Based on my years of experience as a DUI defense attorney, and my time as a prosecutor before that, I offer these helpful tips on what to do when you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving:
- Cooperate with the police. Most police officers are quite proficient in their duties and do a good job carrying out what is expected of them by their department and the community. Certainly, it doesn’t benefit you to be abusive or antagonistic with the police officer. Please remember, when you go to Court, the police officer that arrested you will let the Court know how you interacted with him at the scene of the offense. He will note any behavior that you displayed whether it was cooperative or otherwise. Your positive attitude will go a long way to help your defense!
- Be very observant. The more details you can provide about what transpired during your arrest, the more it will benefit you. These details will assist your attorney in preparing your case and in preparing you if necessary to testify in court. This includes the questions the police officer asked you as well as how you performed in the field sobriety test.
- Take names and numbers. Try to get the names and addresses of any potential witnesses so they can assist you in your case. If you were among friends at the time who were present during the incident, contact them to see if they can possibly testify on your behalf. Similarly, if other witnesses were present who can provide relevant details, do not hesitate to ask for their names and contact information.
- Document everything. Ideally, it would benefit you the most if you could write down everything that happens during your arrest as it is actually taking place. However, that is rarely possible. Therefore, you should try to recount as many details as you can at your earliest opportunity. Some key points to note are things such as what you had to drink that night and how much as well as where you were when you were drinking it. You may even be able to get a detailed receipt from the establishment that served you.
- Hire an experienced DUI attorney. In most jurisdictions, the prosecutor will be handling your case for the state. The prosecutor has received specialized training in handling DUIs and will prepare the officer for his in-court testimony. The penalties for a DUI conviction can include incarceration, suspension of your license, and heavy fines. You deserve the best possible outcome. Just as prosecutors are trained to prosecute, attorneys are trained to defend; however, not all attorneys specialize in DUI defense. You need to hire one who is familiar with handling DUIs and specializes in these defenses.
- Establish good and clear communication with your attorney. You should feel comfortable asking your attorney any questions you may have and you should be able to clearly understand the answers he gives you. You should never feel like your attorney does not have time for you. Most importantly, make sure your attorney clearly outlines his fees in writing. If you are not comfortable with your attorney, hire a new one!
As a former prosecutor and as a defense attorney for over 30 years, I am uniquely qualified to handle your DUI charge. I make sure you understand the details of your case and my goal is to achieve the best result for my clients. I practice in all areas of Hampton Roads, including Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Hampton, and Newport News.