A DUI arrest can be a frightening experience. You need to know how to respond appropriately when you have been arrested for impaired driving, including what steps will need to be taken to protect your rights in the aftermath of your arrest.
What to Do After a DUI Arrest in Birmingham
After a DUI arrest, you have several primary issues to focus on. The first issue is that you face an administrative suspension of your license which could last for 90 days for a first offense. An administrative license suspension is automatic. It is separate from criminal proceedings and goes into effect unless you contest it within 10 days and argue the suspension is inappropriate. The second issue that you face is a criminal charge which you have to respond to in court. The specifics of the charge or charges will vary based on factors including whether you have any past convictions, what your blood alcohol concentration was, and whether you were involved in an accident or were simply pulled over.
To ensure you can address these issues, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can. Your attorney can help you to request a hearing to fight the administrative suspension of your license. Your attorney will also assist you in determining how to plead before you are arraigned on charges. You are going to need to be ready to decide whether to plead guilty, or to plead not guilty to the charges. If you do not want to fight the DUI charges and plan to plead guilty, you should ensure you have an advocate representing you who can talk with the prosecutor to try to negotiate a favorable plea agreement. Under some circumstances, prosecutors will be willing to reduce charges or to recommend leniency in sentencing if you plead guilty rather than forcing the case to go to trial.
In determining whether to plead guilty or not guilty, you need to consider factors like the admissibility of evidence and the strength of evidence against you. If there is strong evidence, you will need to assess whether you can find ways to undermine the prosecutor's case by making the jury doubt the veracity of evidence being presented against you. For example, you may be able to argue the evidence was mishandled or the tests were potentially performed incorrectly. All you have to do to secure an acquittal is introduce doubt, you don't have to prove you are innocent of the DUI charges.
Conducting a careful evaluation of the circumstances of your traffic stop and the nature of the evidence against you is very important. If you were stopped without probable cause or if there was no probable cause for you to be tested for drugs or alcohol but you were tested anyway, the evidence obtained may not be admissible because it was collected in violation of your constitutional rights. In these circumstances, you will want to ensure a motion to suppress is filed with the court. If you can get evidence suppressed, the prosecutor may have to drop the charges for lack of evidence or you may be able to secure an acquittal.