One of the specialties of car lawyers is fighting driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) charges. Most people are familiar with the increased penalties for DUI charges since the 1970s. Those penalties now include: jail time from a few days for the first infraction to years in prison under aggravating circumstances; fines, penalties, and assessments; a criminal record; suspension or revocation of drivers’ license; car impoundment; ignition locking device; DUI school; increased insurance rates; and scarlet letter license plates.
A Car Lawyer’s Defense Process
As with any defense attorney, a DUI car lawyer first investigates the facts surrounding the pull-over and arrest of the accused. The suspect could have been ordered to pull over without probable cause, based on racial profiling or other unconstitutional methods. The car lawyer invokes the 4th and 5th Amendments to protect the suspect’s rights to due process and against unreasonable searches.
Next, the DUI car lawyer looks at the facts surrounding the blood-alcohol level (BAC) reading. In California, for instance, a BAC over 0.08 is considered driving under the influence. However, there are numerous factors that can make the reading inaccurate. These factors include poor maintenance of the equipment, suspect health factors, and improper use of the equipment.
Next, as with all defense lawyers, the car lawyer works on getting the prosecutor to drop charges, that is, to dismiss the case. A case can be dismissed when police officers fail to read the accused her rights, or fail to follow proper procedure.
Two Possible Proceedings for a DUI
The DUI lawyer then will work on getting the case through two proceedings – a court of law and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV in California). If the case cannot be dismissed on a technicality, the car lawyer will negotiate with the prosecutor for a “plea bargain.” The prosecutor will try to get a longer jail sentence based on the facts of the case and the car lawyer’s reputation / success rate