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Facing your first DWI? Here's what to do

Everyone makes mistakes, and it's possible that you didn't realize your blood alcohol concentration was as high as it was. Maybe you checked it before you left home and were safe to drive, but now an officer stopping you for another traffic offense is saying you're over the limit. You're a commercial driver, and you know that this could influence your job and lead to you missing work or being fired. What can you do? You have several options for creating a defense to help you in the future.

You can question the results of the field sobriety or chemical tests

One of the first things your attorney will want to do is to question the field tests or chemical tests you took. If you took a Breathalyzer test, who administered the test? Officers must have proper training. Did you burp during the test? If so, that could change the test's outcome. If you received a blood test, did you have a second test to verify the first test's results? What about field sobriety tests? Did the officer state you were intoxicated even though you explained issues with balance or medical conditions that may make you appear intoxicated when you're not?

There are many reasons people fail these tests, and not all are a result of being drunk or high.

Implied consent can result in unfair penalties

Implied consent laws state that you must give a blood, breath or urine sample on request from an officer. You are allowed to refuse to submit to the test after you're told about the consequences of doing so. If the officer did not inform you of the potential penalties, you may have a defense.

Additionally, the officer must have had reasonable suspicion before pulling you over. He or she should not have pulled you over if you were obeying traffic laws. This helps prevent discrimination against people of different races, ages or genders.

If you refuse to give a sample, it's possible that you could face penalties such as a suspension of your license for six months to a year, even if it's proven that you were not intoxicated later.

You have a right to an attorney

If this is your first DUI offense, you may not be familiar with the laws that protect you. You have a right to an attorney and to have that attorney present before you speak to police or answer questions. The officer should allow you to make a phone call to obtain an attorney while you're at the police station, or you can contact an attorney after your release.

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