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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2010. Unfortunately, that astonishing figure represents just 1{a5d84926fd671c3e0a61b6c0849687f1cf3bcb456294ddf8b6a7b6d987a018f0} of the 112 million adults in the U.S. who self-report episodes of alcohol-impaired driving each year. Have you been a victim or a family member that needs legal assistance? We're here to help, we understand that the accident that occurred has brought inconvenience to you and your loved ones. Give us a call today and we will help guide you through all legal assistance needs. Below are the top legal DUI questions we get everyday and hopefully we can answer some of those you have. Call 1-844-557-2569 today for further legal assistance and questions.
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Top Asked Questions About DUI From A Legal Standpoint

1. What and when do cops look for when searching for potential drunk drivers on the streets?

While DUI arrest may occur at any time of day, the most frequent time for arrest for DUI happens at night and the weekends. Statistics show that an average person who drives under the influence has driven at least 80 times before getting their first arrest. Below is a list of common tell-tales symptoms that police officers look for when pulling a driver over. This list is based on a study research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA)

1. Turning a corner with a wide radius than normal.
2. Straying off from the center lane on and off.
3. Just "appearing" to be drunk is a dead giveaway.
4. Narrowly or almost hitting an object or vehicle.
5. Weaving in and out of their designated lane or traffic.
6. Driving on the opposite side of the incoming traffic.
7. Swerving recklessly.
8. Driving less than the 10mph limited posted.
9. Suddenly stopping without cause in traffic.
10. Following or tail-gating too closely of another vehicle.
11. Drifting from the lane.
12. Tires of the lane marker or center divider.
13. Unnecessary braking.
14. Driving on the opposite lane or opposing traffic.
15. Inconsistent signaling throughout the drive.
16. Slow reaction to traffic signals.
17. Abrupt stopping of vehicle.
18. Turning illegal or abruptly.
19. Deccelerating and accelerating rapidly.
20. The headlights is off.
21. Walking to their vehicle with lack of balance and direction.

Interestingly enough, excessive speeding has not been identified by NHTSA as a clear indicator of impairment. While there has been DUI related incidents with excessive speeding, it does not mean a majority of stops are of so. Most commonly, most polices will agree that a typical sober driver drives 10 miles over the posted speed limit which is frequent towards the end of the night where traffic is less congested.

2. If I am being stopped by police, the officer asks me if I've been drinking, what should I say or anyone for that matter?

Remember this, you are not required at all to answer "potentially" incriminating questions. Your response should be in a normal manner "I would like to speak with a lawyer before I answer any questions you may have for me" which is good enough. Also, saying that you've had one or two drinks/beers is not incriminating; basically it is not a sufficient cause to cause excessive intoxication -- but it may explain the smell of alcohol on the person's breath.

3. Do I have a right to a lawyer if I'm stopped by an police officer and asked to take a field sobriety test?

Generally no, unfortunately you don't have a right to counsel until you are formally placed under arrest. When this happens, most people under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence has already said and done too much for their own good. In frequent cases, the police officer has already made the decision to arrest you before asking you to perform any roadside tests. If he asks you to perform these tests, he's just attempting to gather more evidence to be used against you which are designed, and scored, to make the potential DUI driver fail the test. The most accepted course of action is to request an attorney immediately upon being pulled over. Once you asked for an attorney, ask the police officer to note the time of your request on his police report.

So what should you do when you get pulled over in any circumstances?

Produce the requested documents such as your driver's license, proof of insurance, and current registration and say and do nothing more.

4. What does the police officer look for during the initial detention at the scene?

1. A red or flushed face.
2. Watery, red, or glassy eyes.
3. Smell of alcohol on the person.
4. Fumbling of the wallet attempting to get the driver's license.
5. Asking to repeat or failure to understand the officer's request and questions.
6. Staggering when getting out of the vehicle.
7. Instability on the feet.
8. Leaning on the car to sustain support of oneself.
9. Being argumentative, combative, or having an inappropriate "attitude".
10. Clothing is all soiled, riffled, and/or disorderly.
11. Stumbling while moving/walking.
12. Having a disorientation on current place and time.
13. Cannot or do not have the ability to follow simple instructions or not having an "undivided" attention.

5. Alright, what happens if I'm asked to take a sobriety test and what should I do?

Today there is a wide range of field sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystgamus (eye twitch) test; the one leg stand; the walk-and-turn; heel-to-toe, finger-to-nose, alphabet reciting, modified position of attention, fingers-to-thumb, hand pat, etc. Most police officers will use a set of 3 to 6 tests when there's a suspicion of alcohol involved. Compared to chemical tests, where refusing to submit may have serious consequences, you are not legally requied to take any field sobriety tests. In a typical real world case scenario, when the officers are asking you to take any tests to determine excessive alcohol consumptions, more and likely the police officer has already pre-determined before requesting further tests. If you are in this position and have a generally good idea you're more and likely to fail, politely refusing may be appropriate.

