No one plans on getting a DUI, but you can protect yourself and prevent steps to avoid DUI charges. For first-time DUI offenders, charges may come after a few drinks after work, after a family dinner, or even when driving very short distances. While you may have thought you were okay to drive, you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once arrested and charged, you will face the potential of penalties, loss of license, jail time and a criminal record. Our Birmingham DUI defense lawyers are committed to helping our clients protect their rights in the wake of DUI charges.
Alabama is aggressive when it comes to enforcing DUI laws. Here are 5 ways you can protect yourself against the legal consequences of an arrest and conviction:
Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking. While this may seem simple, remember that thousands of DUIs are issued to drivers who may not even believe they are impaired. The safest way to prevent a DUI is not to get behind the wheel after you have consumed alcohol. Consider getting a cab, phoning a friend, or public transportation.
Know your limit and BAC. If you do choose to have a few drinks and then drive, know your legal limit and wait an appropriate amount of time before driving. You can reduce your blood-alcohol content by drinking water, having a meal, or waiting an appropriate period of time, even overnight if necessary.
Follow traffic laws and keep your vehicle maintained. A number of DUIs will result from a stop that had nothing to do with drinking and driving. If you run a red light, blow through a stop sign, or have a taillight out, you are likely to get stopped. Once pulled over, an officer can arrest you for suspected DUI. You should also have your driver’s license, insurance, and registration available so that you don’t irritate officers or draw more attention to yourself.
Know your rights involving field sobriety tests and blood alcohol testing. At the moment of arrest, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test or a blood-alcohol test. Remember that in the state of Alabama, field sobriety tests are voluntary. You should understand why they are administered and what circumstances could impact the outcome of a test. Physical impairment may not be the reason you fail. Weather, a busy highway, and other conditions could result to a faulty result. When it comes to blood alcohol tests, the law does presume that if you are on the road, you have consented to taking the test. Blood, breath and urine tests can be used against you. Failure to take the test will result in an immediate license suspension for at least 90 days. If you fail the test, your license will be suspended as well. You can still challenge the results of a test in court.
Do not plead guilty without experienced advocacy. DUI laws in Alabama are complicated and even someone who is not over the legal limit can be convicted. Defendants can also be over charged and over penalized. To effectively prevent a DUI, an experienced advocate must review all of the facts in your case, challenge the evidence presented against you and wage every available defense in court. Even if you are convicted, an attorney can also help reduce charges and penalties.