If you’ve been charged with a DUI/DWI/OWI, it’s easy to make mistakes or assume the police have more power than they do. No matter the circumstances, there are certain rights you have that can help your DUI defense lawyer win your case. There are also mistakes you can make that may hurt or downright doom your case too.
Today, we’re going to highlight some of the best ways to give you and your lawyer a fighting chance if you’ve been arrested. Whether the charges against you are fair or not, knowing your rights and the best way forward is never a bad idea.
If arrested and detained, you should request a lawyer and otherwise remain silent. At this point, there is zero reason to give police information unless a lawyer advises you to do so. (You may also ask if you’re permitted to leave; if you are, you are not under arrest and should leave immediately.)
Silence may make officers suspicious of you but it won’t help their case. Your “right to remain silent” is a legitimate right and protected by the law. It is also almost always the correct legal move to use this right when you do not have an attorney serving you nearby.
Notably, your guilt in this case is also irrelevant. An arrest means the police have decided to charge you and there is almost nothing you can do to change that fact. All that matters now is giving your lawyer the best chance possible of winning your court case; that is where your guilt is decided, not the police station.
What Happens Next?
The legal process can be intimidating, but the police cannot hold you forever. Remain calm and, as we said, silent unless asking for or speaking to your lawyer.
A first-time DUI arrest typically results in a bail of between 500-1000 dollars. However, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI in the past (or this incident was particularly serious), it can be upwards of 10,000 dollars or more. If you cannot post bail, you will have to stay in the county jail until your court appearance (but are not considered guilty of a crime, nor should talk to the authorities except when necessary).
You will want to talk with your lawyer about your case, whether you’ve posted bail or are being held in the county jail. They will help you understand your options, the upcoming process, and what your chances of conviction are. (While it will be less convenient a process and more scheduled, time must be provided to you while in jail to talk to a lawyer.)
Understand that your lawyer is your friend. Trust their advice and be honest with them. Attorney-client privilege prevents them from sharing anything you tell them in private; they only want to help you win your case.
Remember, Police Are Not Your Friends
DWI cases may sometimes seem simple but still require the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you committed a crime. An arrest is a sign the police believe they have a case but it does not mean a guilty verdict is guaranteed.
Perhaps the biggest mistake DUI defense attorneys see is people allowing police to control the conversation. They may even act friendly or reassuring. This is always a ruse to get valuable information from you for their case (and, remember, they have already assumed you’re guilty).
For all its issues, our legal system puts the burden on the prosecution to prove you’ve committed a crime. This is why “remain silent” has been such a refrain in this article. Your attorney can build a much better case if you offer the police nothing but respectful compliance where necessary and nothing when legally permitted.
Need a DUI Defense Lawyer?
If you need a DUI defense lawyer, we hope you’ll consider James Fletcher Law for your case. Our team consists of experts on such cases, with good track records and years of experience behind them.
Contact us for an honest discussion about your cases, the likely outcome, and what we can do to help.