6. Why do police officers make me follow a penlight with my eyes from left to right?

What the police officer is doing is called the "horizontal gaze nystagmus" test. How does it work you say? Basically the police officer attempts to estimate the angle at which the your eye begins to jerk, if this happens sooner than 45 degrees, it is theoretically indicating an excessive blood-alcohol concentration. The person's smoothness of eye tracking the penlight, pencil, or even finger is also an important factor, as is the jerking when the eye is far to the side it can possibly go.

Unlike most sobriety tests that can be performed, the "horizontal pen test" is not the most reliable and has been widely been not accepted in the medical community. The test has been a constant subject to a number of different issues, not the least of which is that more and likely the officer is not a medically trained officer to physically determines and diagnose a neurological condition, recognize nystagmus and estimate the angle of offset without the support of a consistent and accurate measuring device. Determined by which state the tests are done, if you live in Conneticut, the test has been ruled inadmissable in court. Please check with your local state laws for guidance.

7. Should I agree to take a chemical test? What happens if I decline?

If you ever agree to take a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test, and you are not a repeat offender, you would run into the risk of having your driver's license suspended or restricted for a minimum of ninety days. However, if you refuse a BAC test, your license may be suspended for a minimum of six months. Surprisingly, this is true even though if you were not found guilty of a DUI charge. The mere fact of refusal can be an introduced as evidence against you as a "consciousness of guilt." Of course, the typical defense is free to offer other reasons for the refusal to take the BAC test. The decision is of weighing the high probability of a high blood-alcohol reading against the administrative consequences for refusing. Nonetheless, by refusing a BAC test, especially when you have a very high probability of going over the legal alcohol limit, you deprive the state of potentially having the compelling evidence against you.


8. Do I have a choice of chemical tests to be performed? Which should I choose?

Generally, you must submit to the form of test chosen by the police officer, which are likely to be breath, blood, or urine. While a blood sample for tests are considered to be the most accurate, the breathalizer are susceptible to a number of issues on accuracy rendering in some cases unreliable. The least accuracy by far is the urine test, if you are offered a choice among the 3 tests and you are very confident that you are sober, a blood sample test would be the better choice. Urine, being the least accurate is the best choice if you believe your BAC or blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit.

9. Okay, the police officer never gave me my Mieranda warning, can i get my case dismissed?

Unfortunately not, the police officer is supposed to give Miranda warning after he detains you. From a practical standpoint, the police officer will delay the arrest just long enough to allow you to make incriminating evidence against you. The only real consequence of a Miranda violation is that the prosecution may not even use any of your answers to questions asked by the officer after detainment. Even the likelyhood this limitation has been eroded because statements made in violation of Miranda can be used against you if you testify in your own behalf at trial. To emphasize again, the best course of action is to say nothing regardless of whether or not you have beenformally placed under arrest.

10. Why am I being charged with two crimes?

Under normal and traditional offense, "driving under the influence of alcohol" (DUI) or, in some states, "driving while intoxicated" (DWI). In recent years, however, 43 states have also enacted a second, so-called "per se" offense: driving with an excessive blood-alcohol (.10{a5d84926fd671c3e0a61b6c0849687f1cf3bcb456294ddf8b6a7b6d987a018f0}). In these states, both offenses are charged. The defendant can actually be convicted of both, but only can be punished for one. If the case involves the refusal to submit a chemical test such as blood, urine, or breathe test, of course, only the traditional offense can be charged.

11. The police officer took my license and served me with a notice of suspension after the breath test. How can he do that if I'm presumed innocent, what gives?

Yes it is unfair, but depending on your states such as Connecticut for example, "Implied Consent/Admin Per Se" statute provides for immediate suspension and confiscation of the driver's license if the breat test results is above the legal limit allowed. It is critical to understand that a DUI should involve two independent and unrelated proceedings: Criminal proceedings on the DUI charge(s) and an administrative proceeding before the Department Motor of Vehicles (DMV) against your driving privileges. From that point, it is very critical that you and/or your attorney to request a DMV hearing within seven days of your arrest. The effect of such a request is to "stay," or postpone your administrative suspension until the matter can be heard by an Administrative Hearing Officer.

