For the average person, being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is not an everyday occurrence. Consequently, it is common to feel confused and a bit intimidated by the entire legal process if you were recently arrested for DUI. The best way to get answers to specific questions you have regarding your case is to consult in person with an experienced Nebraska DUI defense attorney. There are, however, some common questions people in the same position tend to have. For example, consider the answers to the following questions people often ask Sarpy County DUI attorneys:
- Does it matter why the officer stopped me? This is a confusing topic for most people given the way DUI stops are often portrayed on television and the manner in which they are sometimes conducted in real life. Legally speaking, an officer is required to have a legitimate reason for making any traffic stop. In other words, an officer cannot just randomly stop people in an effort to check for possible drunk drivers. That reason, however, may be what is referred to as a “pretext.” A pretextual stop is one in which the officer uses a minor traffic violation, such as a missing license plate light, as the reason for the stop when, in reality, the officer does suspect the motorist is driving under the influence.
- Is there any hope of winning my case if I failed the breath test? This is a very common misconception – the belief that a breath test machine is basically infallible and failing the test is an automatic conviction. First, a breath test machine is far from infallible. In fact, there are several common reasons why breath test machines produce inaccurate results, including failure to properly calibrate the machine and human error. Even if the machine is operating properly, you may have a winning defense to a test result above the legal limit if your circumstances warrant using the “Rising Alcohol Level” defense. In essence, this defense argues that although you did test over the limit by the time you performed the breath test, you were under the limit at the time you were actually operating a vehicle.
- How will my arrest and possible conviction affect my driver’s license? Your license will be administratively suspended as a result of your arrest. You could also be ordered to endure an additional period of revocation if you are convicted. Fortunately, you may qualify for a special type of restricted license known as an Ignition Interlock Permit that requires you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Your DUI defense attorney can explain the requirements for the license. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate a reduced period of revocation if you are convicted.
- Will I go back to jail if I’m convicted? The sentence you receive if convicted will depend on a number of facts and circumstances; however, most first-time DUI offenders are not sentenced to serve an additional period of incarceration. Instead, most first-time offenders are sentenced to a suspended sentence along with a period of probation. If, however, you violate that probation you could be ordered to serve your suspended time in jail.
- Do I need to hire an attorney? Ultimately, the decision to hire an attorney is yours to make; however, given the numerous and varied ways in which a DUI conviction can negatively impact your life it is wise to do so. An experienced Sarpy County DUI attorney can protect your rights throughout the prosecution of your case, analyze the facts and circumstances to see if you have a viable defense, or negotiate a favorable plea agreement if a conviction is inevitable.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, contact an Omaha DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced Sarpy County DUI lawyer.