Defending yourself against allegations of driving while under the influence can pose a number of challenges, even if you've hired a DUI law firm that comes highly recommended. Presenting a defense is a process, and you should make sure you follow every step attentively.
Collect All Available Information
Presuming you've been released from police custody, the first order of business is just getting all your information together. Collect all the documents you were handed upon your release and make copies of them. If you receive any court documents in the mail, collect those and make copies of them, too.
Make notes of your recollection of how the traffic step went down. Get a yellow legal pad and write down your best recollection of when you were stopped, what the cops said to you and how you replied, which field sobriety tests were administered and when the police decided to arrest you.
This information will give your DUI attorney a starting point for building a defense. They might look, for example, at the type of breath analysis device that was used to build the case. If the machine has had issues in other cases, your lawyer may be able to raise these issues before a judge.
Respond to All Requests from the Court
You'll get a letter explaining when your first court date is. Make sure you make a note of this date and pass it along to your DUI attorney. While you want to respond to all inquiries from the court, you also want to only do so after you've discussed your options with a lawyer. Time is of the essence so talk with your attorney right away when you get any correspondence.
Don't Plead Guilty
If you are placed on an accelerated docket and don't have time to hire a DUI law firm to represent, the one big thing you need to do is to not plead guilty. Tell the court that you are without counsel and that you need time to assemble a defense. Plead "not guilty," and then the court will grant you a continuance so you can obtain a lawyer and put together your case.
Entering a guilty plea is a massive mistake, even if you plan to plead guilty eventually or to try to negotiate the charges down. If you enter a guilty plea, you will shoot right past any opportunity to present a defense and the court will begin sentencing. For more information, get in touch with a local DUI attorney.