4 Things You Don’t Know About DUI Law But Should, Because It Can Change Your Life

Anybody can get arrested for a DUI. It doesn’t take very much alcohol or much of a traffic violation either. Assuming you’ve never been suspected before, remember these things about a DUI traffic stop. That’s because A DUI on your record can affect you for the rest of your life.

Don’t submit to field sobriety tests.

It might sound like you’re being lawfully ordered to take them, but refuse to take any sobriety tests on the road. It might sound like the police officer that stopped you is being authoritative or commanding you, but they already suspect that you’ve been drinking. They just want to confirm it.

The law doesn’t require you to take roadside tests, especially with a portable breath testing device. Politely refuse them, no matter what the police officer might say the consequences might be. Since you’ve never performed any field sobriety tests in the past, you’ll probably fail them anyway, even if you haven’t been drinking.

Refuse the breath test at the police station.
There will be consequences if you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test at the police station. You’ll be advised of those. Don’t take the test. You’ll be arrested for a DUI, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted.

It’s highly likely that you’d have been arrested anyway if you took the test. If you take the test, you’re probably giving the prosecutor enough evidence to convict you. You have rights, and one of those rights is to refuse any breath testing. Call us right away. We’ll protect each and every right that you have.

Your license can be suspended even if you haven’t been drinking.
If you submit to breath testing at the police station, your driver’s license will be suspended if your blood alcohol level is .08 or over. Even if you haven’t been drinking and refuse the test your license can be suspended.

Unfortunately that’s the law, but you can contest any suspension, especially if it’s only the police officer’s word against your word without any other evidence. You haven’t performed any roadside tests, and there’s no blood alcohol test from the police station. You refused them. If you haven’t given any evidence, it becomes very difficult to suspend your license.

You could have a criminal record.
DUI prosecutions can be difficult. That’s why police want to assemble as much evidence as possible before you’re actually placed under arrest for DUI. The law doesn’t require you to give them any evidence. Invoke your rights.

Politely refuse to give any evidence that might convict you. A DUI conviction will stay with you for the rest of your life. You can’t expunge it. It can affect your education, job, family and future.

By not providing the prosecution with additional evidence to convict you with, a DUI case might become the police officer’s word against your word. The prosecution’s burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, and a police officer’s word alone usually isn’t going to support a conviction. Politely refuse to take any roadside sobriety tests, and politely refuse to take blood alcohol testing at the police station. The prosecution will have far less to work with in trying to convict you of DUI.

The 8 Most Common Probation Violations People Make Without Even Knowing It

Probation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re not in jail. On the other, you need to be as careful as possible not to violate your probation status. Your lawyer probably communicated the importance of steering clear of another crime, but did you know you could be breaking your probation in ways you might not know?
Steer clear of added jail time and fines by avoiding these blunders.

1. Associating with someone who has a record.
Unfortunately, a judge can prevent you from associating with known felons. This includes your girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend or cousin. Even though you may feel you have the right to visit with whomever you want, if the judge in your case feels that your associating with criminals might be a setback in your rehabilitation, you could find yourself with another fine or more jail time for committing this infraction.
2. Crossing town, state or federal lines.
When you’re put on probation, it’s best to know the terms surrounding your probation. Depending on the probation laws in your state or the guidelines surrounding your case, you might need to abide by certain rules. Most people know not to leave the country while on probation, but many don’t know not to leave their state. This is particularly tricky if you happen to live near a state border or in a small state—like the states in New England. It’s important you abide by these rules. Getting caught could result in a larger punishment.
3. Failing to pay a fine.
When you leave court with a bill for a fine or restitution, it’s important to pay these fines on time. Failing to pay a court fine (or paying one late) isn’t the same as paying your water bill late. Not only could you be facing more fines, you could also be facing more jail time.
4. Forgetting your meeting with your probation officer.
Your probation officer changed the date of your next meeting because he or she was out of town on your usual day. You forgot about the change and missed the check-in. This could be grounds to send you back to jail. To ensure you stay in good standing with the courts, make sure you remember your probation meetings and stick to them without fail.
5. Forgetting to attend a court-ordered meeting.
Part of your probation might be contingent upon court-ordered therapy, community service or other requirements. Normally when you forget a therapy appointment, all is not lost. You simply reschedule your appointment. When your therapy is court ordered then you must attend all meetings or risk being sent back to jail. If a judge thinks you’re not taking your treatment seriously then you could end up in big trouble.
6. Losing your job.
You forgot to count your cash drawer at the end of your shift, and your manager found out. Not only have you lost your job, but you’ve lost your probation too. If you lose your job while on probation—even if you feel you were let go in error—this change could affect your probation status. It’s best to make sure your employment status doesn’t change while on probation. Going to jail because you’ve been fired is just like adding insult to injury.
7. Associating yourself with drugs.
Most people on probation understand they shouldn’t take drugs. Yet just being around drugs—even marijuana—can result in huge penalties and jail time. If you have even trace amounts of drugs in your system from being in the same room as drug users, you could end up facing the judge again. If you’re at a party where drugs are present (even if you’re not aware of their presence) you could end up with more jail time or fines.
8. Failing to report your change of address.
Something as simple as a change of address is easy to let slip through the cracks—especially if you’re not moving far. Even if you’re moving from your mom’s house to your dad’s house, you need to let the court know about the change.

Probation may feel like added jail time, but it’s important to abide by these rules. Doing so ensures you stay clear of the system and any future jail time or fines.

Everything You Need to Know About the 4th Amendment: Your Rights Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The Amendment IV as highlighted in the Constitution guarantees all citizens their freedom from unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement agencies.  It is the bedrock in which individuals’ constitutional rights to privacy are guaranteed.