12. Am I allowed to represent myself? What can an attorney do for me?

Yes, you can represent yourself -- although unless you have some experience with criminal law it's necessarily not a good idea. "Drunk driving" is a pretty complex field with increasingly harsh consequences. There is a ton of complicated scientific, procedural, evidentiary, constitutional, sentencing and administrative license issues.

Okay, but what can a lawyer do? Nothing (or worse) if he's not qualified in this highly specialized field -- no more than a family pediatrician could help with a heart surgery. A qualified lawywer, however, can review your case for defects, move to suppress evidence, compel discovery of such things as caliibration and maintenance records for the breath machine, have blood samples outsourced and independently verified and analyzed, negotiate for a lesser charge or reduced sentence, obtain expert witnesses for trial, contest the administrative license suspension, etc.

13. How can I find a qualified drunk driving attorney?

One of the best ways to find a good DUI/DWI attorney is by reputation. There are a few attorneys who has nationwide reputations; these, of course, can be very expensive. Thus, the best approach is to ask other lawyers in the same field or jurisdiction. Who is the best in your local area? If you do not know any lawyers, you can always ask your family, friends, and even co-workers for referrals. If you still can't find a suitable lawyer recommendation, you can go to your local courthouse and ask people like the bailiffs, clerks, and public defenders: Who would THEY go to if they were arrested for drunk driving?

Another great indication of quality and experience is membership in the National College for DUI/DWI Defense.

When you meet with the attorney, make sure of three things:

1. The attorney has extensive experience in DUI/DWI litigation.
2. The attorney has a reputation for going to trial in appropriate cases, rather than just "pleading out" their clients.
3. The attorney's financial terms of representation are clear and documented.

Alternatively, some DUI arrestees consider hiring an ex-prosecutor, an ex-cop to represent them. Many attorneys start off their legal careers working for government to gain experience. To those who stay with a prosecutorial agency for more that a year or two most often do so because they believe they cannot succeed in the competitive world of private practice. You must ask yourself, "Why did this person initially seek to put people like me behind bars?" Some lawyers make the ex-cop or ex-prosecutor angle a major selling point in their marketing efforts. If prior governmental service appears to be the attorney's number one claim to fame, consider your selection very wisely.

14. How much money will it cost me to get a DUI/DWI attorney?

The cost will varie of course, by the reputation and experience of the lawyer and by the location of where you live. As with doctors, generally, the more skilled the lawyer and the larger the city, the higher the fees. A related factor is the amount of time an attorney devotes to his cases: the better lawyers always takes fewer clients, spending more hours on each. The range of fee is substantially massive, a general practitioner in a small community may charge only $750.00; a DUI practitioner with a national reputation may charge up to $10,000.00 or more, depending on the facts. In addition, the fee may vary by such other factors as:

1. Is the offense a misdemeanor or felony?
2. If prior convictions are alleged, the procedures for attacking them may add more to the cost.
3. The fee may or may not include trial or appeals if required.
4. Administrative license suspension procedures may have extra costs.
5. The attorney may charge a fixed fee, or he may ask for a retainer (payment in advance) to applied against hourly charges.
6. Costs such as witness fees, service of subpoenas, independent blood analysis, etc., may cost extra.

Whatever the fee quoted, you should always ask for a written agreement and make sure you clearly understand all the terms of the contract.

15. What is the punishment for drunk driving?

Consequently, an arrest for DUI may result in a DUI Education Program without a conviction, or a conviction as a first offender requiring a minimum of 2 days in jail or 100 hours of community services and probation for 1 year. I could also mandate a suspension of your driving privilege for a substantial period of time. Possibly, if they are eligible, to obtain a work license (you should consult a trained DUI attorney).

16. What is a sentence "enhancement"?

Like most states, sentence "enhancment" increases the punishment in drunk driving cases if certain factors or parameter facts exist. The most common of these earlier conviction for the sameor smiliar offense -- usually within 10 years of the current offense. Other commonly encountered enhancments which must usually be alleged in the complaint includes the blood-alcohol concentration that was over .16{a5d84926fd671c3e0a61b6c0849687f1cf3bcb456294ddf8b6a7b6d987a018f0}. In most states, courts have held that an vehicle is a dangerous instrumentality. It is not uncommon for the state to charge an manslaughter or assault when a DUI/DWI involves an injury and/or accident.

