Know Your Rights
You have a right to remain silent.
That is, you do not have to answer any questions which a police officer asks you during a DUI encounter. Remember: everything you say (even things which you may think are helpful to you) will be used against you. Any statements you make in the presence of the officer, in his patrol car, or at the jail are very likely going to be recorded and used against you later.
You are not required to perform field sobriety tasks.
If you believe that you may not be able to do the roadside tests exactly as the officer wants, a polite refusal to perform these tasks may benefit you in the inevitable proceedings which will follow. However, if you refuse these tests be polite and professional when you decline to take them. And remember that if the officer continues to try to talk to you or engage you, he is doing so to create a better case for him. It is extremely unlikely he is trying to have a conversation with you because he thinks you are an interesting person. If it is after dark and you have the odor of an alcoholic beverage on your breath, the officer is probably going to arrest you even if you think you have passed the tests. If you chose to take the roadside tests listen intently to the officer’s instructions and make sure to follow them exactly. The officers grade these tests and often use even the slightest variance from their instructions as evidence against you.
You have a right to refuse a breath or blood test.
You are not required to blow into the hand-held machine at the scene of the traffic stop. There is no penalty for this refusal and the results of this machine are generally not admissible in court. If you are asked to perform a breath test at the jail / police station after arrest you are you are not required to submit to this test. However, if you refuse this test or blow 0.08 or more the officer will likely attempt to suspend your license. There is currently no criminal penalty for this refusal. What you will hear at the jail / police station is “if you refuse this test” your privilege to operate a vehicle will be suspended. What they don’t tell you is that if you take the test and blow 0.08 or more they are going take your driver’s license anyway.
You have a right to a hearing before your license is suspended.
When the cop takes your license as a result of a DUI arrest, the Department of Public Safety will attempt to suspend your driver’s license. However, they are not always successful. You or your lawyer MUST request that hearing WITHIN 10 DAYS OF YOUR ARREST DATE or the hearing is WAIVED AND YOUR LICENSE WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY SUSPENDED. Contact us today to avoid your license from being suspended.
You are innocent until proven guilty
Some people believe that they have a hopeless case, that a defense is too expensive, that most people lose their cases, and that a guilty plea is their best and cheapest option. All of these concerns are inaccurate assumptions or just plain wrong! You are not in a position to judge your case, you need have your case evaluated by a lawyer.
- Many jurors and judges are aware of the problems associated with police officers in traffic stops, and they find people not guilty in DUI or other criminal cases.
- There is very rarely a “hopeless” case. I have helped hundreds of people who initially thought they had a “hopeless” case. In fact, many of these cases are where another lawyer said their odds of success were virtually non-existent. I am proud to say that these are my favorite cases. Your chance of success is an evaluation which only can be made with the advice of an experienced DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney. If you think your case is hopeless, I hope you come see me.
- Probation means a criminal conviction which remains on your record for the rest of your life. You may have to pay fines, court costs, do dozens of hours of community service, take psychological evaluations, report monthly to a probation officer who has the power to put you in jail for alleged failures of your probation conditions, take urine tests, refrain from the use of alcohol and going to places where alcohol is served, and in some jurisdictions in Alabama the judges will require you to serve a jail sentence.
- If it is your second DUI, the jury is ordinarily not allowed to know of your prior conviction. There are some exceptions to this but they are rare.