The following is a list of the top 10 DUI/DWI mistakes commonly made by individuals accused of drunk driving. If you find yourself facing a DUI/DWI conviction or other related crime or if you have had one too many close calls, consider using this list as a tool to assist you to increase your chances of a favorable outcome following your arrest:
1. Failing to take the conviction seriously.
A DUI/DWI charge will stay with you for months and years to come. The Department of Motor Vehicles will list your conviction on your permanent driving record, and the agency will revoke your driver’s license for two years should you be convicted of a DUI three times. You may also notice that your insurance rates will rise.
2. Failing to hire an attorney.
The law surrounding DWI charges is complex, and it is important to seek competent legal representation. If you fail to defend yourself against the convictions, you risk losing the evidence in your case. As memories fade, facts will disappear and witnesses vanish. What was once a winning case can quickly become a losing battle.
3. Only working with an attorney because he or she is inexpensive.
There are many resources for New York residents who are seeking experienced DUI attorneys. You must find a qualified DUI lawyer who offers a cost within your budget but whom may also put in the time and effort for which you are paying. If you choose a defense attorney solely based on a low fee, your attorney may not invest as much time into your case; he or she may force you to pay the required legal fees and then remove you as a client or throw away your case should you decide to not to plead guilty.
4. Failing to obtain a temporary driver’s license and ask for a hearing to be held in the next 10 days.
If you fail to ask for a hearing, you may not be able to legally operate a motor vehicle until after the hearing has occurred or for three to 12 months after the conviction. If you drive without a license, you might be faced with a traffic offense as well as a misdemeanor, resulting in jail time and fines.
5. Driving with a revoked license.
If your license is suspended or taken away, you are not to drive at any point during this time. If you do, you may find yourself facing a more serious offense than the charge that was initially brought against you. There are no provisions that allow you to operate a motor vehicle for personal or work reasons. After a specified length of time, it may be possible to install an interlock unit in your vehicle. If you are arrested with a revoked license, you might need to post bond in order to avoid jail; however, if you are convicted, you may be facing significant jail time.
6. Failing to request that law enforcement attend your hearing.
If you fail to request an officer to be present, you will be required to subpoena him or waive his presence. Your hearing will depend upon the report, and you might not be able to hear his testimony. Should the officer be present, your attorney may learn facts or circumstances that may help him or her to better represent you. However, if he does not appear or is unable to justify his or her actions, you may receive your license.
7. Taking the first offer from the District Attorney.
The initial offer from your District Attorney is intended to resolve your case using as little effort as possible; it is not a bargain and should not be considered as such. Few DUI convictions are lessened to non-alcohol charges at this point, and few are completely dismissed. By accepting an offer, you revoke your legal right to raise questions about the constitutionality of the charges, and the prosecutors are no longer forced to prove their case.
8. Neglecting to show up in court.
If you do not attend your hearing, you may be facing a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are pulled over for a DUI or even for a minor traffic violation, the officer will likely see your warrant, and you will be incarcerated for a period of time and be required to post bond for the times that you need to appear in the future.
9. Discussing your case with other people except an attorney.
Although you may receive advice from friends or family members, much of what may have happened to another will not apply to your particular situation. Do not listen to anyone other than your attorney as he or she is experienced in every aspect of DUI/DWI laws. For instance, prosecutors may turn to social media and other public acknowledgements made by you regarding the case or even reports from overzealous or inexperienced police officers in an attempt to prove their case. However, an experienced defense attorney understands these tactics and knows the best way to handle these situations.
10. Believing that you can effectively represent yourself without an attorney.
While a judge must allow you to represent yourself, it is often in your best interest to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. If at all possible, begin to interview potential attorneys immediately following your arrest. Contact me, Jason Steinberger, today at (646) 256-1007 for a free consultation and to learn more about how I can work to protect your legal rights and ensure you are treated fairly and with respect.