17. What is a "Rising BAC Defense"?

While it's a violation in most state's law to have a prohibited BAC, it is also a defense to that charge if an accused can come forth with evidence that his BAC was under. 10{a5d84926fd671c3e0a61b6c0849687f1cf3bcb456294ddf8b6a7b6d987a018f0} at the time of driving. This is one of the reasons an expert witness is very important in the defense of a DUI charge. Although it takes between 45 mins and 3 hours for alcohol to be absorbed into the system, an individual's BAC may continue to rise for some time after he is stopped and arrested. The effect of affirmative defense is to make the state prove beyond the reasonable doubt that the person's BAC at the time of driving rather than at the time of testing sometimes later.

As an example, assume that it takes 1 hour or more after the stop when the blood, urine, or breath test is given to the suspect. Assume further that the result is .12{a5d84926fd671c3e0a61b6c0849687f1cf3bcb456294ddf8b6a7b6d987a018f0}. If the suspect has continued to absorb more alcohol since he was stopped, his BAC at the time of driving may be only .08{a5d84926fd671c3e0a61b6c0849687f1cf3bcb456294ddf8b6a7b6d987a018f0}. In other words, the test results given shows a blood-alcohol concenetration above the legal limit -- but his actual BAC AT THE TIME OF DRIVING was below the legal limit. Establishing this defense almost invariably will require an expert witness to be present. The cost of testifying dfense experts run between $450.00 and upwards to $2000.00 per day.

18. What is "Mouth Alcohol"?

Mouth alcohol is a factor that can throw off a breath test (Breathalyzer). It happens when a small amount of alcohol remains in the mouth or throat, contaminating your breath as you blow into the device. It gives a falsely high BAC (blood alcohol concentration) reading, and can send innocent people to jail for DUI.

19. What defense are there in a DUI case?

There are several potential defenses in a given drunk driving case are almost limitless due to the complexities of the offense. Generally speaking, however, the majority can be broken down into the following areas:

1. Lack of Driving or Actual Physical Control. Intoxication is not enough: the prosecution must also prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a BAC of .10 or more. This indeed may be difficult if, as in the case of auto accidents, there are no witnesses to his or her being the driver of the vehicle.

2. Lack of Reasonable or Articulable Suspicion to Stop or Probably Cause to Arrest. Evidence will be suppressed if the police officer did not have a legal cause to (a) stop, (b) detain, and (c) arrest. Sobriety roadblocks present particularly complex issues.

3. Miranda. Incriminating statements maybe suppressed if warnings were not given at the appropriate time of stop.

4. Deficient "Implied Consent" warnings. If the officer did not advise you of the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test, or gave the prescribed instructions incorrectly, this may affect admissibility of the test results -- as well as the license suspension imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

5. Subjective Nature of the Offense/Erroneous Nature of the Evidence. Most crimes involve tangible evidence -- a quantity of illegal drugs, a body, a gun, a knife, etc. An alleged violation of 14-227a Operating under the Influence relies almost exclusively on the subjective and unverifiable impressions of the arresting officer. The officer's observations and opinions as to impairment can be questioned. The circumstances and procedures of the Field Sobriety Tests can also be called into question. The strong tendency of the police officer to reinforce his arrest decision with "facts" conveniently corroborative of that decision can be attacked. Also, DUI arrests translate to thousands of overtime dollars for the involved officers. This fact is relevant to a motive on the part of the officer to err on the side of arrest in close cases and should be brought to the jury’s attention. Furthermore, an alleged violation of 14 227a, having an unlawful BAC, will also rely on test results that are highly questionable. A breath test has one compelling -- and erroneous -- assumption: That all test subjects are "average."

6. Regulation of blood-alcohol testing. The prosecution must prove that the breat, blood, or urine test complied with state requirements as to calibration, maintenance, etc., and was in proper operating condition at the time of the test. Through theproper use of discovery, the defense can often unearth "foundational" deficiencies with respect to the state's chemical evidence. What doesn't get into evidence cannot hurt you at the trial.

7. License suspension hearings. A number of issues can be raised in the context of an administrative hearing before the state's department of motor vehicles. Most importantly, given the limitations imposed on a defendant’s right to engage in pre-trial discovery, the D.M.V. hearing is an excellent discovery tool and allows the defendant an opportunity to commit state witnesses to a "story" under oath. The DMV Hearing is a civil rather than a criminal proceeding.

20. As a DUI attorney, what would YOU do if you were stopped for DUI?

Immediately request an attorney -- Ask the police officer to note the time of my request. REFUSE to answer ANY questions other than my name and address. Produce the requested documents, be polite even if the officer isn't. Refuse ALL field sobriety tests. Refuse any breath, blood, or urine test unless I'm for certain that I'm under the legal limit allowed.

Got more DUI questions? Want to talk to a lawyer? Call us today for FREE legal consultation at 1-844-557-2569

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