This is a list of the top ten mistakes DUI attorneys make.If you choose to plead guilty to DUI, you will always and without exception be found guilty.
- Don’t assume your case can’t be won. If you find a lawyer who looks at the facts of your case, including your BAC, and right away starts telling you that you should plead guilty, do not hire him. Many Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyers advertise themselves as “DUI lawyers” but lack specific training, experience, and knowledge to defend DUI cases properly. Do your due diligence when hiring an attorney. Ask him questions about his experience and training in handling DUI cases, and check out his qualifications.
- Don’t agree to or stipulate the BAC. This is a common mistake among lawyers who have not been trained to properly handle DUI cases. They simply “stipulate” (agree) that the DUI results are accurate beyond question, then use some other grounds to contest the charges. Never should a lawyer do this. The government must be able to prove that their results are precise, accurate, and reliable so they can use the BAC reading to prove the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. They must prove that all the proper procedures were followed, the analysis was completed using the proper equipment by a properly trained person, and that the specimen was collected the right way. To stipulate to a certain BAC reading is making the government’s job of winning their case against you incredibly easy.
- Don’t forgo visiting the scene. If the attorney you choose is not familiar with the area where you were stopped or had your accident, ask him if he is planning on doing so, or if he’s sending a private investigator of his own to do it. By examining the scene, the attorney has first-hand, close-up knowledge of the area that he can use to question the arresting officer with confidence. For example, knowledge of a pothole where your accident occurred could explain a swerving vehicle, a circumstance the officer may have blamed on drunk or impaired driving. Also, photos or videos of the area can be helpful during trial as visuals for the judge and jury to look at, giving them a clearer picture.
- Don’t forget to file a pre-trial motion. Every case should have a pre-trial motion filed. It will serve to further enhance the record used to limit or prove false the testimony of the officer when the case goes to trial, even if it’s unsuccessful as far as getting the case dismissed or evidence suppressed.
- Don’t forget to question the validity of the field sobriety tests. If your attorney doesn’t know the phases of DUI detection, it’s like he’s playing a game with your future. A game he doesn’t know the rules to. You can be sure the prosecutor does know the rules. Your attorney needs to know the processes and protocols for the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the Preliminary Breath Test. If your attorney doesn’t know these things, you could be convicted without proper evidence to support a conviction. There are other issues, as well, that should be looked at. If your lawyer doesn’t understand them or know about them, they won’t be looked into.
- Don’t try to make the officer out to be a liar. It’s far better to show the jury or the judge that the cop might have made a mistake, rather than painting the officer out to be a habitual liar.
- Don’t put your client on the stand! The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to be silent. This means you do not have to testify in court. It’s up to the prosecutor to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless it’s an unavoidable necessity to prove something, allow your attorney to speak for you.
- Don’t forget to talk to a specialist. Just because an attorney advertises himself as a DUI attorney, does not mean he has the proper training. DUI law is complex, and changes frequently. The technology used to detect DUI and the science behind it are advanced. Being a DUI attorney requires a huge amount of training, experience, and dedication. Choose a DUI lawyer who has these things.
- Don’t forgo using expert witnesses. Many times, using an expert witness is what brings an acquittal when a case goes to trial. Alternately, not using one is often what brings a conviction. Choose a lawyer who regularly uses experts.
- Don’t waive a preliminary hearing. If you do this, your case will always go to trial. The preliminary hearing is a crucial step, as it’s the first chance to cross-examine the cop and anyone else involved, and proves to be a valuable “discovery” tool.
If you or a loved one have been charged with Driving Under the Influence in or around the city of Pittsburgh, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Logue Criminal Defense team serves Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding areas, including West Virginia and Ohio. To get in touch and schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense lawyer from Logue Law Group, call us today at 844.PITT.DUI or 844.PITT.DUI. Or, you can contact us online.
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