Top 10 DUI Mistakes
Arrested for drunk driving? If so, you're not alone. Throughout Colorado and the nation, people are arrested all the time. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 1.4 million people were arrested for allegedly drinking and driving in 2009 alone. It is important to note, however, that despite the fact that this is a fairly "common" charge, it is not something that most people know how to handle. For many people who are arrested on these charges, it is the first time that they have ever had to deal with criminal law and there is therefore considerable confusion about what they are facing. At my firm, I know how daunting it can be to deal with DUI cases. I know the common mistakes which can be made and I am dedicated to ensuring that my clients have the necessary guidance to help avoid them.
Some of the most common mistakes made with DUI cases include the following:
- Not treating the charges seriously. One of the worst things that you can do following an arrest is to treat it as if it is not important. The truth is that even from a first time offense, you will be facing penalties that can be life-altering in nature. From monetary fines to the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), these are serious and can be not only inconvenient, but can cause issues with a permanent blemish on your criminal record. It therefore deserves to be treated seriously.
- Not acquiring legal representation. Something that will often occur during criminal charges is that the defendant will question the importance of hiring a lawyer. In some cases, they will simple forgo the right, believing that a public defender will be just as good. The truth is that when it is your future on the line, you need to be confident that you are going above and beyond. With evidence which can be lost and memories which can fade, you need the best possible chance of success.
- Hiring a lawyer based on price. One common error is to look for an attorney and base your decision of who you hire entirely on how much they charge. The truth is that attorneys need to make a living. If you hire a lawyer for dirt cheap, they will not be able to invest the necessary time and energy into your case. You need to look around and find a lawyer who will have enough money to spend time building your case without gouging you. Look for a reasonable price, but not the absolute cheapest.
- Not complying with your State's laws. It is not uncommon for someone who has been criminally charged to avoid driver's license laws. The truth, however, is that it is important that you fully understand and abide by all of the nuances in this law. This is not something to avoid or treat frivolously. If you do not comply, you could lose your right to drive — even permanently.
- Driving when your license has been taken away. In many DUI cases, you will face the possibility of having your license taken away. If at any point, it has been taken away, you should make sure that you never get behind the wheel of a car. If you are found driving with a revoked or suspended license, it could result in a longer suspension or even a permanent revocation.
- Not protecting your Constitutional rights. Under the Constitution, all American citizens have certain rights. This includes the right to remain silent and the right to retain legal counsel, among others. In any given criminal case, it is vastly important that you protect these rights tooth and nail; they are some of the most important things that you may possess.
- Taking the first offer made by the prosecution. During plea bargaining, you may be made an offer by the prosecution that may seem pretty appealing, especially if you're frightened of the possibility of a conviction. However, it is important to not take this offer. In most cases, it is simply an attempt by the prosecution to get rid of the case with the least amount of effort involved possible. By taking this offer, you are almost always not getting the best deal possible and are often giving up your right to have the charges proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the State.
- Fail to appear in the Court when required. After you have been arrested, you will be required to appear for certain hearings by the Court. If you fail to remember these dates or simply fail to appear, it is almost certain that you will have a bench warrant issued in your name, which can result in an arrest. Your bond will also be revoked. This can be serious repercussions for the future.
- Talking to someone other than your lawyer. It can be tempting to talk to people after you have been arrested. You want to prove your innocence! It is important to remember, however, that anything you say during this time can and will likely be used against you. You need to protect your right to remain silent and only speak when you have legal counsel. You will thus be giving yourself the best possible chance of success by avoiding self-incrimination.
- Talking to several lawyers so you can represent yourself. In some cases, people will make the mistake of thinking that if they talk to enough attorneys that they will learn enough where they can handle a case on your own. This is a massive mistake. The law is extremely complex and takes years to master. You need a professional on your side to go to Court with you and look out for your best interests. Don't shortchange your future by attempting to handle it on your own.
If you have been arrested and are worried about making any of the above or any other mistakes, it is in your best interests to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer. This is not the time to work on your own or to simply hope for the best. You need to do everything in your power to protect your legal rights, defend your future and fight for the most optimal results possible. To learn more about avoiding common mistakes, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and contact my firm today!