Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I had a drink or two. How can I fight a DUI arrest?
A: First, you are innocent until proven guilty. When you plead guilty, you give up your right to your presumed innocence. Second, even if you had a drink, you may not be guilty of driving under the influence. If your driving was not impaired and your blood alcohol level was below legal limits, the prosecutor may not be able to convict you.
Q: I blew over the legal limit. How can I fight a DUI?
A: There are many reasons why a person might blow above the legal limit and still not be intoxicated. Machines may not be properly calibrated, the operators may make mistakes or the machine could malfunction or produce false readings. Certain medical conditions can affect blood alcohol content as well. Timing is also an important factor. The law prohibits you from driving with a BAC over a certain limit, but you are tested long after you are behind the wheel, giving your body time to process more alcohol and produce readings that do not correspond to the time you were driving.
Q: I felt fine when I took the FSTs but I still got arrested. Is that legal?
A: FSTs (field sobriety tests) and are designed to test physical impairment. That does not mean that failing FSTs is proof that you were impaired due to intoxication. Most experts agree that mental impairment precedes physical impairment. Therefore, if your mental abilities were not impaired, there’s a good chance you were not driving under the influence. Furthermore, FSTs administered by an intimidating officer in the dark on a busy roadway with tired feet or bad shoes, police lights flashing and cars driving past you can all contribute to misleading results.
Q: What makes a DUI a felony?
A: If you’re charged with a felony DUI, chances are you were either involved in an accident, someone was injured or died, or you have prior DUI convictions. If prosecutors can justify charging a felony DUI, they might do so expecting the defendant to try and enter a plea agreement to a misdemeanor DUI. There may be factual and legal issues a good DUI lawyer can identify that could help exonerate you. No matter the situation, if you face a felony DUI charge, take it seriously. While misdemeanor DUIs are punishable by up to one year in jail, felonies may result in prison sentences of over one year along with other penalties, fines and license suspension.
Q: What can a DUI lawyer do for me that I can’t do for myself?
A: In addition to knowing the complex and specific laws that apply to a DUI case (from search and seizure to arrest to criminal charges and more), a skilled DUI lawyer is trained to identify issues that can help in your defense. In addition, DUI lawyers are likely to have a list of expert witnesses who are prepared to testify in court. Expert witnesses used by experienced DUI lawyers include former police officers, drug recognition experts and scientists with law enforcement experience. Expert witness testimony from former law enforcement officers can be very helpful in educating and persuading a judge or jury. Finding, communicating with and retaining such highly qualified expert witnesses on your own is far more challenging.