Never assume that you cannot win your OWI/DUI case.
If your attorney starts the assessment of your OWI/DUI case with the assumption that you cannot win, he or she has already jeopardized your case. The most damaging mistake your attorney can make in your OWI/DUI case is to assume that you cannot prevail. Many attorneys take one look at the blood or breath test results and the Standard Field Sobriety Test results and immediately begin to consider a guilty plea. Do not make this mistake.
A skilled OWI/DUI attorney knows where to look for weaknesses in the State’s case. The success of your case will depend on your choice of an attorney who has both comprehensive skills and solid experience challenging blood and breath test results and Standard Field Sobriety Test results. Do not compromise on your attorney’s credentials. Insist on hiring a lawyer who combines education with experience defending and prosecuting OWI/DUI cases.
Never assume that you cannot challenge the Standard Field Sobriety Tests.
If your attorney does not have the adequate knowledge or experience to challenge the Standard Field Sobriety Tests, you may be convicted unnecessarily.
There are different methods an accomplished attorney can use to attack the validity of the Standard Field Sobriety Tests. If the State intends to offer the Standard Field Sobriety Tests as evidence against you, the State must show that the officer administered the test in accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) manual. A skilled OWI/DUI attorney will work to invalidate the tests by demonstrating the officer’s failure to administer them in accordance with the NHTSA manual.
Never assume that you cannot challenge the Breath or Blood Test Results
If your attorney does not have the adequate knowledge or experience to ensure validation of Breath or Blood test administration procedures, you may be convicted unnecessarily.
The state of Indiana has strict guidelines regulating the administration of breath and blood tests. If the State intends to offer your blood alcohol content (BAC) reading as evidence against you at trial, the State must prove the accuracy of these results. Additionally the State must demonstrate that the tests were administered in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the Indiana Department of Toxicology. A skilled OWI/DUI attorney will subpoena sufficient evidence to determine whether the test was appropriately administered according to legally required guidelines.
Never refuse to visit the scene of the OWI/DUI arrest
If your attorney refuses to visit the scene of your OWI/DUI arrest, he may overlook evidence instrumental to the success of your OWI/DUI case.
A skilled OWI/DUI attorney understands that to defend you successfully requires a visit to the scene of the arrest. The attorney will photograph and document the scene, acquiring the firsthand knowledge critical to a skillful cross-examination of the arresting officer(s) on the issues most relevant to your case. For example, the presence of potholes or other obstructions might explain why you swerved or had difficulty with the Standard Field Sobriety Tests. Photographs or videos of the arrest scene may also prove vital to convince the judge or jury.
Never fail to request Discovery.
If your attorney fails to request all possible evidence in the State’s case against you, not just the initial evidence provided by the State, he may overlook evidence instrumental to the success of your OWI/DUI case.
A skilled OWI/DUI attorney relies on the discovery process to collect critical information to help win your case. The State is required to produce the evidence it has against you, and an experienced attorney will subpoena additional reports, records and testing practices often not turned over to the defense attorney unless specifically requested. A meticulous OWI/DUI lawyer will build the most effective defense for your case based on all possible evidence against you.
Never fail to depose the arresting officer.
If your attorney neglects to depose the officer and any other parties involved in your OWI/DUI arrest, he may miss a valuable discovery tool that could prove critical to the success of your OWI/DUI case.
Indiana Trial Rules specify that the testimony of any person may be taken by deposition upon oral examination. A skilled OWI/DUI attorney understands that the deposition provides the first and best opportunity to cross-examine the arresting officer and any other parties involved in your case. The deposition also creates a written record that might be used against the office at a later stage to limit his testimony against you, or it might be used to impeach the officer’s testimony during your trial.
Never fail to use an expert witness.
If your attorney fails to consult with an expert witness who can assist your defense, you may be convicted unnecessarily.
An expert witness has specific credentials that qualify him by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to provide a specialized opinion about evidence in your case. Every case does not require the use of an expert witness; however, your successful defense might depend on the testimony of an expert witness. If the breath or blood tests were incorrectly administered, an expert witness will likely find the mistake. A skilled OWI/DUI attorney recognizes that an expert witness can make the difference between release and conviction, if your OWI/DUI case goes to trial.
Never Accuse the Police Officer of lying.
Police Officers are rightfully held in high regard in our society. If your attorney accuses an officer of lying, you may be convicted unnecessarily.
A skilled OWI/DUI attorney understands that accusing a police officer of lying is an uphill and avoidable battle that need not be waged. An experienced lawyer needs merely show that the officer made a simple mistake or jumped to unfounded conclusions to raise reasonable doubt in a juror’s mind, often an easier and more effective approach to winning your case.
Never fail to explain the consequences of an OWI/DUI conviction.
If your attorney fails to thoroughly explain the immediate and long-term consequences of an OWI/DUI conviction, you do not have the necessary information to make the best possible decisions for yourself and for your family.
An OWI/DUI conviction will have a significant impact on your life. The collateral consequences of your conviction may have a much bigger impact on your life than the more immediate consequences, such as a suspended license, serving time in jail, work release, in-home detention, or probation. Moreover, an OWI/DUI conviction will remain on your permanent record and used against you as a prior offense for the next five years, and in some cases, for the next ten years. A skilled OWI/DUI attorney will advise you of both the immediate and the administrative consequences that result from your conviction and help you consider the immediate and long-term consequences of an OWI/DUI conviction.
Never assume the accused should testify.
If your attorney insists on your testimony without a thorough assessment of the potential risk or benefit to your defense, you may be convicted unnecessarily.
The Fifth Amendment states that the accused “shall not be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” In other words, you cannot be forced to testify against yourself in a criminal case. When the State charges you with a crime, you are presumed to be innocent, and the State must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A skilled OWI/DUI attorney understands that your testimony might not be the most effective defense strategy for your case. However, the nature of your case, in limited circumstances, might require you to testify about a fact or situation that would not otherwise be admissible without your testimony. An experienced lawyer should discuss this fact sensitive analysis with you in preparation of your defense.