Do I Really Need a Drunk Driving Lawyer?

ladyjusticeDriving under the influence is not always a good idea. However, if you’re an occasional drinker, it is likely to find yourself under such circumstances. Driving while intoxicated is illegal in many states, therefore in the event that you’re caught, you will be charged under the DUI laws. Some of the penalties of driving under the influence include huge fines, license confiscation, sentencing and probation.

Undeniably, facing DUI charges is not a pleasant experience for most drivers, it can be mentally disturbing and one can be thrown off course for a while. If you find yourself under such a state, the best step to take is to enlist the services of a competent and experienced DUI lawyer. Nevertheless, some people find it convenient to represent themselves in court. This can be quite challenging, especially if you’re lack experience on how the legal system works, you may eventually find yourself in big trouble. If you are asking yourself this question “Do I need a DUI lawyer”? Here is what an attorney brings to the table.

One of the benefits of engaging a DUI attorney is that he/she will offer valuable and timely advice concerning your case. One major mistake committed by DUI offenders while being held by the police or while facing a judge is accidentally providing incriminating evidence. Generally, what a DUI lawyer does is to tell his client what to say or do and what to avoid at different phases of the case. This is a sure way of helping you with your case.

A good DUI attorney will strive to get his client out of trouble. Among the most notable characteristics of these legal representatives is their ability to notice even the slightest details. In this case, they are capable of finding small bits of evidence which can make a great difference between paying a reduced fine or undertaking community service and spending a long time in jail. Moreover, a DUI attorney will work towards ensuring that your license is not confiscated, as you’re aware, it is a common penalty for DUI offenses.

 

Any information you disclose to your lawyer will remain private and confidential. This implies that you should be comfortable and open when providing all the details regarding your case for better representation. DUI attorneys will use the information and various bits of evidence to boost their winning chances. The greatest thing about this is the fact that you can consult with your attorney whenever necessary.

If the police officer who arrested you presented false evidence to facilitate your conviction, be sure that your DUI attorney will dig up all this and find out the truth. Once, the lawyer finds this, he/she will take advantage of this information to diminish the strength of the case or make it go away. This is among the things that these attorneys are trained to handle and very efficiently for that matter.

There are numerous DUI lawyers around, so you have to be careful before hiring one. It is important you meet up with the attorney and inform him about your situation and find out what approaches or solutions they have to offer. Having a DUI lawyer can be comforting since your case will be in the hands of a professional.

Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer in Michigan?

carkeys1Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a serious offense. It is scary to get pulled over by the police especially if you have had a few drinks. A breathalyzer test is carried out to determine if your alcohol levels are within the required limit. Most people wonder if they have to take a breathalyzer or not after being pulled over. There is an assumption that if the police have no evidence, they will not be able to prove that you were intoxicated. You can actually refuse one, but it can affect your DUI case.  It is always best to call The Clark Law Office (East Lansing drunk driving lawyers) at http://theclarklawoffice.com/drunk-driving-attorneys/  There are a few things you need to keep in mind before you decline a breathalyzer.

Implied Consent

Majority of the states have implied consent laws. According to the laws, you consent to a breathalyzer once you get your license. A law enforcement officer has the right to ask you to take a breathalyzer simply because you have a license. If you refuse to take the test, the state can revoke your license by imposing another penalty. You will be unable to use the license for a particular period. The punishment given to drivers who decline the test is similar to a DUI offense in states like New York. Your license can be suspended for up to a year.

Proving Guilt

Declining a request to take the test may seem like the best way to prevent a DUI charge but it is not. A police officer can use other methods to determine if you are driving under the influence. The officer can testify in court that they smelled an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle. You may also be asked to take several sobriety tests such as narrating the alphabet or walking in a straight line.

The devices used to test alcohol levels on the roadside are not breathalyzers. They help the police office to get a rough idea of your blood alcohol content. This helps them to determine if you need to take a breathalyzer test at a police station.

Why you should Take the Test

It may seem crazy to take a breathalyzer test, especially when you know you have a few drinks. However, your blood alcohol content may actually be lower than the limit. The only way to determine this is by taking the test. It will also prevent harsh penalties. Some states consider a decline a sign that you are guilty and you may be required to produce a blood sample to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. Consult your lawyer after taking the test to determine the best approach to take in your defense.

When to Decline a Breathalyzer

If you are really drunk, it is advisable to decline a breathalyzer request. This is because some states have put in place some serious penalties for aggravated driving while intoxicated (DWI). This happens if your blood alcohol content is higher than 18. If this is the case, your blood alcohol content is actually more than twice the legal limit.

Police officers are required to ensure that the roads are safe for everyone by identifying drivers who may be driving under the influence. It is advisable to cooperate with them. The law presumes that you have consented to a breathalyzer if you possess a driving license. Refusing to take one can only make things worse for you.

The Most Common Forms of Field Sobriety Tests

jackFrom the onset, it is imperative to note that field sobriety tests, unlike other DUI tests and Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tests are voluntary in most states in the US. One should be aware though that there may be penalties for someone who refuses to take a Field Sobriety Test.

Generally, law enforcement agencies will request to administer a field sobriety test if they suspect that the driver is intoxicated or drunk. The main intention of administering these tests is to determine the motor skills and mental acuity of a suspect. It has been noted though in several forums that these tests are quite subjective and relatively inaccurate. This is especially so for suspects, who are anxious, elderly, sick or overweight. In such instances, the results may not reflect the accurate picture.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in its wisdom did create a standardized model for Sobriety testing way back in 1981. The SFST (Standardized Field Sobriety Test) as it is commonly known does consist of three (3) combined tests which must be performed so as to ascertain the level of intoxication if any at all.

