The choices you make after you have been charged with a DUI can have a major impact on your finances, career prospects, and even your ability to stay out of jail. Individuals who choose not to exercise their right to work with a DUI lawyer run the risk of unknowingly jeopardizing their case by making errors. A qualified attorney in Overland Park, KS can help you avoid these common mistakes:
The Top 7 Mistakes People Make When Fighting a DUI Charge
1. Not Exercising Your Right to Remain Silent
According to your Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent when you are arrested. Anything you say can be spun against you by the prosecution. If your arresting officers did not read you your Miranda rights, you can build a defense case around police misconduct. If you were read your Miranda rights and spoke to the officers anyway, your attorney can help you run damage control.
2. Pleading Guilty Too Soon
The government authorities responsible for your case might make it seem as though pleading guilty is the best way to lighten your sentence and move on. It is important to remember that they are not necessarily speaking in your best interest, and overcoming the charges is the only way to avoid all of the consequences of a conviction. While it may seem overwhelming and time-consuming to fight the charges, keeping the DUI off your record is usually worth the effort.
You always have the right to speak with a lawyer and develop a case against the DUI charges. There are a variety of defense strategies that have led to acquittals in the past, including finding errors in the manner of your arrest and casting doubt over the accuracy of a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
3. Not Knowing the Non-Judicial Consequences
Having a DUI conviction can incur many non-judicial consequences, including a spike in your insurance premiums that can cost more than $10,000 over several years. Other consequences include travel restrictions imposed by other governments, difficulty finding a job, and problems renting an apartment. If your job involves providing transportation services, you may find that you are unable to keep your position with a DUI on your record. Applying to some universities and graduate programs can also become more difficult.
A DUI in Kansas is considered a major conviction that will remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. You can expect it to affect your insurance premium for up to five years. When you meet with a qualified attorney, he or she should make sure you are 100% informed of the consequences of a DUI before you choose to plead guilty.
4. Continuing to Drive When You Are on Probation
If you drive after your license has been temporarily suspended due to DUI charges, you risk aggravating the situation. Your fine could increase substantially, and you might incur additional jail time.
5. Failing to Request the Administrative License Hearing
When you are arrested for a DUI, you will face both criminal charges and a civil administrative suit. The government’s objective is to suspend your license. If you do not proactively request an administrative hearing within 14 days of being arrested, your driving privileges will be revoked automatically.
In the administrative hearing, you are presumed guilty until proven innocent. However, with a skilled attorney and strong arguments, many defendants stand a good chance of retaining their driving privileges.
6. Choosing the Cheapest DUI Lawyer
If you choose to represent yourself or hire an underqualified lawyer in order to avoid legal fees, you risk paying much more in the long run. Depending on the number of previous DUIs on your record, your fine could be up to $2,500. When considering the financial implications of a DUI, you should also know that a conviction could cause your insurance premium to triple.
In addition to the most obvious financial burdens associated with a DUI, there are many lesser expenses that add up over time, such as the cost of mandatory alcohol counseling, reinstating your license, and taking public transportation. If you are forced to drive with an ignition interlock, the fee to have the device installed is $150, after which a monthly fee of $75 is applied to your account.
7. Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
Kansas has implied consent laws, meaning that the act of driving is equivalent to giving your consent to undergo a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test. Prior to being administered the test, the arresting officers should read you the implied consent laws. If you do not consent to the test or are unable to take it, you can be charged with the crime of refusing.
A conviction for violating implied consent laws carries penalties that are similar to a DUI conviction, including:
- 90 days to one year in prison
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Probation, work release, and/or house arrest following at least two days in jail
- Suspension of driving privileges
- An ignition interlock
Many people make the mistake of refusing a breathalyzer test because they believe that a positive result constitutes insurmountable evidence against them. In fact, there are many defense strategies that can cause the result of your test to be invalidated. In a criminal trial, your lawyer does not need to disprove the result. He or she just needs to cast doubt on the test’s accuracy or the manner in which it was administered.
How Can You Overcome DUI Charges?
Work With a DUI Lawyer in Overland Park, KS
A DUI conviction is a serious blight to your record that can affect your life for years to come. Beyond avoiding the mistakes discussed above, how can you put up your best fight against the charges? The first step is to speak with a DUI lawyer in Overland Park, KS. An experienced lawyer who understands DUI laws will be able to identify opportunities to call the prosecution’s case into question.
Give Your Lawyer Information to Develop a Viable Defense Strategy
If you choose to fight the charges, the criminal trial assumes that you are innocent until proven guilty. The various approaches your attorney could take include demonstrating that the police violated protocol in the manner of your arrest, showing that a breathalyzer test was incorrectly administered, and pointing to a lack of proof that you were actually in control of the vehicle when the police found you.
Your defense strategy will rest on the specifics of your case. The best way to learn more about your options and start building arguments is by scheduling a consultation with a reputable law firm.
Don’t Try to Fight DUI Charges in the Dark
In a DUI case, your defense lawyer is the only individual who will act in your interests. You cannot rely on the arresting officers or anyone else in the legal system to explain your best options or counsel you against common mistakes, even when they offer to reduce your sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. To get the kind of guidance you can trust, contact Billam & Henderson, LLC.