It seems that it would boil down to my word against the officer. He states he smelled a strong odor of alcohol I spoke with a heavy tongue and had bloodshot and glassy eyes. There was no alcohol or blood test. How strong is this evidence he has against me?
To answer your question as to how strong the evidence is against you, the testimony of the officer is usually considered credible. There are many factors that go into defending a DUI charge. Any good DUI attorney will know where else to investigate beyond what the officer reported. As recommended in other responses to you, please consult with one or more DUI attorneys until you find someone you feel comfortable with and can afford. Also, depending on whether or not you have any prior alcohol convictions, the penalties for a DUI can vary and you want to insure your have excellent defense for both fighting the case and any possible sentencing you end up facing. Good luck.
It depends on the officer and many other factors. A high test result is worse but officer testimony can still be enough to convict you depending on the circumstances. Plus, the DA can use your refusal as evidence you were intoxicated.
As a third, you're facing 60-365 days with two years of probation with another year suspended if you fail probation.
Refusal cases are often very defensible, but you need a good attorney to have much of a chance. Many of us on avvo give free consultations. Find someone you like and can afford.
Best of luck
You simply MUST hire an attorney. Any attorney would advise you in all likelihood NOT to testify at trial. Any good DA would rip you apart. We would need to see the discovery and know about the officer to see the strength of the evidence against you. However, you are playing with fire. Mr. Luchencho is any incredible attorney, as are John Buckley, Rhidian Orr, and other attorneys on Avvo. You are ver likely looking at 6 months to a year of potential jail. Even attorneys in similar scenarios would hire another attorney to represent them. Good luck
Refusing a test usually helps your case as a defendant, but DA's win cases like this all the time. The devil is in the details, and this is a perfect case for a defense lawyer with experience defending DUIs at trial.
At trial, the DA would look to every detail of your interaction with the officer to show that you were impaired- your balance, your answers to questions, odor of alc, any driving observed, etc. A good defense lawyer would look at all those details for evidence that you were not impaired. The DA would say you refused a blood or alcohol test because you knew the test would come back high. A good defense lawyer would challenge that: the fact is, people refuse tests for a lot of innocent reasons.
This is just a quick summary. The fact is, a good defense lawyer would go through police reports with a fine tooth comb to prep a case like this for trial, and there's no way to say (without a consultation) how strong the evidence is. Obviously, with jail on the line (minimum 60 days, likely more), you should seek advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The evidence is as strong as the credibility of the police officer testifying. The place to begin looking for the quality of the police officer is in the report. Like other professions in life there are good and bad or lazy and hard working officers. An experienced attorney who has seen thousands of police reports can offer you a prediction about the officer's ability by what is and, more importantly, is not in the report.
In my former career as a Deputy District Attorney ("DA"), I was regularly able to convict people with the evidence described in your question. Thus, you should be prepared for a lengthy legal battle as the DA is not likely to give in easily. In this case your prior convictions will make the DA take your case that much more seriously. Furthermore, because no test was done in your case, I am going to presume you refused a test. If the police officer followed the proper procedure, then the DA can tell the jury that they can use the fact that you refused a test against you. However, if your attorney can show that the proper procedure was not followed, then this evidence can be suppressed, or not used against you. Without this evidence the DAs case becomes more difficult to prove.
You are in the situation where you will want an attorney to help you. The recent DUI sentencing changes make jail mandatory for someone with two prior DUI convictions. The attorney you hire should be able to offer you expert knowledge of the correct procedures police must follow in a DUI stop. Some Criminal Defense Attorneys, like myself, have trained the police in the proper investigation of DUI cases. Someone with similar experience may be useful in your case.
You need to hire a good DUI defense lawyer. There is no way for a lawyer
to evaluate the evidence against you, until they have seen all the
discovery, interviewed you, and done their investigation of the facts. My
law partner, Michael Carter, is one of many competent DUI lawyers that you
can hire. Good luck.
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With no breath/blood test evidence, your case on the surface appears to have a defendable tone. Was there any evidence of erratic driving, open alcohol containers, unsteadiness or other evidence of consumption? Were you video/audio recored at the roadside stop or back at the police station? Are there witnesses? There may be a number of other factors which could come into play in your case. You should consult an experienced DUI attorney to review your case.
The one thing that all DWI cases have in common is that eh prosecutor is almost always going to get some type of conviction if you were "operating" the vehicle. That means that unless you were driving all over the road, had a high BAC, or were extremely intoxicated your lawyer ay be able to convince a judge (usually not a jury) that you were not intoxicated but rather "impaired" a violation in many jurisdictions. Your problem is that the judge will be very well aware that you are a repeat offender and will be concerned that you might kill someone soon and that if he does not find you guilty of the felony or misdemeanor DWI he might not get re-elected or might be criticized by MADD, SADD, or his opponent in the next election to say nothing of the TV and newspapers. Retain a good Avvo lawyer or Google DWI lawyers in your area.
I agree with the advice above, most especially to get an attorney, so I'll try not to cover the same ground already well covered by other attorneys.
Instead, I want to point out that when it is your word against that of a police officer, you're going to lose that battle 99 times out of 100. Another excellent reason to hire an attorney is so that it is NOT your word against his; it is his word vs. the law. Your word doesn't even come into the picture. A good DUI defense attorney will demonstrate all the ways in which the officer's evidence falls short of the amount necessary to convince the judge beyond a reasonable doubt.
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