Every year, thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens are arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, across the United States. While the number of DUI arrests has gone down noticeably over the last several decades, people continue to test their luck, or simply make bad choices, by getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or while under the influence of drugs. If you were recently arrested and charged with DUI in the State of Nebraska, you likely want to know if a drunk driving lawyer can help you avoid a conviction. Unfortunately, there is not an easy, “one size fits all” answer to that question; however, there is no doubt that having an experienced drunk driving lawyer on your side increases the likelihood of avoiding a conviction.
A Conviction Is Not a Foregone Conclusion
When you were arrested, the arresting officer likely suggested – or outright stated – that you would be convicted and that there was no way to avoid that conviction. This is even more likely if you submitted to the breath test and your results were over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Likewise, if you appeared in court without an attorney for your initial appearance, the prosecuting attorney probably also stressed that accepting a plea agreement was in your best interest because a conviction was all but certain. The reality, however, is that a conviction is not a foregone conclusion. In fact, it is often far from certain. Keep in mind that it is the job of police officers and prosecutors to secure convictions. Therefore, they are not going to admit to any potential weakness in the case against you – certainly not when you are unrepresented. In addition, they are accustomed to people simply agreeing to a guilty plea agreement without even exploring the possibility of a viable defense because they want to put the entire incident behind them.
Chemical Test Results Do Not Ensure a Conviction!
Like many people, you may be under the misperception that a BAC result over 0.08 percent effectively equals a conviction. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have done a good job of convincing the general public that chemical tests in general, and breath test machines in particular, are infallible. The truth, however, is that no test is infallible. Breath test machines are far from infallible. Among the numerous causes of an unreliable result on a breath test are:
- Operator error
- Machine has not been properly calibrated
- Failing to with through the required observation period
- Machine error
- Medical conditions that skew the result
- Objects in the mouth that can interfere with the result
- Rising alcohol level defense
Any one of the above mentioned factors could cause the results of your breath test to be inaccurate and/or unreliable. Do not assume that the results of your breath test ensure a conviction!
How Can a Drunk Driving Lawyer Help?
A drunk driving lawyer understands all of the ins and outs of a DUI prosecution, including the numerous factors that could cause your chemical test results to be unreliable. Your attorney may also look at things such as:
- Did the officer who stopped you have a valid reason for the stop?
- Does the “Rising Alcohol Level” defense apply in your case?
- Did the officer detain you beyond the time allowable by law after pulling you over?
- Did the officer claim you failed the field sobriety tests when the dash cam shows otherwise?
Your drunk driving lawyer will investigate every aspect of your stop and the investigation that followed to see if the officer followed proper procedures and laws. Your lawyer will also look at the result of your chemical test, if you submitted to one, and try to discredit those results. You would likely be surprised to learn how many drunk driving prosecutions cannot withstand scrutiny; however, the defendants must actually fight to avoid a conviction instead of just agreeing to plead guilty because of misperceptions or pressure from the State.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in Nebraska contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced Omaha DUI attorney.