I was pulled over and submitted to a breathalyzer, by which I blew a .26 (very high, I know). I was taken to jail and had court not even 6 hours after being arrested. I plead not guilty, because I needed time to think about whether or not I want to get a lawyer.
They told me I will get my license taken for 6 months...this is my first offense of any kind. I don't even have any speeding tickets..
I'm just wondering if there is even a point in paying for a lawyer? The one I called basically told me it's a long shot to get it reduced at all. I just thought since it's my first one that there might be SOME chance of getting it reduced to a regular DUI or possibly getting my license suspended for like 3 months instead of 6? Lawyer said Montana doesn't budge on this..especially since I submitted to breathalyzer and blew so high.PLEASE HELP!!!
If you wouldn't get a lawyer now, when would you? There is too much at risk for you. If you cannot afford a private attorney, the court will appoint one for you.
Yes. Hire a lawyer as soon as you can. Avvo.com has a search feature to find one in your area. Your local bar association can identify lawyers who practice in this area. Call a few, see what they charge, and ask how they handle these cases.
For my Clients, I appear at the arraignment, file a discovery demand to start the discovery process, and assess if there are any grounds to end or stay (put on a pause) the administrative suspension of the Client's driver's license (if it was imposed already). Alternatively, I seek limited driving privileges for my Client. I attend at least one pre-trial conference to discuss the case with the prosecutor. I also schedule and prepare for a motion to suppress hearing if we can't agree to a deal early on in the case.
After the arraignment, I follow up with a letter to the prosecutor, making it quite clear I want video from the traffic stop - dash cam and body cam. I also repeat my request for video from any testing site where my Client was taken to provide, usually, a breath test. I sometimes ask for video from the intake area of the local jail where my Client was taken - when separate from the test site.
I obtain and review the prosecutor's written discovery. That includes the arresting officer's written report. I thoroughly review it, makes notes, and discuss it with the Client. Later, I will compare those notes with my notes I generate from reviewing all available video from the traffic stop.
When reviewing the video, I look at what my Client did, how he performed as to the field sobriety tests. I compare those observations with what is in the arresting officer's report.
I review what the arresting officer did on video to administer the field sobriety tests. Officers must follow the procedures rather closely in most jurisdictions to get the evidence of the test results admitted for use in the court case. In one case, I saw that the arresting officer took only 57% of the time it should take, per the applicable training manual, to administer the eye test (specifically, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test). He conducted only half of the eye test. Given my Client in that case, "passed" the walk and turn test and the one legged stand test - in the words of the arresting officer on the dash cam video, I was able to convince the prosecutor (i) to reduce the charge and (ii) agree to a joint recommendation on the sentence, creating a lesser sentence than is normally expected for the conviction attained.
So, a lawyer can help you find what I call "pressure points" in a case. Pressure points essentially are reasons to convince a prosecutor and hopefully the Court, too, to either (i) reduce the main charge, (ii) reduce the usual sentence, or (iii) both. The pressure points come from finding errors in the investigation during the traffic stop, or through the testing process, or even through the occasional miscue in the discovery process. Such discovery miscues can happen such as when the government is unable to produce video from the traffic stop or testing site AFTER I asked the government in writing to produce such evidence.
A good DUI lawyer might find a defense to your DUI charge to get it dismissed or reduced. He or she might fine a good argument to convince the Court to impose a lesser sentence than usual.
Again, your next step is to find a lawyer. When you start talking with prospective lawyers, ask them what they do to prepare your defense.
I hope this helps, and good luck!
At the very least you should get a second opinion from another lawyer. Also, if the first lawyer did get extensive information from you before giving you the opinion that the case was a long shot, you amy want to seek even another opinion. High test cases can be won in the right circumstances. There is no way to determine whether those circumstances exist without lots of information. You may actually have to hire a lawyer to find out whether you have a shot.
DISCLAIMER- THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. CONSULT QUALIFIED LEGAL COUNSEL IN YOUR CITY OR STATE FOR IMMEDIATE LEGAL ADVICE.
Beating a DUI with a BAC of .26 would be extremely difficult. The 6 month license suspension is mandatory on any first offense DUI. However, you should qualify for a probationary license that will allow you to drive for work, school, and the other necessities of life.
on Agg DUI, your license is suspended for a year. Just based on that little fact, you should get a lawyer so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. There are always options in criminal defense, it usually comes down to how hard your lawyer works for you. Prepare to invest.
licensed attorney in Montana. Your specific state laws may be different. My answers do not create an attorney/client relationship. Only a signed fee agreement creates such a relationship. These answers are for informational purposes only.
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