After you have been arrested for DUI, you will go to a bond/plea hearing. YOU MUST try to contact a lawyer prior to this hearing. At the hearing, you may feel compelled to plead guilty or no contest. If you are unable to contact an attorney, PLEAD NOT GUILTY. At that time, the court will set a bond for you. Remember that many attorneys have 24 hour answering services. You can still contest a DUI charge even if you have a breath or blood test result of .08 or higher, or have submitted to a urine test for drugs. There are many defenses that can be raised.
Can I still drive even though I refused a breath test or blew an .08 or above? If you plead not guilty, you can continue to drive for ten (10) days. You must contact an attorney within that time in order to contest the suspension of your license. If you fail to contest this suspension, your license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of six months up to eighteen months.
What is the impact of a DUI conviction? There are serious mandatory minimum penalties prescribed by law for DUI convictions. Although the minimum penalties for a first offense may not be as serious, it will result in a permanent criminal conviction. The penalties for a second, third, and subsequent conviction become increasingly more serious and can have a substantial impact on you.
If I have a prior conviction, can I reopen the case? There are legal grounds and arguments which will allow you to reopen a prior conviction. Although many of these claims must be raised within two (2) years, there are cases in which this limitation does not apply.
Do I need a lawyer with specific experience in DUI defense? Yes. DUI defense is different than general criminal defense due to the use by the state of field sobriety exercises and breath, blood and urine tests to prove the case against you. These exercises and test have technical requirements for how they are conducted and their use. You need a lawyer who is knowledgeable about these exercises and tests that are specific to DUI cases.
Attorney David Robbins of Epstein and Robbins has been practicing criminal defense since 1975. He handles all areas of criminal defense and specializes in DUI defense.