Benefits of Hiring a DUI Lawyer

One of the most important benefits of using a DUI lawyer is that they can determine whether a police officer had reasonable articulable suspicion to pull over the driver and perform a field sobriety or chemical test. Being able to make a strong case for an illegal stop is one of the best ways to overcome the prosecution’s case. Because a DUI attorney has experience in this field of law, they will know how the field sobriety tests should be performed, and be able to tell if they were not administered properly.

Many people think that a DUI in DC is a simple traffic matter they can either represent themselves or that they can resolve easily at the DC court. However, DUIs are serious criminal matters that can result in long-lasting consequences. Sometimes they can even involve mandatory jail time, lifetime criminal records, and strict conditions of probation.

When a person is facing a DUI case, it is important to speak with a DC DUI attorney who is experienced with the procedures of handling DC DUIs. Only a lawyer who has this background can be in a position to help a person better understand what their options are, what their possible consequences might be, and what steps can be taken to minimize consequences and get them a good result in their case.

Rights During a DUI

There is no universal rule for whether a person should give or refuse a breathalyzer test in DC. Every person’s situation is different. Sometimes, it may be to a person’s advantage to give a breathalyzer test. Typically, in first offense DUI cases where someone has not been previously arrested for driving under the influence in DC or in any other state, and that person has had a relatively small amount of alcohol to drink and they are at a fairly low level of intoxication, giving a breath sample may be in a person’s best interest.

If someone gives a breath sample, it can be evidence usable in court against them and could be enough to have them convicted at trial. They should be aware of how their breath sample can be used as evidence against them. Someone refusing to give a breath sample might potentially have a stronger case at trial, but refusing to give a breath sample, in some situations, can eliminate many non-trial options that can give a person a favorable outcome to their case without having to take the risk or pay the financial cost of taking a DUI case to a trial.

If an individual does give a breath sample and they are extremely intoxicated, that blood alcohol content result could mean that that they would be eligible for mandatory jail time. There are a lot of considerations for a person when deciding whether or not to give a breath sample. It is always dependent on an individual person’s situation rather than a rule that applies to everyone.

Minimizing Penalties

If a person has been found guilty of driving under the influence, either because they pled guilty to the charge or because they were convicted at trial, there are several things the person can do to try and minimize the penalties that they face. It can always be helpful for a person to be enrolled in some kind of alcohol treatment or education program, even before their case is completed. So after they have been arrested, enrolling in one of these types of programs or courses can be a good first step to minimizing their penalties.

A person does not need to go into an inpatient or residential rehabilitation program, but enrolling in an outpatient program can be helpful. There are different kinds of outpatient programs that are better for different situations, so they should discuss that with their lawyer when deciding what kind of treatment or education program is best for them.

Multiple Offenses

If a person is found guilty of a second or subsequent offense DUI, that person would be eligible for a certain amount of mandatory jail time that a judge would not have the ability to suspend. But, the judge could potentially go higher than a person’s mandatory jail time exposure. In those situations, enrolling in a more intensive treatment program, and sometimes potentially even residential treatment, might be a good way to avoid more serious jail penalties.

There also can be ways for a person to decrease or lessen their probation requirements or the length of their probation. A person can discuss their job situation or any other factors with their attorney, so that their attorney can advise them on the best ways to decrease their obligations while on probation.

When to Contact an Attorney

Many times when people get pulled over and are asked to submit to field sobriety testing, they ask the officers if they can contact a lawyer on scene and the officer refuses to let them. Police officers are not required to let a suspect call a lawyer at any point. Even if a person asks to speak to a lawyer, the police officers do not have to let them make a phone call to a lawyer. But once someone has requested legal counsel, that person is deemed to have asserted their right to remain silent. At that point, the police cannot interrogate them if they are in custody or arrested.

Typically, a person would not have the ability to be able to contact their lawyers until after they have been released from the police station with a scheduled court date. If a person is not sure what to do and would like to speak with a lawyer before making any decisions, that person can tell the police they will not answer any questions before talking with a lawyer. Most likely, the police would end questioning and would probably list the suspect as a breath test refusal. There may be consequences for doing so or it may be to a person’s advantage to refuse the breath test, but a person always has the ability to invoke the right to remain silent and decline to answer any questions without consulting with a lawyer first, who will best advise them in their situation.

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