Posted on: 28 March 2017
Do you know that the actual trial isn't the only time a driving under the influence (DUI) attorney can help you? An attorney can help you with a plea bargain, see to it that your rights are observed, and even instigate pretrial motions on your behalf. Here are three examples of pretrial motions your DUI attorney may deem appropriate:
Motion to Suppress
A motion to suppress seeks to exclude evidence that was illegally obtained by the authorities. If the motion succeeds, then the evidence will not be introduced in court during your trial. Consider an example where a police officer finds you parked in a legal parking spot and searches your car to find a bottle of liquor under the seat. If the officer didn't have probable cause (reason to suspect you of a crime) for searching your car, then you may argue that the bottle of liquor was illegally obtained and should not be used in your trial.
Motion to Strike Prior DUI Convictions
In most cases, the first DUI charge is treated as a misdemeanor, especially if there are no aggravating circumstances (such as fatal accidents). However, subsequent DUIs attract harsher charges and penalties and may be treated as felonies instead of misdemeanors. For this reason, it's best if the court doesn't consider your past DUI convictions when trying you for a new offense.
This may be difficult to do in the case of a DUI since judges are required to consider past convictions when issuing sentences. However, there are a few exceptions that may allow you to block your past DUI convictions. For example, you may be able to exclude your past convictions if they were overturned or expunged from your records; it all depends on your state's laws.
Motion for Discovery
The third example is a motion for discovery, which seeks to obtain the evidence the prosecution has against you. In many places, criminal suspects don't have an automatic right to evidence against them. However, you have the right to ask the court, via a motion for discovery, to furnish you with the evidence they already have against you. This information is crucial since it tells you the strength of the case against you, which you can use to in plea bargaining.
As you can see, your DUI attorney can help you in several ways even before the actual trial begins. Therefore, resist the urge to approach a DUI trial without legal representation if you want to win or weaken the prosecution's case; in fact, consult a lawyer as early in your case as possible.Share