I Got a DUI – How Soon Should I Get an Attorney?

The simple answer to this is as soon as possible. Ideally, you will want to get assistance from an attorney immediately after your arrest. Of course, this isn’t always possible, or practical. However, it is important to note that your DUI defense will likely be more effective if you get legal help quickly. Your lawyer will be able to take charge of your case immediately and may be able to prevent further problems from occurring. Ideally, the best time to call your attorney is before answering any questions from the police. It is your right to have a lawyer present for any formal questioning that may take place in regards to your DUI and subsequent arrest.

Speaking to Police

A DUI charge is often made in conjunction with a traffic stop. For example, you may be stopped for a simple moving violation such as failure to signal for a turn. Then, once you’re stopped, the police officer may feel that you may be DUI. If so, you may be questioned immediately about whether you have been drinking and you will be asked to participate in field sobriety tests. These are tests such as walking a straight line, touching your finger to your nose, and reciting the alphabet. These tests are designed to give a general impression as to whether you are driving while intoxicated. You will certainly be asked whether you have been drinking and you may not want to answer. If you have been placed under arrest you will be able to seek legal advice before answering any questions. This is critical to a successful defense.

Taking Breath or Blood Tests

In Florida, there is implied consent. This means that by simply signing your driver’s license you are agreeing to take a breath, blood, or urine test when requested to do so by a member of law enforcement. The legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) in Florida is 0.08%. If you are found to be driving with a BAC of over 0.08% you will be charged with DUI. It’s important to note that breath tests are not always performed properly and the results may be misinterpreted. Your attorney will want to review the results of these tests when preparing your defense. While you may want to avoid taking these tests, you can get into more trouble by refusing. Refusal to take a blood, breath, or urine test when requested will result in separate charges that will include an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Instead, it is advisable to have your own independent testing completed at the same time.

Defending DUI

The sooner you engage the help of an experienced DUI lawyer, the better. Your lawyer will begin by reviewing all of the information starting with the traffic stop. Your attorney will represent you at an initial hearing, where charges will be defined. Many times an adept attorney will be able to have some of your charges reduced or dropped completely if there is no evidence supporting them. If you are being held in jail, the lawyer will work to get you out of jail with a lower bail or no bail at all. Your attorney will work tirelessly to assist in defending your case and protecting your rights throughout the case. Many times your attorney may be successful in getting you through the case with the least possible penalties. Getting help from an attorney is the best course of action and gives you the best way to favorably resolve your situation.