Skilled DUI attorneys sit next to their clients in the back of the courtroom and watch one person after another accepting the first offer presented to them by the prosecutor. Unrepresented defendants routinely suffer license loss and financial penalties far more severe than people represented by an experienced DUI lawyer. They often accept those consequences to avoid paying for an effective DWI lawyer. It is not until months later, sometimes years, that they begin to fully appreciate their decision to forgo a great DUI lawyer. Going unrepresented, or bargain shopping for your DUI/DWI defense, can have devastating impacts on the length of drivers license loss and can result in substantial career consequences from a criminal record. Attorney Sweeney, a former DUI prosecutor, has seen this process unfold from both sides of the courtroom for many years. The only bargain is the best DUI defense lawyer you can get.
From the first moment an officer approaches someone suspected of DWI, the officer is gathering evidence. A breath test occurs at the police station after the suspect has already been arrested for DWI. A breath test can be very persuasive evidence if admitted at trial. By the time a breathalyzer or blood test is requested by law enforcement, the officer has already formed the opinion that the driver is intoxicated. An improperly administered breath test can be inaccurate.
Prior to administering the breathalyzer, the officer will review a form with the driver. That form implies that refusal to agree to the breath test will result in a 6 month loss of license. An experienced DWI lawyer can examine the police reports, the circumstances of the arrest, the procedure for requesting the breath test, and determine whether a challenge to the 6 month license loss is appropriate. That challenge has to be filed within time limits. If the driver waits too long to challenge the breath test or refusal, the DMV will may not even grant a hearing. It is best to contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible to avoid a preventable loss of license from missing time limits. Time is of the essence when it comes to retaining an excellent DUI lawyer.
The investigation begins when the Officer has some reason to suspect that the person in the driver’s seat is impaired, to any degree, by alcohol or drugs.
The officer approaches the vehicle and has a brief conversation with the person in the driver’s seat. During this initial conversation, the Officer makes some observations. Those observations will later appear in police reports as evidence against the driver.
As the driver steps out of the car, the lens of guilt is applied to every motion the driver makes. Using any part of the car to assist the driver is climbing out of the car is viewed as an indicator of impairment. Any misstep or stumble, a hand against the car, moving too far left or right, all get noted for the report. Then the field sobriety tests begin:
Sometimes an officer will add in other “tests”. Those are not “standardized field sobriety tests” and are typically discounted by courts and administrative agencies. The driver will be arrested and taken to the police department for fingerprints and photos.