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If you know nothing else about the law, you should know that an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This means that simply being arrested does not mean that you will be charged with a crime. Furthermore, being taken into custody is nowhere close to the standard of proving guilt. In the event that you are taken into custody, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Say Nothing to the Police
You are under no obligation to say anything to the police before, during or after you are taken into custody. If you do speak, whatever you say could be used against you in a court of law. It could also be used to weaken whatever leverage you may have had to get the charges dropped or to negotiate a plea bargain. In many cases, people put themselves into a vulnerable position by admitting that they drank before driving or were otherwise under the influence while driving.
Ask for Bail
Typically, you will be eligible for bail after being charged with a DUI. This means that you can go home and otherwise live your life while the charges against you are pending. The only reason that you may be denied bail is if you have multiple DUIs on your record or if you hurt or killed someone while driving drunk. In the event that you are denied bail, your attorney may be able to present evidence that you should be released pending trial.
Charges May Be Dropped Before Trial
If you are charged with a DUI, that is no guarantee that the charge won’t be dropped or reduced. At some point, the authorities may decide that there isn’t enough evidence to get a conviction. It is also possible that you will take a plea deal that reduces the charges to reckless driving or something similar. While anyone is eligible for a plea deal, they tend to be offered to those who committed misdemeanor offenses or who are first-time offenders.
You Could Be Acquitted at Trial
Your attorney will review the evidence against you and try to create a defense against the DUI charge. For instance, your attorney may argue that the police had no right to commit a traffic stop before you were charged. This may be because you were stopped at an illegal checkpoint or because there was no other probable cause to stop your vehicle.
It may also be possible to argue that evidence collected prior to charging you was collected illegally or improperly. For example, a breath test may not have been done properly or a blood sample may have been collected hours after you were stopped. This could call the accuracy of that evidence into question. If it causes enough doubt, a judge or jury would likely have to find in your favor.
Finally, it is possible that the officer who took you into custody is unable to testify at your trial. This may also work to call into question exactly what happened when you were pulled over and eventually taken into custody. If the officer does testify, your attorney may be able to point out differences between what he or she put in a police report and what he or she is testifying to at trial.
Your Sentence May Be Suspended
In some cases, you may receive a suspended sentence in lieu of going to jail or spending time on probation. If you stay out of trouble during the length of your suspended sentence, the charge may be dropped. At the very least, you won’t face any additional consequences. This may be an ideal situation because you may be able to keep your drivers license and avoid having to reveal the charge during interviews or other background checks.
A DUI charge may bring serious consequences that may take months or years to fully recover from. However, your attorney will do everything possible to make sure that you get a favorable outcome in your case. This may mean that you don’t have to pay a fine, spend time in jail or lose your license either on a temporary or permanent basis. Having access to your license may also mean that you don’t risk losing your job or ability to be a parent to your children.