About Defending DUI Cases
When a person is arrested for a DUI it is important for the person to contact a DC DUI lawyer who can help them prepare a defense. Do not hesitate to call our legal team to schedule your free initial consultation.
The First Questions a DUI Lawyer Will Ask
Initially, a DUI lawyer will want to find out whether the person was either driving or in physical control of the vehicle. There are certain circumstances in which a person who was not the driver is charged with DUI. Then, a lawyer will want to find out if the person was drinking. This will allow them to determine whether it was a complete failure by the police to identify a situation where someone was impaired.
It is important for the lawyer to know if the person had any health issues, physical impairments, or injuries, and whether they are on any medications. This will allow them to know any factors that could undercut the validity of the officer’s opinion as to their impairment.
A lawyer will also want to know exactly why the person was pulled over and how they came into contact with the police officer. They will want to know what the conversation the police officer had with them was like and whether they admitted to having had any alcohol or drugs.
Further, it is important for a lawyer to know how the conversation led to the police officer to ask the driver to exit the vehicle. They will want to know what the conditions were if the person completed any field sobriety tests as well as whether the person gave any chemical samples including breath, blood, or urine. In addition, it is important for them to know whether the person asked to speak to an attorney and whether the person’s rights were properly explained.
In general, it is important to know how the person felt while they were driving and what the person’s background is, whether they have had any prior convictions for any DUI offenses or any alcohol offenses.
Constitutional Issues in DUI Cases
Constitutional issues can arise, particularly with regard to testimony against the defendant at trial by the government. If the government wants to introduce any chemical samples, under recent Supreme Court case law, they have to produce the person who analyzed the test.
For example, they cannot bring forth a supervisor to say that someone working under them actually did the test, but they looked at it and everything seemed okay. That does not suffice under the Constitution.
The defendant has the right to confront the person who actually did the testing and came up with the conclusion that they were impaired because their blood alcohol content was a certain level based on the breath test, urine sample, or a blood sample.
Up until a couple of years ago, before that case came out, the government could simply use a supervisor who had nothing to do with the case whatsoever. This is no longer the situation. The government is required to bring forth the person who did the testing. That puts an additional burden on the government that many times they cannot meet. Many times, they cannot actually produce that witness and that is an important Constitutional concern.
Importance of Requesting to Speak with an DUI Attorney
A person should always request to speak with an attorney prior to answering any questions posed by law enforcement. A law enforcement officer will not be allowed to mention in court that they asked to speak to an attorney.
In DC, the law holds that they do not actually have to provide you the opportunity to speak to an attorney before conducting any test. However, if someone asks for an attorney and they refuse to give them an attorney, that can be a good justification to explain to the court why the person did not perform a field sobriety test or provide a chemical sample.