Steps You Need to Take After a DUI Arrest
Getting a DUI conviction in Utah is a serious matter. At the end of the day, the fines, fees and administrative costs can easily amount to thousands of dollars, even for a first time offense. When you include the cost of increased insurance premiums, the costs can rise to over ten thousand dollars. No matter who you are, that’s a lot of money.
On top of these specific costs, now factor in the variable costs of having your driver’s license suspended for four months. How will you get to work or school? Also, think about the very real long-term cost to your reputation once friends, family and your employer find out that you were driving while intoxicated. All told, it’s a high price to pay for a couple of glasses of wine or a few beers.
This is why once you’ve been arrested for a DUI you need to start doing the things that can help you avoid a conviction. The following steps include some of the things that you can do to strengthen your DUI defense so that your reputation and your wallet don’t suffer.
Talk to Friends or Family as Soon as Possible After Your Arrest
It is imperative that you talk to someone else besides the police as soon as possible after your DUI arrest. The arresting officers will very likely testify that when they pulled you over, they noticed you were slurring your words and having trouble talking. Speaking with a friend or family member soon after your arrest can establish that you were able to communicate clearly and that they noticed no obvious impairment when you spoke. This can go a long way to countering the cop’s testimony against you. This is an excellent way to use your one phone call from the police station.
Keep a Record of Your Evening
Document every place you went in the hours prior to your arrest. Write down what you did there and who you were with. Pay careful attention to what you ate and drank and what time it was when you did so. This kind of detailed record of your evening can help bolster your defense by establishing that the amount of alcohol that you drank does not match your blood alcohol level at the time you were arrested.
Get Receipts for Everything You Ate and Drank
Once you have a record of your evening, start obtaining all the receipts for the food and drink purchases that you made prior to your arrest. These receipts will corroborate the itinerary in the record. A credit card statement is an excellent way to do accomplish this. Again, the combination of the record of your evening and the receipts of your purchases will establish that your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest was incorrect. This raises the question of whether the breathalyzer results were faulty.
Get Checked for Acid Reflux
It is not a widely known fact, but heartburn or acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, can cause a breathalyzer to register an erroneous blood alcohol level. Heartburn can cause alcohol vapors in your stomach to become present in your mouth. A breathalyzer is designed to pick up alcohol molecules on your breath that came from the blood in your lungs. When you have extra alcohol molecules in your mouth as a result of acid reflux, the breathalyzer can detect them and arrive at a false positive conclusion. If your doctor discovers that you suffer from GERD, it is possible that the blood alcohol level measured by the police at the time of your arrest is incorrect.
See Your Dentist
One of several existing or undiagnosed dental conditions can cause a breathalyzer to record an erroneous blood alcohol level. This happens in much the same way as was discussed above in regard to acid reflux. Conditions like gingivitis and impacted food can cause alcohol vapors to linger in the mouth. The breathalyzer picks up these vapors and registers them as alcohol molecules that came from your bloodstream. The result is a blood alcohol level that is in error. Your dentist can quickly determine if you have any dental condition that would cause alcohol vapors to remain in your mouth.
Record Any Exposure You Had to Chemicals
If you happened to use or come in contact with specific types of solvents, chemical cements or varnishes on the day of your DUI, that exposure could have caused the breathalyzer to misread your blood alcohol level. This occurs because some of these materials contain alcohol or chemicals that closely resemble alcohol. When you come in contact with these substances, you inhale the material in question. These chemicals can then stay in your mouth, sometimes for days, causing you to give a false positive reading when you blow into the breathalyzer.
Revisit the Scene of Your Arrest
Make sure that you go back to the place where your DUI arrest occurred. Go back at the same time of day or night when you were arrested. Look around at the surrounding area. Pay attention to the conditions and take notes. Look at the light. Is the location well-lit or is it dark? Look at the ground where you were given a field sobriety test. Is it flat or is it uneven? Is it paved or unpaved? Are there any obstructions that would impede your ability to walk? Many times the conditions of the place of arrest can cause a person to appear under the influence when they were actually sober.
Contact Any Witnesses
If there were any people who witnessed your arrest for DUI, it is very important that you get in contact with them. Their memories of your behavior when you were arrested could counter the testimony of the arresting officers. The officers will say that you appeared drunk. The people who witnessed your arrest may say that you did not appear drunk. Their testimony that you did not stumble, slur your words or act irrationally can strengthen your defense and help you avoid a DUI conviction.
Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney
A DUI in the State of Utah is a serious crime. Do not take the charges that have been brought against you or their very real penalties lightly. An experienced DUI attorney will be your advocate as your case proceeds through the Utah criminal justice system. Your attorney will use their experience to fight on your behalf to help you obtain the best possible result out of this difficult situation.