Everyone has an opinion about everything, including what you should do if you're ever stopped for a DUI. Not everyone's advice will be sound, however, and following it may actually make things worse and guarantee you'll go to jail. Here are two pieces of counsel you should avoid following if you want a fighting chance at staying out of jail.
Refuse to Do the Breathalyzer Test
The Constitution guarantees people the right to not incriminate themselves in a crime, so it would appear to make sense to refuse to submit to breathalyzer testing when you're pulled over for a DUI. After all, many people reason that the prosecutor can't prove you were legally drunk if there's no record of your blood alcohol level.
First of all, this isn't true. The prosecutor can still prove you were driving intoxicated using a preponderance of other circumstantial evidence, such as the cop's testimony about how you were driving and any other telltale signs of drunkenness (e.g. slurred speech or red eyes).
Second, many states prohibit people from refusing to undergo BAC testing. In fact, obtaining a driver's license is akin to giving consent to be tested for alcohol consumption. If you don't agree to do the test, your license may be suspended or revoked, and you may do some jail time.
In the few states that do allow people to refuse do undergo breathalyzer tests, you can only do so before you're arrested. After you're taken into custody for a DUI, you are required to take a breathalyzer, have blood drawn, or provide urine for analysis.
At the end of the day, it's not worth trying to follow this piece of advice. There are ways to contest the results of the testing and get the evidence thrown out, so it's best to follow the cop's direction and avoid making your legal troubles even worse.
Just Accept the Prosecutor's Plea Bargain
Prosecutors have thousands of cases on their desk, and one of their driving motivations is to get through as many of them as possible. Therefore, it's not surprising that a prosecutor may approach you and your attorney with a plea deal. For instance, the prosecutor may only recommend you pay a fine and have your license suspended if you agree to plead guilty.
It may be tempting to take the deal, because your case will be resolved quickly and you may escape some serious consequences of driving while intoxicated. However, you may be doing yourself a disservice if you do so. The prosecutor's case may not be as strong as he or she would have you believe, or you may be able to get a better deal, especially if you're a first-time offender.
It's best to consult with a DUI attorney about the pros and cons of taking any deal before you agree to one. It may be better to roll the dice and see if you can get the charges dismissed than to take a deal that will have a serious negative effect on your life.
For more information about handling a DUI charge, contact an attorney.