Drunken driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, as such, in the aftermath of a DUI report you may have questions that are pressing and best handled by hiring an attorney.
Arizona drunk driving laws are some of the strictest in the nation, making even a first time DUI charge a serious offence. So what can a hiring DUI lawyer do for you? How important is legal defense? Keep reading to find out.
What Happens When You’re Pulled Over?
When you are pulled over for a potential DUI, the unfortunate reality is that the odds are stacked against you.
To begin, being pulled over means the officer already sees signs of a real or perceived infraction. Perhaps you were speeding, did not come to a complete stop, or were driving in a manner that pointed toward intoxication. As such, your police will open a report and seek to fill it out as thoroughly as possible.
Police reports are built from subjective data. Your answers and behaviors will be harshly assessed with all negative presentations written into your report to add credibility to the officer’s accusations.
This results in the officer asking several different questions about your recent activities, any recent drinking, and similar questions. This is followed by several roadside tests given to test your coordination– something which suffers severely when intoxicated. These field sobriety tests include walking a straight line or holding your leg out in front of you. Finally, your office will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test.
If you fail these tests, you are arrested for DUI.
By this point, there is likely sufficient information recorded to make your case look less than ideal in front of the judge. Without hiring a lawyer, you could face a DUI conviction, license suspension, and mandatory jail time.
Know Your Rights
In the above example, the officer gave a field sobriety test to gather subjective information about your level of intoxication. What many don’t realize is that it is within your rights to refuse these roadside tests. Not only are they inaccurate, they offer potentially incriminating information that will be used against you when assessing your DUI charge.
If you refuse, you will be taken to the police station. There, you will have to choose between one of two mandatory tests– a chemical and another breath test. In this situation, taking the breath test is a better option. Why? Their decreased accuracy means the test’s validity can be called into question in court.
Remember: A Guilty Plea is the Same as a Conviction
Depending on the evidence at hand, a guilty plea may be your best answer. However, pleading guilty results in automatic conviction and is therefore a complicated decision that should be made after speaking with private legal counsel.
More often than not, it is difficult (or even impossible) to withdraw at a later date. As such, the rights you waive when making the please (such as: the right to remain silent and the right to a jury trial) are not given back to you.
The implications of pleading guilty are similar to that of a conviction– your license is suspended, a Class one misdemeanor is placed on your record, you serve mandatory jail time, and will have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for some length of time.
Should I get a Lawyer for my First DUI?
A common question for many drivers is whether they need a lawyer for their first offence DUI. Many times these individuals have a clean driving record, insurance, and no criminal history– all admirable attributes they believe might lessen the blow of their offenses.
Unfortunately, it won’t.
Whether it is your first offence or not, the police, the Court, and the DMV ultimately view your DUI in the same way. In states like Arizona where driving laws are particularly strict, there is little to no leeway for individuals based on clean records alone.
As such, it’s important to retain legal counsel as quickly as possible after being released from your DUI arrest. This will give you the best chances at potentially finding an argument to combat the charges against you.
Finding Arizona Legal Aid
When you are involved in a DUI case, having a defense attorney on your side is integral to the outcome of your case.
Contacting a personal injury law firm for legal advice is the quickest and most effective way to assess your claim and increase your chances for a fair settlement.
With over 25 years of litigation experience, the BBerry Law Office can help you with your personal injury claim from initial assessment all the way through litigation and trial. Call (520) 347-8484 to schedule a consultation to explore your options for a fair outcome.