While DUI is a severe problem affecting everyone on the roadways, sometimes well-intentioned people suffer a lapse of judgment. If you are one of those people who’s been arrested for DUI and need to know how to get off DUI, there is some necessary information you should know to help you navigate the court system and increase the chance that you will get off DUI successfully.
First, and most importantly, representation by a competent DUI attorney is essential. The system can easily take advantage of those charged with DUI who do not have competent legal representation. Because DUI laws can vary quite a bit from state to state, your best option is to find an attorney specializing in DUI in your jurisdiction. He or she will know the court rules governing DUI in your state, which judges tend to have high conviction rates, what specific strategies can minimize your chances of conviction based on your particular circumstances.
If you had been drinking but didn’t believe you were significantly impaired at the time of your arrest, witnesses’ testimony at the scene can be crucial. Even if a breathalyzer test indicated a reading over the legal alcohol limit, realize that breathalyzer tests can result in reading higher than actual blood alcohol level in about 1 out of every 4 cases. If you talk to anyone on the phone after you have been arrested, they are also likely to observe your speaking style and overall damage level.
Another strategy for getting off DUI is to call test results into question. Neither breathalyzer nor urine test results is very reliable. They can give readings either far above or below the actual blood alcohol level. Make sure your attorney is aware of what type of chemical alcohol testing you took so that he or she can research case law to try to get the court to disregard the results of these unreliable tests. This is especially effective if other measures indicated that you were not significantly impaired.
Remember that the entire arrest and booking process for a DUI is sometimes recorded on videotape. If you believe that this video will show that you were not significantly impaired, your attorney may want to present this as evidence in court. Otherwise, it’s best to try to eliminate it from the evidence that the jury will see. In all of your dealings with law enforcement, try to be as polite and cooperative as possible since this will also influence the jury’s attitude toward you.
If you have prior DUI convictions, it will be far more challenging to get off DUI. The court will take into account your previous record in deciding whether or not to charge you with a misdemeanour or a felony, and will also use prior DUI convictions as a sentencing guideline.
If you’re a first time DUI offender with no other criminal record, you might make a case for a suspended sentence or probation. In many states, the minimum penalty for a first time DUI offender is 1-2 days in jail, 3-4 months driver’s license suspension, mandatory fines, an alcohol evaluation and treatment.
The best way to answer how to get off a DUI is to avoid drinking and driving. But, if you’ve already been arrested, that advice won’t help you after the fact. The single most important thing you can do to get off DUI is to hire a good DUI attorney.