What to Do After a DUI Arrest
DUI arrests are some of the most common in South Carolina and throughout the nation. Even so, for most people, this will be their first and only exposure to the police and the criminal justice system. It is crucial that you understand how this process works and what you can do to protect yourself.
Always remember that an arrest is merely a suspicion of guilt. For this reason, police officers are not your friends, and they will do all that they can to get you to waive your rights and admit fault for the incident. By following a few tips, you could help protect your rights and begin building a defense against these serious accusations.
Know Your Rights After a DUI Arrest
People who face arrest for any type of criminal accusation have rights under both the Federal and South Carolina Constitutions. Among these is the right to remain silent after an arrest. Nothing you can say will convince a police officer to let you go. In fact, their main goal is to obtain enough evidence to allow a prosecutor to bring a case to court in the future. This includes a potential confession from a driver.
From the moment of an arrest moving forward, the only words you speak should be your name and other identifying information that police will need to open a case in their system. Anything else can only hurt your chances for a positive outcome.
Another right is to have an attorney present during all police questioning. While this is rare in DUI cases, police may attempt to ask a driver to admit to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To be on the safe side, you can explicitly and directly demand that all questioning stop until you get the chance to speak with an attorney.
Finally, it is likely that the officer making the arrest will arrange for a bond hearing quickly afterward. This is your chance to argue why you should receive an immediate release from custody with the understanding that you will appear in court at a later date. A DUI defense attorney could help make convincing arguments about a quick release from custody.
Begin Building a Defense Against DUI Charges
If a police officer makes an arrest upon suspicion of DUI under South Carolina Code § 56-5-2930, their goal is to show that a driver was operating a vehicle while their faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired due to drugs or alcohol. However, this statute is more complex than it appears. There are many ways to attempt to prove intoxication, including a breathalyzer test or the officer’s observations of a driver’s behavior. Depending on whether a breath test took place, a defense against these charges may take many forms.
In some cases, it may be feasible to call an arresting officer’s recollections into doubt. In others, an attorney could help to question the legality of a police stop that resulted in a DUI arrest. Try to write down your exact recollections of the event so that a lawyer can compare them with an arrest report or other evidence in the case. Being able to precisely recall the events that led to a stop could help a lawyer build a custom defense that best fits your needs.
Knowing What to Do After a DUI Arrest Can Help Protect Your Rights in the Future
It is crucial that you understand how to protect yourself after a DUI arrest in South Carolina. There is nothing that you can say to change a police officer’s mind, and your goal should be to provide them with as little information as is legal. This means keeping quiet beyond providing your identifying information. The only reason you should speak is to request an attorney’s presence or your phone call.
Also try to thoroughly document your experience once you return home. Having detailed information could help a lawyer develop a defense against illegal police stop or imprecise field sobriety tests. Contact Christopher L. Jones, Attorney at Law to learn more about your rights after a DUI arrest and how to protect them.