps you need to take. Even if you feel that you were not under the influence at the time, law enforcement officers will consider it a red flag if you’ve had anything to drink recently or show any signs of being impaired.
First of all, you should not leave the scene of the accident until emergency services arrive. The evidence you should collect after an accident includes the names, numbers, addresses, driver license numbers, license plate numbers and general insurance information from the drivers involved in the accident. You should also wait for law enforcement to finish collecting information for a report and only leave when they say you can. Leaving the scene of the accident may result in you facing serious criminal charges and losing your license.
You should also safeguard the injured. If anyone is injured in the accident, report it when you call 911 so that emergency services have an idea of what to expect before they arrive. If you are unable to call, have someone else do it if they are nearby. If you have some experience in first aid, you should administer it to injured persons while taking care not to do more harm than good. Don’t move an injured person. Let law enforcement and medical practitioners move the injured person.
Be careful when speaking with anyone after the crash. Try not to say anything that can be taken as an admission of fault. If you do, that information can be used against you if the case goes to court. After more investigations are done, it might be discovered that the other driver was at fault. By admitting fault, you are making it easier for the government to prove its case against you.
If you are pulled over and the officer suspects that you were drinking and driving, your focus should be on mitigating the potential consequences according to your rights. For instance, even though an officer may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer or roadside examination, you aren’t required by law to do so. By refusing to take the test, the state will have less evidence against you if your case goes to court.
Your next step should be to contact a DUI lawyer. A good drunk driving attorney knows how to appropriately handle a DUI case. If you have legal questions about a DUI incident, contact Steinberg Law’s offices in Delray Beach or Palm Beach Gardens for a free consultation.
Some of the questions that you should ask a lawyer to protect yourself are:
What key concerns do you have with my case?
It is important to know what you are dealing with and it’s helpful to have an attorney share their insight after reviewing your case.
DUI Attorney FAQs
What behaviors do police look for when looking out for drunk drivers?
A police officer will look out for a number of signs to determine if a drive might be under the influence. For instance, you may be pulled over if a driver is making wide turns, braking excessively, drifting from side to side, driving inappropriately slow, hitting or nearly hitting other vehicles or objects or driving on the center markings between lanes.
Do I have to take a field sobriety test?
No, although an officer might ask you to take a field sobriety test, the law does not require you to do so.
How can I speak to a DUI attorney?
It’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after an accident or being pulled over for suspected drunk driving. If you have legal questions, call Steinberg Law today to set up a free consultation. The faster you seek legal advice the better it is for your case.
What defense options do I have for my drunk driving case?
There are a number of potential defenses when dealing with a drunk driving case, but your lawyer will determine a specific strategy based on your circumstances.
Here are just a few possibilities:
- Questionable reasonable suspicion or probable cause: An officer needs a reason before stopping or arresting you. This is especially useful if you are stopped during a sobriety checkpoint.
- No Miranda Warning: If the Miranda Warning was not given or not given at the right time, any potentially incriminating statements you made may be inadmissible in court.
- Observation period failure: Law enforcement officers are required to monitor you for 20 minutes after a breath test. If they don’t, the results of the test may be inadmissible.
- Discrepancies between video and testimony: If you’re driving and field sobriety test is on video, a lawyer may be able to find something that contradicts the officer’s testimony or written report.
- Independent witnesses can provide testimony that proves supports your defense. Anyone who can attest to time frames, the amount of alcohol you consume and any lack of apparent impaired behavior.