If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, you have certain rights that authorities must respect. One of the rights is the ability to see an attorney. However, you generally won’t be able to see your attorney during the traffic stop itself. In most cases, you will meet with your attorney after you have been charged and booked into jail.
You Don’t Have to Say Anything to the Police
It is important to understand that you don’t have to say anything to the police when you are pulled over. The only exception is that you must give the police your name and identification if asked. Giving a false name or providing false identification could be crimes in themselves. However, you don’t have to give police permission to search your vehicle without a warrant or talk about any details in the case such as whether you had been drinking recently.
Officers Generally Won’t Question You During Processing
The only time an officer is likely to question you is when the initial traffic stop is made. You may also face questioning at a hospital if you are hurt in an accident and don’t wake up until after you have received treatment. Otherwise, there is little need to have an attorney present until you have been processed. After that takes place, you will generally be allowed to call your attorney or have legal counsel meet you at the jail.
What If You Have to See a Judge?
It is possible that you will be asked to see a judge to determine if you are eligible to receive bail. A judge may also further explain the charge or charges that you have received. Generally, there is no need to have an attorney present as no one is determining your guilt or innocence. However, an attorney may be able to argue that a person should have their bail reduced or be eligible for bail if he or she was initially denied it.
Your Attorney May Meet Wherever You’d Like
After you have seen a judge, it may be possible to then meet with your attorney whether you have received bail or not. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be provided to you. The public defender can meet you at the jail or meet you in his or her office if bail has been posted. In some cases, the attorney will meet you in jail while bail is being posted and your release is being processed.
What If My Attorney Cannot Meet With Me Right Away?
If you are questioned about your case for any reason by police or other authorities, you may ask for your attorney to be present. In the event that your attorney cannot meet with you, questioning must cease until he or she is able to be present. Furthermore, it may be possible to have a case postponed until legal counsel has an adequate chance to review the matter. Depending on how long this takes, it may be grounds to appeal a future conviction or grounds to ask that the case be thrown out.
Can I Choose to Represent Myself?
Yes, it may be possible to represent yourself during a DUI case. However, a judge may request that you have someone to confer with if you have any questions about the matter or how the law works in general. If you are not capable of representing yourself adequately, a judge may order that counsel step in for you.
Can Charges Be Dropped Immediately?
It is unlikely that charges will be dropped immediately. In most cases, an individual will be given a court date and the case will proceed from there. The initial court date may be a preliminary hearing to determine if there is a need to go to trial. This is the time in which an attorney may ask that the charge be dropped or reduced. It may also be possible to negotiate a plea agreement or announce that a plea has been reached.
If you have been charged with DUI, it could have a long-term impact on your life. It may be possible to spend time in jail, spend thousands on legal fees and fines and make it harder to find a job. Therefore, it is critical that you meet with your attorney immediately to preserve your rights and dispute the charge to the best of your ability.