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Avoiding the 5 Biggest Michigan DUI Defense Mistakes

The following are the five biggest mistakes you should avoid if accused of driving under the influence in Michigan. To learn more visit our Michigan DUI resources page.

Accused Biggest Mistake #1: Assuming There is No Defense to Their Case

The single biggest mistake that you can make is to assume right from the start that you don’t have a defense, and/or not even trying to defend the criminal charges now pending against you. This belief can only lead to one result – guilty: and this is the very result you should be trying to avoid. Remember that it is unlikely that you will ever regret aggressively defending your case, but you certainly might regret not defending it!

Talk to your Michigan DUI attorney about how to defend the criminal charges pending against you. There is no question that every drunk driving case can and should be defended, and generally speaking there are literally hundreds of possible defenses to all drunk driving cases. The trick of course is to find the best defense for the particular facts and circumstances of your case. The only way to reach this determination is to consult with and retain a talented and skillful drunk driving defense attorney. But whatever you do, never assume there is no defense to your case!

If you’ve already retained an attorney, then your attorney should be talking to you about what defenses apply in your case. If your attorney is not doing this, then chances are pretty good that he/she simply doesn’t know how to defend your case. This lack of knowledge can be fatal to your case.

On the other hand, if you are interviewing possible attorneys to represent you, discuss with him/her what defenses apply in your case, and equally important, how likely these defenses are to meet with success. Select the attorney who seems to be the most knowledgeable and who has the most positive outlook and attitude. As you go through this selection process it’s best to always remember one thing, success can only happen when you believe in your attorney and your attorney believes in your case!

Accused Biggest Mistake #2: Hiring a Lawyer Based Only on the Fee

The first thing you should be thinking about when confronted with a drunk driving charge is; How important is it for me to aggressively defend my case? When thinking about this you should be considering how a conviction will impact your life. For example, can you live without a license for any period of time? Will a drunk driving conviction affect your employment status or future employment opportunities? Can you afford a drunk driving conviction? Will a drunk driving conviction cause other problems in your life?

Once you’ve thought about these things, then the next questions is; What kind of any attorney do I want to have represent me in court? Because drunk driving is such a complex area of the law, it is important that you obtain a lawyer who really knows the science and law behind these cases, and who has the necessary skill to present your case to the prosecutor, or to the judge or jury in court. The lawyer’s fee will be only one indication of his/her ability. Don’t assume that the lawyer with the highest fee is necessarily the best lawyer for your case, although this might be true. Also, when evaluating the lawyer’s fees, think about what services are included. Sometimes a lawyer will charge a small “retainer”, but then will send you a new bill for every court appearance. Make sure you understand what the TOTAL fee will be, and make sure you understand the skill level of each attorney you speak with. Once (but only after) you’ve looked at all of these factors, then the chances will substantially increase that you find and will hire the best lawyer for your case.

Accused Biggest Mistake #3: Not Following the Advice of Their Lawyer

During the time that your case is pending with the court your attorney may make suggestions to you such as to become involved with alcohol treatment. If your attorney recommends this, then make sure you follow his/her advice and obtain the education or treatment that is appropriate to your specific circumstances. Following this can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

Your attorney may also recommend that you take other action such as to dress appropriately for court, to appear in court at a certain date and time, and to not discuss the case with anyone else. On the other hand, your lawyer might ask you to become proactive in your defense by taking pictures of the arrest scene, or in trying to locate witnesses that may have seen your behavior immediately before the arrest occurred.

Whatever happens, once you’ve taken the steps to hire the best lawyer for your case make sure you obtain your monies’ worth by following his/her advice!

Accused Biggest Mistake #4: Not Providing Accurate Information to Their Lawyer

Once you’ve made the big decision regarding which lawyer to hire to represent you, make sure that you provide the lawyer with ACCURATE information. Don’t assume that you shouldn’t tell your lawyer the facts that you think will hurt your case. If your lawyer doesn’t know both the good as well as the bad, then he/she won’t be able properly advise you. Also, if your lawyer doesn’t know everything about your case, then the chances are good that these missing facts will come back to haunt you at the worst possible time.

You should also consider going back to the place of the arrest and noting the conditions at the roadside such as lighting, distances and overall condition of the area where the field tasks were conducted. The more information your lawyer has in this regard, the better he/she will be able to devise an appropriate defense for your case.

Accused Biggest Mistake #5: Failing to Ask Their Lawyer Questions

If you’ve made the right choice regarding what lawyer to hire to defend your case then chances are you will be provided by him/her with a great deal of information about the drunk driving laws and how they apply to the particular facts of your case. Your lawyer should also explain to you all of the potential adverse consequences that may arise in your case, including what will happen at sentencing if you plead guilty or are found guilty by the judge or jury.

If you don’t understand what your lawyer is telling you, then ALWAYS ask your lawyer for additional information or for an additional explanation. Otherwise, your lawyer will assume you’ve understood. Asking questions will also help your lawyer better tailor the information he/she is providing so that it better suits your needs. Since misunderstandings are usually a result of a lack of understanding or because of a failure to communicate all together, asking questions will help to avoid any misunderstandings that might arise.

Ultimately, you will need to decide what kind of a defense you want and this decision should be based on all of the information your lawyer provides, both before and after you hire him/her. Make sure you make all of the right decisions by becoming fully informed about your case, and this can only happen if you understand what you are being told!