What to Avoid If You Are Facing a DUI Charge
Interviewer: What are some of the mistakes people make once they’ve been arrested and their case is ongoing?
Do Not Let Your Idea of What an Attorney May Cost Prevent You from Retaining an Attorney—and Retain One As Soon as Possible after Your Arrest
James Abate: The first thing is not hiring a lawyer quick enough. There’s certain pieces of evidence that are not retained if you don’t ask for it to be retained, such as the video. The second thing is looking at cost of the attorney and cost alone. It’s not going to be an inexpensive process, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
There are a lot of lawyers out there who are real estate lawyers on a down economy who are just looking to supplement their income and charge teaser rates. They’ll take you in, they’ll walk you through the place, and they know basics of DUI, but they’re not going to hire an expert. They’re not going to do what’s necessary to scrutinize the evidence and find out where the holes in the State’s case are.
That’s one of the benefits of having an attorney who is a member of the National College of DUI Defense. You know that they are part of a serious invitation-only organization that is getting training throughout the country at seminars. The attorney has experience examining the scientific evidence, is knowledgeable about the medical defenses, and also on the ability of a police officer to perform the field sobriety test.
Avoid Making Incriminating Statements to the Police
Interviewer: What else do people do to hurt their case?
James Abate: I have seen people who just talk too much and this happens at the stop. Most of what the police prosecute you on is based on the evidence you supplied to them. You don’t have to roll down your window and breathe for the police officer because that’s his first cue is that he smelled your breath and he smelled alcohol on your breath.
The second cue is he’s going to ask you, “Did you have anything to drink tonight?” There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Officer, I choose not to answer your questions.” Do it in a polite and agreeable way.
Once an officer can say, “I smelled alcohol on their breath. They said that they had something to drink,” that’s all he needs to get you out of the car and do further interrogation. It comes up in the drug cases a lot too. People consent to searches of their vehicles when they should simply say, “No.”
How Long Does it Take to Resolve a DUI Charge?
Interviewer: How long will it take to resolve a DUI charge?
James Abate: I’ve had cases which were resolved in a couple of months, and I’ve had cases that have gone on for over a year. Obviously, every case is different. Every fact pattern is different, but we never look at a case and say, “We have to plead this out.” We are always looking to find some hole in the evidence that can be used to get a dismissal or give us a better chance at trial.
Why Should You Hire an Attorney? A Qualified, Experienced Attorney Will Always Be Able to Make a Positive Impact on a DUI Case
Interviewer: I know you can’t give guarantees or percentages, but how often are you able to make a positive impact on someone’s case?
James Abate: I would say that in every case, we’re able to make sure that the client’s version of what happened is heard. We’re able to make sure that the evidence is analyzed properly. As I said, you don’t go into these cases looking to say, “I’m going to win the case” every time. You’re looking to protect legal rights and you’re looking to make sure that the client has their day in court.
I would say that whenever you go to trial, anything can happen, and the more prepared attorney increases the odds. I would say that in every single case that we represent, we are increasing the odds for our clients. We don’t win every case, but even when you don’t prevail at trial, you have made sure that your client’s rights are preserved, and that’s what we look to do.
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