Sometimes responsible and upstanding citizens have a lapse in judgment and end up driving while under the influence of alcohol. While this is still against the law, the criminal justice system does not impose heavy fines or jail time for these offenses when it is clearly a mistake. However, it is important to have a skilled DUI attorney at your side so that you are treated fairly and understand your options. Do not handle this on your own – call a Florence first time DUI lawyer.
Where Are First-Time DUI Charges in Florence Typically Heard?
DUI charges against a person in Florence are typically heard in District Court in the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, Kentucky. The state has a circuit court and a district court. District court is for misdemeanors, which includes DUI and are any offense that carries a maximum punishment of up to 12 months in prison. Anything above that is a felony, which is heard in circuit court.
The process for these charges is fairly straightforward. Prosecutors typically have a standard offer on first-time DUI cases to plead guilty, which could potentially mean avoiding jail time. A defendant will have to be present for their first court appearance, which is an arraignment, the purpose of which is to read the charges. Then there will be a pre-trial conference, where prosecutors have open file discovery policies. This means that prosecutors share any evidence they have with the defense.
Building a Defense for a First-Time DUI
In order build a defense for a first-time DUI in Florence, lawyers must gather the evidence, which often includes interviewing the police officer and recording it, so that officer is locked into a statement that can be used later if they try to change their statement. Lawyers also get any reports and audio or video evidence, such as a 911 call.
Sometimes they can go to the scene of the pullover to get a look at the ground, which might have affected a balance test. It is important to consider whether there was any valid reason for an officer to pull the defendant over or conduct a sobriety test. If they did have a valid reason, then a lawyer must determine if they conducted sobriety tests or breath tests according to proper procedure. A lawyer could file a motion to suppress evidence, including tests or the traffic stop itself, but it all starts with gathering information.
The penalties for a first-offense DUI are not severe, but it could involve a suspended license and an interlock device installed on their car, both of which can be a pain to deal with during the suspension period.
Biggest Mistakes for DUI Defendants to Avoid
The biggest mistakes that first-time DUI defendants make are submitting to field sobriety tests, blood or urine tests, or telling officers that they have had something to drink. Most of the evidence that officers will use is observations of the motorist’s poor driving to potentially indicate intoxication.
They will also factor in how the defendant looked and sounded while they were pulled over. A lawyer recommends not to take any field sobriety test, and to politely say, “I have been informed by my attorney not to take any tests or answer any questions unless they are present with me.”
Fight for Fair Treatment with a Florence First Time DUI Attorney
A single drunk driving charge should not upend your life. Fortunately, there are ways of fighting the charge. Our team is experienced in criminal defense law, so reach out to a Florence first time DUI lawyer for representation.