Criminal Defense DUI & Traffic Offenses

Common Mistakes Detrimental To A DUI Case?

Edited by Saul Bienenfeld

Mistake 1: One of the things that people do, which is a mistake, is they go right into court and plead guilty. 

Mistake 2: Another mistake is not requesting the DMV hearing. 

Mistake 3: Another mistake is to look for a lawyer based on price. You get what you pay for; and if you are paying a very small amount for a lawyer, that lawyer is in business for the money instead of for his client. DUIs take a lot of time, and the attorney is fighting for you. If you’re paying a small amount to a lawyer, that’s a mistake, and you really need to find someone obviously who you can afford and is qualified.

The best DUI lawyers don’t come cheap. They are expensive lawyers, but they’re good. You shouldn’t be looking for a discount when it comes to a DUI lawyer. When you’re looking for a surgeon, are you looking for the cheapest or the best? You want the one with the best reputation because there’s just too much at stake. It’s similar to buying a car: you don’t want just one to get you from point A to point B. No, you’re buying something that is quality. You need to do your own due diligence and talk to some lawyers, especially if you live in the area where the incident occurred: get a meeting with them, look them in the eye and talk to them.


Will Someone End Up Actually Spending More If They Hire A Cheap DUI Attorney?

Yes. This is why it’s important to have someone who practices almost exclusively DUI cases because those are the attorneys who are going to know. They are the ones that other attorneys turn to with questions about this case law. It can get down to timing: for example, being able to tell a client that if they’re going to get an SR-22, which is high risk insurance, they don’t want to wait until after they’ve been convicted to do so. They want to get the insurance, before the conviction, because they can get a better rate, depending on the insurance company. These are things that you’re not going to hear from people who don’t do mainly DUIs. Again, you get what you pay for.

Mistake 4: Waiting too long to hire an attorney.

After their arrest for a DWI, many people are angry, upset, scared, and confused. They are often embarrassed and would rather not deal with their situation. The great majority of the time, they are afraid to talk to their family or friends because they do not want to be judged. So often they end up doing nothing but waiting, and hoping it will all go away. The truth is that the DWI can be a nightmare if it is not dealt with quickly and with action. 

  1. Time can be your friend or your enemy depending upon how it is used.
  2. Inactivity after a DWI case is always a bad idea.
  3. The problems with waiting to hire an attorney can only magnify over time. 

Many DWI cases are successfully defended based upon learning the details of the stop and the arrest. A Successful Defense is always in the details.  Many things are urgent in a DWI case: 

  • The defense of the case may require an investigation of the scene.
  • The defense of the case may require a discussion with potential witnesses.
  • The defense of the case may hinge on the memory of the events and activities before and after the stop and arrest.
  • The defense of the case requires immediate investigation because memories fade, roadside conditions can change daily due to weather, videotapes can get erased, and witnesses can move or prove difficult to locate.  Blood samples can be discarded.
  • The defense of the case requires pinpointing timelines. When each and every event occurred can be crucial, such as, when the stop occurred, when statements were given, when the Miranda warnings were given, when the Field Sobriety Tests were given, and when the arrest was made.
  • The defense of the case may require a thorough and detailed analysis of how the Field Sobriety Tests were instructed and how they were performed.
  • The defense of the case may require analyzing how the Police Officer recorded his observations, the words he used, his notes about the stop and the arrest, and his filling out police forms and records. These pieces of evidence can all prove significant to a successful defense.

Mistake 5: Not taking full advantage of your constitutional rights.

This usually happens when you try to handle the case on your own or hire an attorney not well-versed in DWI laws. There may be numerous areas of your stop and arrest that were unconstitutional. Defense Pre-trial motions must be filed to:

  • Contest the constitutionality of the stop
  • Contest the constitutionality of the probable cause to arrest
  • Contest the constitutionality of the Miranda rights
  • Contest the manner in which roadside tests were given
  • Contest the use of a Portable Breath Tester
  • Contest the constitutionality of any search and seizure
  • Contest the constitutionality of the refusal

Mistake 6: Continuing to drive after your license has been taken away. 

No need to tempt fate. If your license has been taken, suspended, or revoked, you are only hurting yourself if you continue to drive. “Driving while license invalid” is a misdemeanor in New York State, and punishable by up to a year in jail. Not to mention the complications it will pose to your DWI case.


About the author

Saul Bienenfeld