Despite the massive campaign waged over the last several decades that has been aimed at warning the public about the dangers, and legal consequences, of drinking and driving, the reality is that otherwise law-abiding citizens still find themselves the target of a driving under the influence (DUI) investigation and/or arrest on a regular basis. If you find yourself in just such a position, and you have never before been a suspect or been arrested, you will likely be frightened, confused, and worried. It is always best to consult with an experienced DUI attorney in person with specific questions regarding your situation; however, for some general advice, the Omaha DUI attorneys at Petersen Law Office share the following five tips.
- Cooperate but don’t volunteer information. Most motorists who are stopped on suspicion of DUI have never interacted with law enforcement as a suspect before which tends to make them very nervous. People often react defensively when they are nervous. This is not a good approach when dealing with the police. Be polite and cooperative by having your license, registration, and insurance information ready. Arguing with the officer or being confrontational will not help. If the officer is going to arrest you, there is rarely anything you can do to prevent that from occurring. On the other hand, you do not need to volunteer any incriminating information, such as the fact that you have, in fact, been drinking.
- Respectfully refuse to perform the field sobriety tests. If the officer suspects you are under the influence, you will be asked to step out of the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests. You are not legally required to perform these tests. Furthermore, whether you pass or fail is entirely subjective and determined by the officer. The results cannot be used in court but they can be used to provide the probable cause necessary to arrest you. In most cases, politely declining to perform the tests is the best option.
- Understand the consequences of refusing the breath test. Like most states, Nebraska has an “implied consent” law that effectively says you give your consent to a chemical test if a law enforcement officer arrests you for DUI. You can still refuse the test; however, there are consequences for doing so, including a one year license revocation. Weight the consequences of refusing against the benefit of avoiding the test results before deciding to submit to the test.
- Retain an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Both the arresting officer and the prosecuting attorney at your first court appearance will likely make it sound as though a conviction is a foregone conclusion. The truth is that there are defenses to an accusation of driving under the influence that often result in avoiding a conviction. Consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to find out if any of those defenses apply in your case.
- Do not violate the terms of your release. This may seem like obvious advice and something that need not be mentioned; however, the reality is that it is very easy to inadvertently violate the terms of your release, particularly if you have no experience with the criminal justice system. Make sure you know the status of your driving privileges before driving your vehicle again. Don’t count on the court to contact you about your next court appearance. Instead, rely on your attorney or contact the court yourself. If you are ordered to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, do so immediately and make sure it is functioning properly. Do not try to get around using the device. If the court finds out, and they usually do, your pre-trial release could be revoked, meaning you will be returned to custody and will remain there until your case is resolved.
Contact Omaha DUI Attorneys
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, contact the Omaha DUI attorneys at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUID defense lawyer.