If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the odds are high that this is your first arrest. This is because defendants in a DUI prosecution are frequently law abiding citizens who had a momentary lapse in judgment, not hardened criminals. If this is indeed your first arrest, that means it is also your first “up close and personal” experience with the criminal justice system, and with a criminal defense attorney by extension. Since you are undoubtedly worried about the outcome of your case, it’s only natural for you to wonder how DUI defense lawyers decide on a defense strategy. Every case is unique and no two attorneys approaches their job the exact same way. There are, however, some common steps DUI lawyers take when deciding on a defense strategy.
- Interviewing the client. The first thing any criminal defense lawyer usually does in any type of case is to interview the client. A DUI case is no exception to this general rule. When you talk to your lawyer, it is crucial that you provide honest answers to questions. Keep in mind that your lawyer is on your side and nothing you tell your lawyer can be repeated to a third party because it is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Your lawyer cannot do his or her job properly without all the facts though, even if they paint you in a bad light. If you drank 10 drinks before you were pulled over, don’t tell your lawyer you only had three or four. Everything you tell your lawyer goes into deciding on a defense strategy. Providing inaccurate information, or leaving out facts, can cause an otherwise viable defense strategy to fail miserably.
- Reviewing discovery. The State is required to turn over evidence it plans to use against you during the “discovery” process. In a DUI case this typically refers to things such as an in-car video of the stop, the results of a breath test, and the probable cause affidavit the arresting officer submitted to the prosecuting attorney in support of the arrest. Your lawyer will review all
- Conducting an investigation. Your attorney may also conduct an independent investigation if the facts and circumstances dictate. This might include speaking to people who saw you just prior to the traffic stop, requesting documents from a physician to support the claim of a medical condition, or retesting a blood sample if a blood draw was done in lieu of a breath test.
- Consulting with the client. Once your attorney is certain all the discovery has been turned over by the State, and the defense investigation is complete, it is usually time to sit down with the client and discuss the defense options and the overall strategy going forward. For example, if it turns out that the defendant only blew a 0.09 – barely over the legal limit – and it can be proven that he/she consumed alcohol just prior to getting behind the wheel, the “Rising Alcohol Defense” might be the best option.
- Considering the State’s offer. The primary objective for DUI lawyers is to help their clients avoid a conviction. Sometimes, a conviction is inevitable. When it becomes clear, after reviewing discovery and conducting an investigation, that the State is likely to get a conviction, the best defense strategy may shift to negotiating the most advantageous guilty plea agreement possible for the client. Whether or not to accept a guilty plea agreement is ultimately the client’s decision; however, a criminal defense attorney is ethically obligated to at least present an offer from the State to the client and discuss the pros and cons of accepting the offer. If the client is interested, the attorney will then enter into negotiations with the prosecuting attorney on behalf of the client.
Contact Nebraska DUI Lawyers at Petersen Law Office
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, it is always in your best interest to consult directly with a DUI defense attorney about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact the Nebraska DUI lawyers at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.