A DUI conviction is not something that you can just shrug off as a one-time mistake. That conviction follows you around for the rest of your life. While it is a misdemeanor, you could find that you are unable to get jobs and may disqualify for special programs. And if you have a suspended license, it might be impossible to do even basic tasks like running your own errands.
While there is no guaranteed way to avoid a DUI conviction, having a criminal defense attorney with experience handling these types of cases by your side is critical. An attorney looks for opportunities to strengthen your defense, and hopefully, walk away with a plea to a lesser charge or have the case dismissed entirely.
The Best Way to Avoid a Conviction – Do Not Drink and Drive
If you are going out for the night and you know alcohol is involved, you should not drink and drive. Law enforcement has a zero-tolerance policy, and if you are driving inebriated, you could be arrested. Even if your BAC is below the limit, if it hinders your driving or you are too intoxicated to operate a vehicle safely, you can be charged with a DUI.
Also, do not assume you cannot be arrested for a DUI on private property, or if you are asleep in your parked vehicle. If you are in the driver’s seat – even if the engine is off – you might be arrested for a DUI. Why? Because you are technically intoxicated and in control of the vehicle; therefore, you are operating a vehicle under the influence.
If you are parked or you have decided to sleep it off before driving, sleep in the backseat of your vehicle.
Do Not Refuse to Take the Blood or Breath Test
You know that you are over the limit, and you were pulled over. Now law enforcement proposes that you take a breathalyzer test or come into the station for blood testing.
While you might think that you can refuse the test – which means they would have no concrete evidence of your intoxication – this is the worst thing you can do. By driving in the state, you agree to any chemical testing required to determine your intoxication level. If you refuse, you not only will face an automatic driver’s license suspension (something you might not receive even if convicted of a first-time DUI), but now you could be charged with a DUI anyway.
Refusing to take a test can be used against you, and the prosecutor will do it. They will use your refusal as an admittance of guilt. Why? Because if you had nothing to hide and you were not intoxicated, then you would gladly accept a test to prove your innocence.
Do Not Admit Anything, Either
Even if you take the test and it comes back that you are over the legal limit, now is not the time to admit anything. You still have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise that right.
Law enforcement might entice you to confess because of the evidence against you, but even a positive breathalyzer is not guaranteed conviction for the state.
Therefore, you should contact an attorney right away. One of the best ways to avoid a DUI is to have a defense attorney with experience handling these types of cases. An attorney knows how to defend against DUI allegations, including:
- Questioning the Accuracy of the Test – Breathalyzers are not 100 percent accurate. In fact, when they are not correctly calibrated, you could test over the limit when you are not even close. Law enforcement is notorious for ignoring maintenance on these devices, and some are so outdated that they frequently generate false positives. Your attorney can question the validity of the breathalyzer, ask for maintenance and service records proving it was not correctly calibrated, and you could have your case dismissed.
- Chain of Custody – If your blood was drawn, your attorney would ensure the chain of custody rules were followed. If, for any reason, the technician, lab, and even the person testing your blood failed to follow those rules, that evidence can be excluded, which means it cannot be used against you.
- Qualified Personnel – If the person administering the breathalyzer or blood test is not qualified to do so, then the evidence might not be admissible. Your attorney can question the validity of the results, especially if someone who is not certified by state laws is the person giving the test.
- Probable Cause and the Traffic Stop – Another defense tactic your attorney might use is looking at the reasons why you were stopped in the first place. Were you driving in and out of the lanes? Speeding? Was anything about your driving worthy enough for an officer to suspect you were under the influence and stop your car? Without probable cause, your attorney may be able to show that law enforcement had no reason to stop your vehicle; therefore, any evidence collected after that would make it part of an illegal search and arrest.
Bottom Line: Hire an Attorney If You Want to Avoid a DUI Conviction
The long-term consequences of a DUI conviction should be enough to make you want to avoid them. Not only could you have your driver’s license suspended for months or years (depending on if it is your first or subsequent DUI), but you could also go to jail, have a permanent criminal record, and you may pay thousands in fines.
An attorney can help reduce the chances of a conviction. If you are innocent, do not rely on the court to figure out that fact or believe that the system works for you. Instead, it would help if you had an advocate who is in your corner and working to protect your rights and preserve your future.
Instead, speak with an attorney immediately. Contact attorney, Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., now by calling us. If you have questions about DUI defense, you can also send a message by completing the online contact form.