DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Nobody plans on getting a DUI. But if you do, your choice of attorney is very important. At Collins & Price, we are experienced advocates dedicated to helping you come out of the DUI experience with the best possible result. DUI cases are very technical. You need a skilled DUI practitioner. Contact us for a no-charge consultation. We can help.
What are the normal procedures involved in a DUI case?
Traffic Stop and Field Sobriety Tests
- The officer’s reason for stopping you and the way he or she conducts his field sobriety tests can make or break your DUI case. An officer must have a proper reason for stopping you. If he cannot, it is an unlawful stop. If you are unlawfully stopped none of the evidence gathered after that is admissible in your trial.
- Sometimes a DUI investigation will start with a traffic stop for speeding or a similar traffic offense. But there has to be a reason for the officer to detain you for the DUI part of the traffic stop . If there’s not a good reason, then the officer may have unlawfully detained you.
- Field sobriety tests are designed to assist the officer in gathering information to determine whether you are intoxicated. The officer looks for “clues” when he has you perform these tests. The tests must be done properly to be admissible in court.
- The tests are the HGN (the officer has you follow a pen or another object with your eyes), the One-Legged Stand test, and the Walk-and-Turn Test. All three are designed to detect whether you are intoxicated.
- As a Delaware driver, you have a right to refuse field sobriety, breath, and chemical tests. Like anything else, there are good and bad parts about refusing testing.
- The Good: Without field sobriety, blood, or breath test results, there is less evidence for the prosecution at trial.
- The Bad: Refusing testing subjects you a longer loss of driving privileges.
- Also, if you refuse an Intoxilyzer breath test, the officer can obtain a search warrant for a blood draw.
- If an officer determines that he has “probable cause” that you were driving under the influence or with a prohibited blood alcohol content, he will arrest you for DUI.
- A probable cause determination is a technical, legal determination driven by the facts observed by the officer.
DMV Administrative Hearings
- There are two parts to a DUI case: the court case and the DUI administrative case.
- When you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer seizes your license and provides a “Notice of Revocation” form. The purpose of this form is to notify you that the officer believes he had probable cause to arrest you, which, depending on the circumstances, justifies DMV suspending your license for at least 3 months. DMV cannot, however, suspend your license without notice or an opportunity to be heard. You have a right to a hearing to contest the possible suspension.
- Time is of the essence. You only have 15 days to notify DMV that you want a hearing to contest the seizure of your license. Then the DMV schedules a hearing. We can represent you at both your DMV hearing and during the court process.
- If you fail to request a hearing you automatically lose your license for a set period of time, depending on factors like whether you have had a prior DUI offense. You may qualify for the ignition interlock program, however.
- Your arraignment is your first appearance in court, where you plead not guilty.
- The State is obligated to provide discovery in your cases, which consists of any testing or statements made by you during your interaction with the officer. The State also usually provides the police reports.
- Once we receive this information we will review everything and discuss your case with you in detail.
Suppression Issues and Trial
- If after assessing the discovery in your case we determine that you were unlawfully stopped or arrested, we will file a motion to suppress.
- There will also be a case review. You may be offered a plea; we can advise you whether a plea or trial is your best option, but it is your decision.
- If necessary, we are prepared to take your case to trial to fight to protect your record and your license.