- posted: Oct. 26, 2014
This week is Thanksgiving, the beginning of the holiday season, and a month of parties. We will eat too much AND DRINK more than we realize.
Unfortunately, most of my readers do not realize that you do not have to be drunk. You merely have to be Under the Influence which is Impaired." After a few drinks most people do not realize they are impaired and think they can still do anything.
In the CV, holidays mean an influx of visitors and holiday parties, resulting in more traffic and drinking. Thus more clients will call this month about Auto Accidents and Drunk Driving.
If stopped for a checkpoint you may have forgotten the information that follows. Sometimes ones lack of memory is from Black and White fever that happens when you see a police car. Thus you do not have to have been drinking to be thrown off your game. On my legal radio show I started off each episode saying People Don't Plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan. If you understand these directions you will have Planed Ahead. Being forewarned is being forearmed!
If stopped for a DUI, remember the Field Sobriety Tests (FST's) at the scene are OPTIONAL as is the BREATH TEST. Politely tell the officer that you understand the FST and Breath test are optional and you opt "not to take them". Then be courteous and request a Blood Test if you had been drinking.
You will be taken to the hospital or police station for a professional blood draw. Since it takes a while to get blood results you will be arrested, fingerprinted and placed in custody for about 4 hours. A new case requires a licensed person for a Refusal or Forced Blood Draw. I predict it will soon extend to regular blood draws.
A DUI is a criminal offense with two separate legal proceedings, Court and DMV. The officer will snatch your license and give you a pink form which is a temporary license for 30 days. Now you must retain an attorney to schedule a DMV Hearing within 10 days.
Your lawyer can present evidence and subpoena witnesses, including the arresting officer. Your attorney can advocate for your license and driving privileges on your behalf, and the DMV will then rule on whether or not the officer had reasonable cause to take your license. The DMV hearing is stacked against the driver as the hearing officer is both the prosecutor and judge. However it provides a glimpse of the case and the evidence.
At the Arraignment you, or your attorney on your behalf, will appear and enter a plea of not guilty. Plea Bargains or Pretrial Motions can be requested at that stage.
At the trial the DA and your lawyer will present evidence, argue, and cross-examine witnesses. The jury then decides whether or not you are guilty of driving under the influence and or driving with a blood alcohol of over a .08.
If you are found guilty or plead, the court sentences you based on the circumstances of your case. It could include fines, jail time (or home arrest with an ankle bracelet), community service, and alcohol education.