With the holidays approaching, local law enforcement usually steps up DUI enforcement efforts. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly incriminate themselves. Knowing your rights beforehand may not help you avoid a DUI charge, but it can make the prosecution’s case more difficult to prove. As a result, a skilled Ann Arbor DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.
Understanding DUI Charges
Many people think that the prosecution’s case is based entirely upon how you performed in the field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer results. While these are key pieces of evidence in their case, they are susceptible to challenge, and they, therefore, need to rely on other evidence as well. For example, the prosecution will also introduce evidence concerning the following:
- Probable cause. The police need probable cause to pull you over. As a result, the prosecution will need to introduce evidence that demonstrates why you were pulled over in the first place, such as a broken tail light or you were speeding.
- The officer’s observations at the time you were stopped. For example, the prosecution may need the officer to testify that they smelled alcohol on your breath, your eyes were watery, or your responses to their questions were rambling and incoherent.
- Your own actions and statements. The officer may also testify as to what you said and did at the time you were arrested.
Ultimately, the prosecution wants their case to represent a complete picture of your guilt. Many people don’t realize that the police are trained to conduct DUI stops in a way that helps the prosecution build their case. An experienced Ann Arbor DUI lawyer can evaluate the case against you and identify potential weaknesses.
Guarding Against Probable Cause
Around the holidays and on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s no secret that many of the traffic stops conducted by police are really DUI stops. To establish probable cause, however, the police need only minimal justification for the stop. Believe it or not, the police often overreach and make traffic stops without justification. As a result, it’s a good idea to keep your vehicle in good repair and be sure to follow all traffic laws if you have had a couple of drinks. If the police cannot prove that they had probable cause, your DUI charge may be thrown out.
If you get pulled over, do your best to remain calm and keep an even temper. It’s normal to be nervous during a traffic stop, but do not become overly aggressive or defensive. The officer will testify about your behavior when you were pulled over and will use your behavior as evidence of your guilt.
Watch What You Say
As mentioned above, the police are trained to ask questions that will help build their case. Even seemingly harmless questions such as “where were you tonight?” are intended to gather information that can be used against you. Many people volunteer too much information when they are pulled over – they are afraid that they will look guilty if they don’t answer all of the officer’s questions. You have the right to remain silent and are not obligated to answer questions beyond those related to your identity.
Contact Ann Arbor DUI Lawyer Sam Bernstein Today
A DUI conviction can carry serious consequences, and cooperation will not lead to a more lenient result. You need someone on your side who will fight for a fair outcome. If you’ve been charged with DUI, contact ArborYpsi Law at 703-883-9584 to schedule a free consultation right away.