This protects the state from interfering with the normal lives of individuals.  Lawmakers and the judiciary have put the necessary mechanisms to ensure individual rights are protected by all means.

The Fourth Admendment limits the constitutional powers of police and other law enforcement agencies to make unreasonable arrests or interfere with the privacy of the American citizens either in their homes, businesses, places of worship and even public places.  This means that even though the right to privacy is guaranteed, police may override your right to privacy and conduct a search of you, your property, and even your documents if,

  1. The search is proven to be reasonable and the police have evidence that you have committed a crime and they have a warrant, or
  2. If the circumstances justify the search without the police or other law-enforcing agencies obtaining a warrant.

What Rights Are Protected by the Fourth Amendment?

According to the Constitution, the right against unreasonable search and seizure extends to:

  1. Where law enforcement officer/officers physically apprehend a person by way of stopping or arresting, or
  2. When the enforcement officer/officers conduct searches on places or items which an individual has a right to privacy. Amendment IV protects individuals from unreasonable searches, detentions and prevents unlawful seizure of personal property that police use as evidence in criminal cases.

Application of the Fourth Amendment

In the criminal law realm, the fourth amendment is applicable in, but not limited to, the following circumstances.

  • Where you are arrested.
  • Where you are stopped for questioning by law enforcement agencies.
  • Where an individual is pulled over by police for a minor traffic offense and the police conduct a search of their cars.
  • Where law enforcement officers confiscate personal property and keep it in their possession.
  • Where law enforcement officers enter personal property such as homes to conduct a search.
  • Where law enforcement officers enter business premises to search for evidence of a suspected crime.

Where the Fourth Amendment Doesn’t Apply

The Fourth Amendment is applicable where an individual is confined to the “legitimate expectation of privacy.”  In all other cases, the law doesn’t apply because the individuals’ privacy has not interfered with.

During the determination of such cases, the attorney cross-examines the individual to ascertain that their privacy was interfered with at the time of search.  The victim must prove to the court that by the time of search they expected some degree of privacy and that the expected privacy was reasonable at the time of the search.

Typically, a police officer can carry out search or seizure only when,

  • They can provide a valid search warrant issued by a judge
  • They can provide a valid arrest warrant
  • When they can prove ‘probable cause’ with evidence that a crime was committed.

What Happens When Search and Seizure Contravene Amendment IV?

If the court finds out that the Fourth Amendment was violated during the search or seizure then all the evidence seized cannot be used to incriminate an individual.  This principle was established by the U.S Supreme Court and is widely used in such cases.  It also dictates that all of the secondary evidence that was derived from the primary evidence is inadmissible in court.

In some instances, if the case is argued properly and it proven that the search and seizure were illegal, it can lead to the dismissal of the case.

 

If a Loved One Is Accused of a Crime, Here Are the 6 Best Ways You Can Support Them

When a loved one is accused of a crime, it’s devastating to the entire family.  You might feel helpless and wish there was more you could do to support the accused person.  This is especially true if the person was falsely accused of a crime.  It can feel like the entire world has been upended.  There are things you can do to be supportive and helpful during this trying time in the accused person’s life.

Go Through the Bond Process

After an arrest, you can put up the bond money so that the accused can be released from jail.  Sitting in jail until a trial can be scary and unnecessary.  Some cases are non-bondable so check with an attorney to see if there is a bond. The bond amount will depend on the nature of the crime and the individual circumstances.   A good lawyer can get your bond reduced or if hired early enough, get a person released with no bond.

Hire a Good Lawyer

This is the most important part of the entire process. The right lawyer can make a difference between a person spending time in jail and being cleared of all charges. The lawyer will give you advice every step of the way from the time of arrest to the court proceedings. The lawyer could advise you to remain quiet during questioning, fight against certain testing or argue against parts of the investigation by the police. You might have to hire an attorney for the accused person if he or she is still in jail.  It’s the single most important decision of the whole process.

Visit the Accused

If the person is still in jail, it can help immensely if you visit him/her in jail. They could have been moved from the local holding cell in the jail to a larger facility to await trial.  It’s important to keep up their spirits and feel like all hope isn’t lost.  To know that you still love and support he or she can mean so much to the accused.  Find out what he or she is allowed to have in jail, like toiletries and, arrange the receipt of some to him or her.   In some cases, inmates aren’t allowed to take items from friends and family, but they can have money to buy items inside.

Collect Physical Evidence for the Case

You could gather evidence for the case like videos, clothing or photos. These things should be brought to the lawyer.  While you might think you can bring them to the police to prove the accused’s innocence, it’s always better to bring it to the lawyer and let him or her proceed with the evidence in the correct manner.  Once a person has been arrested, it’s hard to get the police to drop the case. A lawyer will know what to do.

Collect Documents for the Case

There might be documents that can help your loved one’s case.  Grab phone records, GPS details and financial records that might prove the innocence of the accused.  You might talk to the lawyer about what he or she needs for the case.  You might be the only one that can help with those documents.

Look for Witnesses

If you know the names and addresses of any witnesses to the event in question, you can provide this list to the lawyer.  Don’t try to contact any of the witnesses before handing their name to the lawyer.  A prosecutor could accuse you of trying to manipulate or scare a witness.  It’s best to let the lawyer handle any questioning of witnesses.

Other people might have questions or want to gossip regarding what happened.  It’s best to keep all discussions between you, your loved one and the lawyer involved in the case.

It’s vital that you support your loved one through this devastating time in his life. Be prepared for him to be angry and depressed.  It’s important that you be understanding about it.