Some of the most common field sobriety tests include; the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the one- leg stand test, the walk and turn test (WAT), the Rhomberg Balance Test and even the recitation of the alphabet backwards or otherwise.

For the HGN test, the law enforcement officer will require you to follow an object he or she moves back and forth in a horizontal fashion in front of you. Its main objective is to test the involuntary jerking motion your eye is bound to make when you are looking to the side. If you have been drinking, the motion is bound to be more pronounced.

The walk and turn test on the other hand does entail the officer directing you to walk and turn as he has instructed. It usually requires you to take nine (9) steps, stepping heel to toe on a straight line and then turning on one foot and performing the same task but now going in a different direction. The main objective of this test is to ascertain your ability to follow instructions and maintain your balance. In most instances an officer will assume you are impaired if you take the wrong number of steps, hesitate to regain balance or use your arms for balance or start your walk before he gives out all the instructions.

 

The stand on one leg is also one of the common field sobriety tests administered by law enforcement officers. One is required to raise his leg about six (6) inches above the ground and start counting as instructed by the officer. This process usually takes at least thirty seconds before you are expected to stand on both legs. Any balance loss may be construed as a sign of intoxication by the officer administering the test.

It is also important to note that the above tests should be administered by officers who have been adequately and properly trained to administer the said tests and accurately interpret the results. There are also strict guidelines which an officer should follow before testing a suspected drunk driver. Failure to follow these guidelines may lead to the field sobriety results being challenged in the DUI case where they are presented.

What Can a DUI Lawyer Do For Me?

cuffsA DUI lawyer is very essential when you are dealing with crimes or complexities against the DUI offense. In case you are charged with a crime related to DUI, you should consider making use of the services of such attorneys as they will assist you with a course of action to undertake depending on your current circumstances. They have a lot of experience in the field and they are in a position to give you the best advice based on your current charges. This implies that you should not ignore their services as you will stand a better chance of being not guilty when they represent you. Are you one of those individuals asking themselves “What Can a DUI Attorney Do for me?” as this is the question most victims of DUI offenses ask themselves when they are charged with such crimes. Here are some of the key ways such attorneys can assist you:

A DUI Attorney Can Assist You Drop Some Charges at Early Stages

This is due to the fact that he/she will cross examine your charges and then go ahead to examine the witnesses the prosecution brings against you. They will try and force the law to favor you and in the process, some of the charges can be dropped at the early stages of your prosecution. This will make your work easier at the later stages as you would have eliminated some of the charges that could possibly lead to your arrest.

They Will Inform You on Your Rights as Per the Law

This is the right person to inform you on your rights in the process of prosecution. There are some cases where the prosecutor will deny you your rights just because you are ignorant of your rights. The DUI lawyer will guide you in the process and clearly inform you on what you should not be denied even if you will be proved guilty. There are some cases where you have been fighting for your rights and in the process; you are involved in a DUI offense. This way, you will have a point to defend yourself as the attorney will have explained to you all your rights.

They Will Assist You in the Pre-Trial Conferences

This is the session of the prosecution before the actual trial. This is meant to give your attorney a chance try as much as possible to drop some more offenses. Your DUI lawyer will try at this point to drop other offenses you are charged with. A good East Lansing DUI attorney will use his/her skills to make the charges reclassified to non-alcohol or non-drugs related offense. In case they are reclassified, your charges may be dropped at this stage.

A DUI Lawyer Will Defend You at the Trial Session

In case your case proceeds to the trial section, your DUI attorney will represent you. He/she will look for expert witnesses and hire some experienced investigators who will weaken the defense of your prosecution and strengthen yours. This will increase your chances of being not guilty. at this stage, they will cross examine the witnesses of the prosecution and they may confuse them and in the process, you may not be found guilty.

What You Could Lose Following a DUI

moneyDriving under influence which is abbreviated as DUI is listed as the number one cause of traffic related accidents in the United States. Although DUI is the most common abbreviation, some states refer to the same thing as DWI which stands for driving while intoxicated, OWI (Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated) and Driving While Impaired (DWI). As a note, it should be known that DUI does not only refer to impairment from drinking alcohol but is also inclusive of other intoxicants like narcotic drugs which have effects on the central nervous system. If you are not sure what a conviction for DUI would mean for you, below is information which comprehensively covers all possible losses.

 Expenses incurred by attorney fees

Among the most obvious DUI expenses is an attorney fee. One might wonder why it would be necessary to hire an attorney when the prosecutor has enough evidence to convict you but consider the possibility of losing your driver’s license or even serving a jail term. You only stand a chance at getting light punishment if you hire an attorney to represent you in the court of law. If they argue well, the state might decide to inflict light punishment on you which normally entails enrolling in a drug rehabilitation facility.

Fines and Jail terms for a DUI convict depending on the number of convictions

States might have slight discrepancies with regards to how they punish DUI convicts. However, one risks facing these penalties if they are found guilty in a court of law.

A first time conviction may carry the following penalties depending on the level of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and how skillfully the attorney pleas. The convict will face a 24 hour to 11 months and 29 days jail term, get a $ 350 – $ 1500 fine and their driver’s license might be revoked for 1 year.

For a second time conviction, the subject risks a jail term not shorter than 45 days and not exceeding 11 months and 29 days. In addition a fine will be penalized while their driver’s license gets revoked for 2 years.

A third conviction carries with it the following penalties. A jail term not shorter than 120 days and not exceeding 11 months plus 29 days, a fine worth values between $ 1100 to $ 10000 might be charged and not to forget a three years to 10 years revocation of the subjects drivers license.

People who get convicted for the fourth time get imprisoned for 150 consecutive days, are required to pay a fine worth values between $ 3000 and $ 15000. For a fourth time conviction, the subject will have their driver’s license revoked for 5 years.