A DUI Arrest Does Not Mean You Are Guilty

November 15, 2010

Contrary to popular opinion, police officers make mistakes. Moreover, the hyper-technical laws surrounding the regulation of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) are rife with ambiguities, and these laws are anything but straightforward. Consequently, unless you are an attorney who specializes in defending those accused of DUI, you are probably not qualified to judge whether you have one or more defenses to the charges.

You owe it to yourself to become educated about what to expect and, just as importantly, what to do about it. Much depends on whether you are actually convicted of drunk driving, as opposed to just arrested. In other words, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Not only could you suffer a criminal conviction, a jail sentence, a hefty fine, a lengthy DUI education course and up to five years of probation; you would also have to contend with the associated insurance premium hikes. A typical DUI arrest results in two legal proceedings: One against the person (aka “the criminal case”) and one against the person’s privilege to drive in the state of California. There are many defenses to both of these legal proceedings, and surprisingly few of those address the basic question of “how drunk were you?”.

Contrary to popular opinion, police officers make mistakes. Moreover, the hyper-technical laws surrounding the regulation of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) are rife with ambiguities, and these laws are anything but straightforward. Consequently, unless you are an attorney who specializes in defending those accused of DUI, you are probably not qualified to judge whether you have one or more defenses to the charges.

You owe it to yourself to become educated about what to expect and, just as importantly, what to do about it. Much depends on whether you are actually convicted of drunk driving, as opposed to just arrested. In other words, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Not only could you suffer a criminal conviction, a jail sentence, a hefty fine, a lengthy DUI education course and up to five years of probation; you would also have to contend with the associated insurance premium hikes. A typical DUI arrest results in two legal proceedings: One against the person (aka “the criminal case”) and one against the person’s privilege to drive in the state of California. There are many defenses to both of these legal proceedings, and surprisingly few of those address the basic question of “how drunk were you?”.

Many traffic stops are illegal

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution was intended by our Founding Fathers, and those who enacted the Bill of Rights, to prevent the United States of America from becoming a police state. Many people think that police states are something that happen only in the movies, futuristic novels, or in other countries. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Almost any society can become a police state overnight and, arguably, the United States already has. Nevertheless, here there are mechanisms available to anyone accused of crime to ensure that their fundamental rights to privacy, against warrantless search and seizure, to counsel and against self-incrimination have been honored. However, it is not enough in most cases to simply claim that your rights have been violated or denied. Vindicating these rights requires a skillful attorney and the right facts. If a traffic stop was not based upon a warrant or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the entire case must be thrown out. To find out whether your case involved an illegal traffic stop, you should speak with an attorney who specializes in DUI defense right away.