If someone is arrested for a DUI, what should they do?

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If someone is arrested for a DUI, what should they do?

My so was “over the limit”.  At time he wasn’t driving; he was stopped. He had pulled into a parking lot. He failed breathalyzer. Should he get a court-appointed lawyer? I am unemployed, and he works part-time. Should he plead guilty? How can he plead to a lesser charge? Can he get non-reporting probation? In jail until Monday morning. He was driving in an all-white neighborhood with two black males and a white female. He is Hispanic. I think that’s what attracted the cops to the scene. They were in a store parking lot at 3 o’clock in the morning. What are his options?

Asked on July 9, 2011 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you do not have to be driving to be arrested for a DUI. If the driver has possession and control of a vehicle that's enough. The reasoning is that they could get back on the road at any time and drive while intoxicated. Additionally, unless he was drinking while parked in the lot (also illegal) he would have had to been under the influence before he pulled off of the road. As for any racial profiling argument, I don't think that you will get anywhere with it. The fact is that the car was stopped in a lot at 3 in the morning. Any car would have been approached under the circumstances.

That all having been said, there are defenses to a DUI. A skilled DUI attorney could potentially get the charge dismissed on a technicality (or at least possibly get it reduced).  An experienced lawyer could also win an acquittal at trial. For example, with regard to a dismissal or acquittal, the accuracy of a breathalyzer test could be challenged.  There may also have been procedural improprieties which could result in a favorable determination for your son.  Additionally, assuming that he is a first-time offender, he may be eligible for a special alternative sentencing program (if such a program is available in your state). This would clear his criminal record.

So having an attorney is critical. As long as he is income eligible he should definitely get a court-appointed counsel if he is eligible for one. 


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