Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense; however, not everyone who is arrested and charged with DUI is a criminal. On the contrary, DUI is one of the rare crimes that is routinely committed by otherwise law abiding citizens. Despite understanding the dangers and risks involved in drinking and driving, people still make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking. All too often, when an individual is arrested and charged with DUI they are led to believe that a conviction is a foregone conclusion. Believing that to be the case, and wanting to out the entire experience behind them, defendants frequently accepted a guilty plea agreement without trying to launch a defense. This is unfortunate because that conviction often haunts them for many years to come. If you find yourself facing a DUI charge in Sarpy County Nebraska, you should at least consider launching a defense. To help convince you, consider the following information relating to how Sarpy County DUI lawyers defend clients just like you.
Why Is It Important to Avoid a Conviction?
If you are considering taking the easy way out of a DUI charge by accepting a guilty plea agreement, take a moment to consider the long-term ramifications of that decision. The prosecuting attorney often makes it sound so simple and painless by offering you a probation only plea agreement. If you have never been in trouble with the law before, your primary concern is likely avoiding going back to jail. The prosecutor knows this and uses it to his/her advantage by stressing the fact that if you accept the plea agreement you won’t have to risk a jail sentence. What they don’t stress to a defendant in your position is all the other consequences of accepting a plea agreement, such as:
- Spending months living under the conditions of probation.
- Having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and pay for the cost of monitoring.
- Paying the costs and fees associated with probation.
- Significantly higher insurance rates – sometimes as much as three times as high – for several years after your conviction.
- The possibility of facing professional discipline if you hold a professional license, such a nurse, teacher, real estate agent, or doctor.
- Possibility of disqualification for a change of status with immigration
- Negative impact on custody or visitation with minor children
You may avoid jail; however, do not let the prosecutor convince you that you will not pay a heavy price for accepting a guilty plea agreement.
How Do Sarpy County DUI Lawyers Defend a DUI Charge?
That same prosecutor will likely make it sound as if you have no defense and that a conviction is eminent. Sometimes that is actually true; however, in a significant percentage of the cases the defendant actually does have a possible defense. Because every DUI case involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, you will need to consult with a Sarpy County DUI defense attorney to find out what defenses might work in your specific case. Some common defense strategies, however, include:
- Challenging the stop. Despite how it may seem, a law enforcement officer must have a legally sufficient reason for conducting a traffic stop. If the officer did not have one, the entire stop may be declared illegal and any evidence obtained during the stop could be declared inadmissible at trial.
- Challenging the chemical test results. Contrary to popular belief, breath test machines are not 100 percent accurate nor are they infallible. Test results could be inaccurate for many reasons, including:
- Lack of training on the part of the officer that conducted the test
- Failing to properly calibrate and/or maintain the machine
- Not waiting for the required observation period
- Medical conditions you might have
- Using the “Rising Alcohol Level (RAL)” defense. If you consumed alcohol just prior to operating your vehicle, the alcohol in your system may still have been rising, causing you to test with a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than you actually had when you were operating your vehicle. This is known as the “Rising Alcohol Level (RAL)” defense.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska you owe it to yourself to consider launching a defense. Contact a Sarpy County DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced Omaha DUI defense lawyer.