1. You Can Lose Your License Without Even Being Charged
Laws vary by state on DUI, but one common feature is that the simple fact of arrest and failure of a breath or blood alcohol test can result in a suspension of your driving privileges. This administrative suspension can for a significant period of time–usually six months or more. Because the government regards driving not as a right, but a privilege, it is common that this suspension takes place within a few weeks of the arrest. There is no requirement in many cases that one be convicted of DUI (or even charged!).
It is important to contact qualified criminal defense lawyers Waco trusts as soon as possible after any DUI arrest. There may be important and very short time periods that apply to contest the suspension. Even if it isn’t possible to prevent the suspension entirely, an attorney may be able to delay the suspension for long enough to get you an occupation or “essential needs” license to keep you on the road legally.
2. Roadside Sobriety Tests Aren’t Always Accurate
Many decades ago, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) set out to create and validate a set of roadside tests that could be used by officers to investigate DUIs. After years of testing various methods, NHTSA-funded studies arrived at three tests that are “scientifically valid” for detecting persons who are legally impaired. These tests are now referred to as the “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” (SFSTs).
Although the SFSTs may be accurate in some circumstances, a range of factors from the conditions at the testing site, pre-existing medical issues, and errors in administration can render these tests invalid. Even under the best conditions, these tests can come up with false positives in a surprising number of cases. While the error rates shown in studies may have satisfied NHTSA, you shouldn’t gamble your liberty on imperfect tests.
3. You Don’t Have to Do the “Stupid Human Tricks”
Some people decide to perform the SFSTs under the mistaken impression that they will be able to avoid an arrest. In many circumstances, the officer has already made up their mind to arrest prior to the tests even beginning. Why would an officer have someone do the tests anyways? Evidence gathering. One of the best pieces of evidence for the prosecution in a DUI case is a wobbly defendant being asked to perform unfamiliar physical tasks under stressful conditions. Unless you are absolutely convinced of your sobriety, it is a mistake to help the government gather evidence to use against you at a later trial.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Sutton, Milam & Fanning for their insight into DUIs and criminal defense practice.