Getting pulled over, being investigated and charged with a DUI can be a scary experience. Many people assume that they will automatically end up in jail, but the reality is judges have a lot of discretion about how they sentence a defendant. Furthermore, there is no reason to assume that a DUI charge will automatically result in a conviction in the first place.
At Invictus Law, our Virginia Beach DUI attorneys have helped countless men and women facing drunk driving charges. We understand that the steps you take today can have a dramatic effect on the ultimate disposition of your case. To begin, we highlight 5 ways you can strengthen your DUI defense.
Say as Little as Possible to the Police
From the moment you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror, you should assume you are a suspect. When the police approach the car and ask the driver where they are going and whether they have been drinking, the worst thing you could say is, “Well, officer, I just left the bar”. Be polite, calm and cooperative, but don’t provide the officer with everything they need for a conviction. Say as little as possible. If the officer asks you to take a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer, you can choose to comply or not.
Consider Entering a Treatment Program
A judge probably won’t throw the book at a first time offender. But judges are horrified by repeat offenders, and you need to do everything possible to show the judge you will not reoffend. For this reason, consider an alcohol treatment program. Successful completion will show the judge you are serious about getting an alcohol problem under control.
Avoid Committing Another Offense
You build up credibility for a judge by keeping your nose as clean as possible. This means not committing any other criminal offenses, no matter how minor. Something like disturbing the peace might seem insignificant, but a judge will be looking at your entire criminal history.
You also need to meet all family law obligations. Make timely child support and alimony payments. Doing so also builds credibility.
Document the Events Leading Up to Your Arrest
Although the state has the burden of proof in every case, your defense will be stronger if you can offer a credible explanation for why you were driving erratically. This means fully documenting any medical conditions you have, as well as the hours leading to your arrest.
For example, you might have been at a restaurant but not drinking. We will want to know the identities of the people who saw you there, who can serve as witnesses. If you paid for a meal, we could use the receipt to show you didn’t purchase alcohol.
Also write down your memories of the encounter with the officer. He or she might have admitted to lacking probable cause for stopping you in the first place.
Hire an Experience DUI Attorney
Only a lawyer understands the “ins and outs” of Virginia DUI law and can identify the best type of defense for your case. A lawyer can also more effectively negotiate with the prosecutor. When people represent themselves, they often become intimidated and don’t realize that a better plea deal is possible. They might also fail to recognize the real strength of their defense.
At our firm, we fully canvas the factual record and develop a defense rooted in it. We don’t use “off the rack” defense strategies, and we are not intimidated by the prosecutor. We realize that many cases are not as open and shut as the state likes to pretend.
Call Invictus Law
Before you agree to a guilty plea, meet with one of our attorneys. We can spring into action to defend you against a DUI charge. Call Invictus Law today or send an online message to schedule a consultation.