In some of my next posts, I will discuss preparation for your meeting with any prospective attorney. First and foremost, you must remember, TIME IS CRITICAL. In Missouri, you potentially have as little as 15 days to request an administrative hearing if you took the chemical test or 30 days to file a petition for review if they refused a chemical test.
Generally, DUI attorneys need their clients to take the necessary action to preserve evidence even before they meet with the attorney. Remember, sometimes, the case is won on the minutia. A good attorney will request you gather “evidence” from the date of the occurrence that is in your possession like receipts for dinner and drinks, cell phone numbers or messages received or left on cell or other phones. Also, the attorney will likely request that you bring the actual clothing and specifically the shoes you wore. Even if you threw away a receipt from a restaurant or bar, a quick trip back to the scene could be helpful if a copy was saved by the establishment. Also, a quick trip to the places you went that day to see if they remember you would be very helpful. The bartender or waitress will likely not remember you or what you had to eat or drink six months or more down the road, but the attorney can have an investigator take a recorded statement.
The attorney will ask you for basic information such as some details on where the stop occurred, where standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) were performed, and where the investigation took place. Photographs or video of these areas can prove invaluable to your case.
Additionally, valuable evidence in the form of video surveillance can disappear quickly, and an effort may need to be launched even before the client sets foot in the attorney’s office. Some jurisdictions tape over video surveillance after a few days, while others keep surveillance on tapes longer than 45 days. Assume nothing; verify everything!
Other items you should gather that are relevant to the arrest include but are not limited to evidence of receipts for drinks, food, fuel, events, etc. (e.g., bar/restaurant receipts, ATM receipts, debit receipts); a list of people who may have seen or been with you on the day you were arrested; a list of your previous doctors, a list of prescriptions and OTC drugs you take on a regular on a regular basis; photographs of the place you were arrested taken from all angles (360 degrees and distances) like scene of arrest conditions, the condition of the vehicle driven, skid marks, muddy conditions; shoes and clothes worn on the day of arrest; and a brief history of what went on, starting chronologically with everything that happened to you from 24 hours before your arrest and including sleep patterns and hours until after you were released.
Understand: NO ONE KNOWS YOUR CASE BETTER THAN YOU. Therefore, what you do is critical to the success of your case.