DUI Mistakes in Los Angeles
Avoid Costly Errors & Consult with an Experienced DUI Lawyer
Many people aren’t familiar with the DUI process. That’s why so many defendants unknowingly make serious mistakes that affect the outcome of their DUI case and livelihood as a result. As unfortunate as it sounds, one wrong action can impact the course of your DUI charge and ultimately hurt your ability to successfully overcome your accusations.
It is in your best interests to protect yourself from making your situation worse and learn about the top 10 mistakes people make. Questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out at (323) 395-5221 to speak with a proven Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer today! Se habla español.
Top 10 DUI Mistakes
If you’re facing trouble with the law or find yourself in a messy encounter with law enforcement after getting pulled over, it is essential to be aware of common DUI mistakes to best prevent escalating your situation.
Assuming the Case Can’t be Won
There are hundreds of mistakes that an officer could make during a DUI arrest, and an experienced lawyer can identify and utilize them in favor of your case.
Research the lawyer’s qualifications and ask questions relative to their training experience with DUI cases. A DUI charge impacts your entire life, not just your driving record, therefore you should take your case seriously and hire an adequate attorney who will fight to clear your name.
Assuming All Breath Test Procedures Were Followed Correctly
There are rules and regulations for administering a breath test. A common mistake is to assume that an officer correctly followed all breath test procedures. Something as simple as not changing the mouthpiece on the machinery before issuing the test, not logging the breath test results or calibrating a machine too frequently could benefit your case.
Make sure your lawyer gathers all the necessary documents including logs, maintenance reports, the operator’s certifications, and the arrest and complaint reports. Remember, the government has to prove that you were driving under the influence without a shadow of a doubt! There is too much at stake to be negligent in gathering the required information for your defense.
Failing to Request a Preliminary Hearing
If you fail to request a preliminary hearing, you are basically admitting guilt before your case moves to trial. Thus, you should contest the charges, cross-examine the police officer and establish early on that you are innocent of your DUI charges and you will do everything in your power to clear your name.
The preliminary hearing is an outstanding way to gain knowledge on your case and gives your lawyer time to gather evidence, re-test existing evidence and develop a defense on your behalf.
Not Studying the Scene
Make sure that your attorney is familiar with the area in which your traffic stop was conducted. They may discover that the terrain made it difficult to complete the field sobriety test or even contributing to swerving. Your lawyer should gather evidence in the form of photographs and videos.
For example, an officer might accuse you of weaving in and out of the lane on multiple occasions, but in reality, there was not enough space to swerve without hitting a guard rail. Examining the scene helps your attorney gather the information necessary to confidentially question the officer who arrested you.
Assuming the Roadside Tests Were Properly Administered
Hiring a lawyer who isn’t familiar with the phases of DUI detection as it is taught to police through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) is never a good idea.
Between the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and the administration of a preliminary breath test (PBT) device, the arresting officer almost always fails to objectively score your results at some point during the arrest. Due to human interaction, the arresting officer oftentimes subjectively scores the Field Sobriety Tests and may not be certified to administer such tests in the first place.
Thus, you should hire an attorney who is familiar with all the necessary protocols in a DUI arrest in order to optimize your chances to come out on top.
Failing to File a Pre-trial Motion
A pre-trial motion should be filed and argued in nearly every DUI case, especially if no preliminary hearing was held. As mentioned earlier, a preliminary hearing should be held as well. Even if the preliminary hearing and pre-trial motion are seemingly unsuccessful, they play a major role in developing a case against the arresting officer because they demonstrate that you further questioned the officer.
This may result in the office getting caught misremembering the specific details of your traffic stop.
Calling the Officer a Liar
Rather than calling the arresting officer a liar, a skilled lawyer will argue that so many details are involved in a DUI traffic stop that the officer may present the wrong information. This doesn’t mean you are prosecuting the officer for lying, but rather presenting the idea that the officer may have misremembered the case due to the high number of arrests they made on that day, faulty evidence or improper following of procedures.
Going Under Oath to Represent Yourself
It is never a good idea to testify on your behalf when you are the defendant. Although you are innocent until proven guilty, the fact that an officer has condemned you means that you must be knowledgeable about the laws to successfully argue that you were wrongly accused of DUI. Since you likely don’t obtain significant DUI knowledge and considering that the average person looks extremely nervous when on a stand, it’s in your best interests to leave the talking to a trained attorney.
Furthermore, the goal of fighting a DUI charge is to prove that the prosecution isn’t strong enough to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt. When you take the stand, the focus shifts from the prosecution proving that you’re guilty with no reasonable doubt to establishing whether you’re honest and trustworthy.
Not Knowing the Consequences of a Guilty Plea or Conviction
Far too many people admit their guilt in a DUI case because they feel like they cannot beat the system or that it will be too expensive to fight, or that a DUI charge isn’t a big deal.
You must know that if you plead guilty, you will suffer fines and/or jail time, increased insurance rates, the inability to rent a car, DUI and Alcohol Anonymous classes and a blemished driving record that will follow you for ten years. Know your rights, the consequences of admitting guilt, and the possible defenses in your DUI case. It’s best to equip yourself with the most adequate lawyer available in the area in which the alleged DUI offense occurred.
Failing to Consult with a Specialist
The intricacies of DUI law make it impossible for the average citizen to represent themselves. Just as you would consult a doctor for advice and treatment when you get sick, you should consult a qualified DUI attorney to begin your DUI defense.
Lawyers devote their lives to learning the ins and outs of DUI law, and these laws constantly change with new technology being introduced, revisions to existing laws and increasingly stringent procedures put in place. Leave it to the professionals to fight for your freedom.
You deserve a seasoned advocate to fight your DUI charges and negotiate for the best possible outcome on your behalf. Don’t underestimate the consequences and long-term impacts of a DUI accusation; consider the 10 points above to understand what to avoid.
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