Lagniappe’

First and foremost, you must remember, TIME IS CRITICAL   In Missouri, you potentially have as little as fifteen 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 you bring the actual clothing and specifically 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 roadbed 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 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.

I’ve Been Arrested for DUI – Now What Do I Do?

I Have Been Arrested For DUI Now What Do I Do?

If you are reading this, you or someone you care about was probably, recently arrested for  DWI.  You may be angry and scared about the charges with which you are accused.  A DWI charge and arrest can be a serious, life-altering event. You may even be disappointed and upset with yourself over the way things turned out.  So odds are, based on my more than 20 years experience, the question you are asking yourself is the same as most of my clients:  NOW WHAT DO I DO?  In this and the next post I am going to do my best to answer that very question. 

If you are reading this within a few hours of your arrest consented to a chemical breath test, and you believe you were not intoxicated you should IMMEDIATELY, before you even finish this post, go to a local hospital and get a blood test done.  Otherwise, read on to:  1) see you are not as screwed as you probably think you are, and 2) What you can do to hire the best attorney for your case and help that Attorney defend you.

What should I do Checklist:

Don’t Wait:

After being arrested for a DWI, it is understandable to be angry, upset, scared, and even a bit confused.  Most people run the gamut of not only these emotions but also they are often embarrassed and would rather not deal have to deal with the situation so they chose to do nothing.  Some people have even gone so far as to wait until days before their first Court appearance or even after to contact an attorney hoping it will just go away because they do not want to be judged by their family, friends or co-workers and so end up doing nothing.  PLEASE do not do this.  The truth is a DWI  can and likely will become a nightmare if it is not addressed quickly.  For example, in Missouri, you have as little as 15 days to: contact and attorney and have that attorney file the proper paperwork or you will lose you ability to drive.  Now is NOT the time to hide your head in the sand.  No one knows the facts of your case better than you and while this post is intended to educate and help guid you, knowledge without action is meaningless. 

YOUR PROACTIVITY CAN:

DECREASE FEAR AND INCREASE THE

POSSIBILITY OF  A GOOD OUTCOME

Know These Facts:

  • Time can be your friend or your enemy depending on how you use it;
  • Many DWI cases can be mitigated if addressed promptly;
  • Failing to act in a timely manner (In Missouri as little as 15 DAYS) )will end in you losing your ability to drive for SIX MONTHS or more in such a way that no attorney can help you;
  • If you act quickly you can be back driving with NO interruption;

The WORST MISTAKE that most people make is waiting to hire an attorney because they do not want to spend the money or do not know where to begin (Please contact my office for my FREE REPORT: The True Cost of a DUI: If you think Hiring a Good Lawyer is Expensive Hire A Bad One). Under Missouri law, if you submitted to a chemical test, you have 15 days to contest the Suspension of your driving privileges.  In Missouri, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you have 30 days to contest the suspension of your driving privileges.  In Illinois, regardless of whether you submit or refuse you have 90 days to contest the suspension of your driving privileges.  However, your ability to drive will be suspended automatically in 45 days regardless unless you win the summary suspension hearing.  Fifteen, Thirty, Forty-Five, or Ninety days is NOT a lot of time to educate yourself, intact an attorney, prepare and gather information,  and act.  In short, the sooner you become proactive and act the better your chance at a favorable outcome.  

Should I Blow?

The question I get asked probably more than any other is “Should I Blow or not?”

My response to this question is why would any attorney who even slightly knows anything even consider answering this question at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning from someone calling from a police station? The answer. They would not.  Why you might ask? Simply, they don’t have enough information to provide an informed answer that would be of any help to the would be client.  Further, there is no real way to get the necessary information from the would be client who is sitting in the police station surround by those people seeking to assist a prosecutor in prosecuting him or her for DUI.   The flip off the cuff response that most might expect of hell no, those machines are never accurate or Sure if you haven’t been drinking are not only a disservice to the would be client but put the attorney at risk of being sued for malpractice for providing such information to a person who has neither paid his fee nor signed a contract?

Putting aside such the risk of being sued for malpractice by someone who you will likely not hear from again the wise attorney may answer the hypothetical question of whether any such person should blow into any breath machine being cognizant of that fact that to tell a person to do so is, in fact, telling them to break the law since the implied consent contracts of most states require acquiescence to such a test even though the very same contract provides a right to refuse said test. Whether someone should blow into one of these machines depends on a number of specific circumstances in every situation.  Have you had anything to drink? How much? How long ago? What did you drink? Have you had anything to eat? How long ago? All of these questions factor into the ultimate answer.  However, please understand if you refuse to take such a test it can be used against you as probable cause in determining whether you are intoxicated.  The reason for this is because the case law in most states that has that a person who is not guilty or not intoxicated would not refuse such a test if such a test would prove he was not intoxicated.  Further, your refusal could also be used by the officer as a means of getting a warrant to subject you to either a urine or blood test.

Getting back to the specifics of the question “Should You Blow”? Even the people in charge of Missouri‘s breath program think this program is deficient and biased in that approximately 30% of those with a positive result are, in truth, not intoxicated and are giving a false positive.  Both Missouri and Illinois are what are called “single test states”.  This means the officer only has to do one test as opposed to the more preferred two test States. Further both Missouri and Illinois use the AS-IV as one of their most commonly used evidentiary breath testing machines.  This machine does not even have a slope detector which is supposed to prevent mouth alcohol.  What this means is that things such as breath mints, chewing gum, tobacco, and snuff along with certain medical conditions such as Gerd or even food can elevate your breath alcohol result to that equivalent of alleged intoxication.  Additionally, while gross, if you have eaten all those food particles between your teeth, or dental appliances serve as tiny little sponges that soak up the alcohol, and then when you blow you blow that same alcohol right into the machine.  If you are going to consent which is the law under the implied consent contract I would suggest upon leaving you then go to the nearest hospital and have a blood alcohol test done at the hospital.  Lastly, to a good attorney, whether you blow or not is not going to make a difference as to whether they can help you.