No one ever sets out with the intention of getting a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Unfortunately, this still happens several thousands of times throughout America each day. Many people opt to simply plead guilty or “no contest” to a DUI charge in court because they believe their breathalyzer results have pretty much already convicted them. This is actually a huge mistake. Prosecutors may make threats if a person chooses to plead not guilty, but they should always initially do so. This will give the defendant a real chance of experiencing the several benefits of having a DUI attorney.
License Suspension Issues
Most areas will immediately suspend a person’s license upon a DUI arrest. It’s important to realize that this is an administrative suspension from the state’s department of driver services; not one from the legal system. Most places have a ten day appeal window in which a person can contest their suspension by filing for an administrative hearing. Since this hearing isn’t contingent on the outcome of the criminal case, an attorney such as Jack Diamond Law can sometimes stop a license suspension even if a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to the DUI.
False Breathalyzer Results
As already mentioned, many people think a failed breathalyzer test is an automatic conviction, but DUI attorneys realize that there are several instances when these devices can return false positives. One of the biggest issues occurs when the device isn’t properly calibrated. Just recently in Pennsylvania, in fact, uncalibrated devices led to thousands of DUI cases and convictions being questioned and reexamined.
In addition to faulty devices, certain things related to the driver can cause false positives as well. People with diabetes or who are on certain diets, for instance, have higher levels of acetone in their bodies. This chemical can be misread as alcohol and lead to false convictions. Additionally, simply burping after having a small amount of alcohol can cause air from the stomach to venture back to a person’s mouth, and this can lead to excessively high breath readings.
Field Sobriety Test Questions
There is a very specific way that field sobriety tests are supposed to be administered. In fact, there are actually only three field sobriety tests that are approved for use by police. We all have seen television shows where police ask a suspect to recite their alphabet, but in actuality, this test hasn’t been proven to show intoxication.
Legal professionals know all about these tests and how they’re supposed to be administered, and if they’re not given correctly, then their results could be invalid. This will give an attorney a powerful tool in getting rid of the charge against their client.
Consequences of a Conviction
An obvious reason for getting an attorney is to avoid the consequences of conviction. A DUI conviction can lead to license suspension, fines, community service, jail time, DUI classes and the installation of ignition interlock devices. Amazingly enough, these are only the legal consequences.
Those convicted of DUI also often have difficulty securing work. While most job applications say “a prior conviction will not disqualify you from employment,” it’s quite easy to figure out who a company will choose when faced with equally qualified candidates whose only difference between them is a DUI conviction. Additionally, certain colleges may see this as an ethical violation and thus prevent acceptance to a good college.
It’s a very disheartening experience to be charged with a DUI, and for many people, just experiencing it once is enough to ensure that they’ll never make the mistake again. Unfortunately, even with this lesson learned, many people live with the repercussions of a conviction for the rest of their lives. Luckily, as can be seen from the many benefits of hiring an attorney, these consequences aren’t a foregone conclusion. Having legal representation is vital for any type of criminal charge, and that includes DUI.
Valerie Stout Cyrus submits this article on behalf of individuals facing DUI charges for the first time. The Jack Diamond Law Firm has over 14 years of experience throughout the Massachusetts area defending clients against criminal and DUI charges. Jack Diamond is very knowledgeable about the legal matters that are particular to defending clients against DUIs.