Driving Under The Influence
Getting arrested for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (as “DUI” is now called) can be a frightening and intimidating experience. You probably have many questions about DUI and are not sure where to turn for advice and help. In order to protect your driving privileges and good name, you should immediately know the following: You must face the prosecution and the court to resolve the criminal charges now pending against you. Do not do it alone. Penalties for a DUI conviction can include high fines, onerous community service, and even jail for the first time offender. Penalties are even more severe for repeat offenders, with loss of driving privileges possibly exceeding one year. An experienced and diligent DUI lawyer can protect your right to be presumed innocent, and have a fair trial.
It’s critical for you to know what you are facing as soon as possible. You need to know how to attack your case, how to avoid jail, how to create an effective defense, and how to protect your hard-earned reputation. We offer a free initial consultation during which we will evaluate your case and give you advice on how to proceed. We only accept clients that we believe we can help and should you decide to let us represent you, we offer knowledge, experience and vigorous advocacy at a reasonable cost. We understand that hiring an attorney is an unexpected expense and we can arrange a payment schedule that you can afford.
Problem #1: Your License
Typically, at the time of the arrest, the police will take away your driver’s license and forward it and a copy of the police reports to the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office, also known as ADLRO. After being arrested for DUI, this is the first step towards losing your license. ADLRO’s sole responsibility is to determine whether to take away your privilege to drive and for how long.
The ability to keep your driving privileges, or minimize the amount of time you lose your license depends on many factors. The general issues in dispute are the validity of the stop, the justification for the DUI arrest, and the quantum of evidence to conclude, by a preponderance of evidence, that an arrestee is DUI. However, as you might discern, there are many variables that fall within these broad issues.
Finally, the ADLRO proceeding has many procedural requirements that must be followed before a driver’s license can be revoked. Deadlines must be followed by the ADLRO, and when an arrestee has good cause to require the testimony of any participating police officers, the ADLRO must authorize subpoenas. Failure to do so could result in the return of a license.
There are also ways to mitigate the impact of a license revocation. Under normal circumstances, most first time offenders are eligible for a conditional license permit that would allow him or her to drive for work. Also, as a contested hearing is proceeding (they often last for months), again under normal circumstances, an arrestee should still be able to drive freely until a final decision is made.
Problem #2: Your Freedom
Separate from the ADLRO problem is the matter of the criminal charge against you, which will typically be handled at a District Court (unless you were arrested for DUI on Federal property in which case it will be handled in Federal Court). Criminal consequences for DUI are myriad and range from fines to community service to jail. The possibility of jail time is directly related to the level of intoxication (typically measured as “blood alcohol content” or “breath alcohol content”), the extent of “bad driving”, and the risk posed to persons or property. Moreover, there are also provisions for alcohol assessment, alcohol counseling, and alcohol treatment.
The issues in dispute in the criminal DUI proceeding are generally the same as they are at the ADLRO hearings. However, you as a defendant have the added advantage of the State and Federal Constitutions, which require that the prosecution prove a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard imposed in court and therefore the hardest to reach. Also, any invalid DUI stops will not just result in the return of your driver’s license, as in ADLRO, but rather in the suppression of any evidence used in the criminal DUI case against you. Another tool not available in the ADLRO proceeding are the specialized Hawaii Rules of Evidence, which place limits on the types of evidence that can be used against a criminal DUI defendant.
Let Us Think About Your Case
Consider the issues discussed above and think about your case. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Was there a good reason for being stopped by the police?
- Can they prove who was behind the wheel of the car?
- Did the police officer properly and fairly instruct me on how to perfrom the Field Sobriety Test?
- Did the police officer demonstrate the Field Sobriety Test?
- Did the police explain my rights to me clearly?
- How can we be sure that the breathalyzer machines I blew into (known as the “Intoxilyzer 5000″) is reliable?
- If I can’t drive, how will my life be affected?
- If I can’t drive, how will my family be affected?
- If I can’t drive, how will my job be affected?
If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, Contact Hawk Sing Ingnacio & Waters today at 808-532-3800.