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Do I Need a DUI Defense Attorney?

If you have been charged with a DUI in the past, you already know the severe penalties and restrictions that a DUI conviction can bring.

For those facing their first DUI, the question “DO I Need a DUI Defense Attorney” is likely already becoming a regular thought.  You may find it helpful to consider what is involved in a DUI case and some of the issues that a DUI Defense Attorney analyzes in making your decision.

DUI cases generally begin with some sort of traffic stop or accident.  The State or Municipality must show, at trial, that the DUI Defendant is Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.  That is a very high standard and requires very strong evidence.

The arresting officer is the primary “investigator” involved in the collection of the evidence to be used in a DUI.  This evidence usually involves, not only the contact the officer has with the driver accused of DUI, but also observations the officer made, or claims to have made, prior to stopping the driver.  Many DUI cases are won because the arresting officer states a reason for stopping the driver that just simply never happened.  Also, if the stop occurred due to a roadblock, DUI Roadblock cases often turn on whether the roadblock was legal and appropriate procedures were followed by law enforcement in conducting the roadblock.

In most cases, the arresting officer reports on physical observations made of the driver.  These observations may include

  • Odor of an Alcoholic Beverage on the drivers Breath
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Glassy Eyes
  • Slurred Speech
  • Disheveled Clothing
  • Poor Balance (Unsteady on Feet)
  • Inability to Follow Directions
  • Finger Dexterity (Ability to Hold Items with the Fingers)

Most DUI cases have been recorded on video and evidence of the events are recorded for review after the arrest has occurred, which often are used to debunk the officer’s observations.  Of course, an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney will compare the “observations” of the arresting officer, which are generally written into the officer’s Arrest Report, with the evidence on the video of the encounter when one exists.

Likewise, in most instances, some form of Field Sobriety Test(s) are administered by the arresting officer.  Many drivers are unaware that they are not required to submit to these “tests”.  There are three Standardized tests that are generally recognized as having scientifically accepted results for determining intoxication: Horizontal Gaze Nstagmus (HGN) test; Walk and Turn (W&T) test; and One Leg Stand (OLS) test.  There are other tests that officers may use to determine intoxication, but these tests are not known to be scientifically reliable. The judicial system and law enforcement recognize the observations made by the officer during these tests as competent evidence of a driver’s intoxication or lack thereof.  Most DUI Defense Attorneys disagree with the reliability of any of the tests and attack the tests on many levels to illustrate their unreliability.  Familiarity with the test procedures and the officer’s training are pivotal in defending a DUI based on the Field Sobriety Tests.

After an arrest has been made, the officer should read to the arrested driver his Implied Consent Rights.  These are rights that a driver has to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the driver’s blood, breath or urine.  If the driver refuses and is later found guilty of a DUI, the driver’s license will be suspended for a period of one-year.  However, if the driver submits to the test, the results of the tests can be introduced as evidence of the driver’s intoxication.

The testing of the blood and urine presents procedural issues regarding the handling of evidence, the admissibility of the results, as well as, a myriad of other issues that the DUI Defense Attorney must consider as part of a well-rounded defense.

The breath testing equipment is plagued with many other issues regarding its reliability that can be beneficially exploited by an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney.

It cannot be overstated that the DUI case is a complex criminal case, with very particular and specialized evidentiary issues and procedures that can turn a DUI accusation on its head.

If you are trying to decide whether to hire a DUI Defense Attorney to defend you, know that time is not a luxury you have.  The sooner that you employ a DUI Defense Attorney, the more information he can obtain, analyze and attack for you in the courtroom.

Don’t let your opportunity to have the best DUI defense tick away; Contact The Law Office of Eric L. Gay NOW!