If you've been charged with DUI, you might be facing hefty penalties, including the potential suspension or revocation of your license. Most people with a DUI charge would like to beat that charge, giving them a chance to move on and learn from their mistakes.
But is this possible, and if so, how can you do it?
The Short Answer: Yes
The short answer is yes, it's definitely possible to beat a DUI charge, though it isn't always probable, depending on the circumstances. There are too many variables to provide a straight and universal answer on this subject, as two people with similar charges could end up with very different results.
If you're trying to seek the best possible outcome, your best course of action is to:
· Remain silent. You need to avoid incriminating yourself, so take advantage of your right to remain silent. Any action you take or anything you say that worsens your position is going to make it much harder to beat your DUI charge.
· Hire a lawyer. Next, hire a DUI lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer will be with you every step of the way, ensuring that you’re processed according to the law and that your rights are being respected. Perhaps even more importantly, they understand the law inside and out and will be able to provide you with concrete advice for how to get the best results.
· Be patient. This is often a process that takes time, so it's important for you to remain patient.
When You’re Pulled Over
If you're pulled over under suspicion of DUI, taking these steps can maximize the chances of you beating the charge (or avoiding one in the first place).
· Pull over quickly and safely. Never flee from the police. Even if you've had a few drinks, it's important for you to pull over quickly and safely when you see flashing lights.
· Remain calm, cooperative, and polite. When talking to the police officer, remain calm, cooperative, and polite. If you're rude to the police officer or if you're combative, they'll be much more likely to treat you harshly or force you to take a test.
· Provide only the information that’s necessary. That said, only provide information that's truly necessary. You may be required to provide your name, address, and date of birth, and if you're driving, you'll likely be required to provide your license and registration. But you don't need to say anything about how many drinks you've had, where you've been, where you're going, or any other details related to your life and current circumstances. Again, it's important to remain silent whenever possible.
· Refuse field sobriety tests (generally). The police officer may ask you to engage in a field sobriety test, or take a handheld breathalyzer test. Though there are some exceptions to this rule, it's generally advisable to refuse these tests. In most areas, it's legal to refuse a field test, but be sure to consult with the laws in your area to verify this is the case. Also, if you're absolutely confident that you're completely sober, feel free to take the test.
· Be cooperative at the police station. If you refuse a field test, you'll likely be taken to the police station, where you'll be required to take a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Refusing a formal test is a crime in some areas and is associated with a civil penalty in other areas. Blood tests are fairly conclusive, while breathalyzer tests can be unreliable, so hope that you get a breathalyzer test.
· Record everything. If and when you get back from the police station, record everything you can remember. Document the number of drinks you had and when you had them, detail the events of your stop and arrest, and jot down everything you can remember about your interactions with police officers. This may be important later.
How to Beat a DUI Charge
You may be able to beat a DUI charge if you can do one or more of the following:
· Challenge the legality of a DUI checkpoint. At the federal level, DUI checkpoints are legal, but in some areas, they’re illegal, and in others, they must be administered in very specific ways to be legal. If you can prove that the DUI checkpoint where you were stopped was illegal, your charge will likely be thrown out.
· Challenge the reliability of the test you were administered. You can also challenge the reliability of the test you are administered, and in several different ways. For example, you can claim that the officer didn't administer the test in an appropriate way. Or you could challenge the technical performance or reliability of the test, such as demonstrating that breathalyzers often give false results.
· Demonstrate that a DUI test refusal charge was incorrect. If you refuse a test legally, but you were still charged with refusing a DUI test, you may have your charges thrown out as well.
· Cite a failure to read you your Miranda rights. In some cases, you can have your charges dropped if you weren't read your Miranda rights appropriately.
As long as you refuse tests when possible, remain silent aside from providing legally required information, and work with a lawyer throughout your case, you have a fighting chance of beating a DUI charge. It's not a guarantee, and every case is different, but the possibility is definitely there.