What Important Information Should I Share With My DUI Defense Attorney?
Everything you can remember is important. I cannot stress how important it is to be completely honest. We need to know the facts on the front end. If we know that there is a bad fact, then we can take steps to address and get around that bad fact, as opposed to being surprised with it later on. We have a questionnaire that we send to our clients to access DUI information. Even if I have met with someone or talked to them on the phone, I still find a couple of new tidbits from that questionnaire.
Any new charges are critical to letting your attorney know about. If you have been charged with even a seatbelt ticket, let the attorney know. It is better for us to know these things beforehand than at trial when we’re talking about your supposedly good behavior.
At What Point In My DUI Case will I have to Enter a Plea of Guilty or Not Guilty?
You will be entering a plea of guilty or not guilty before all the information is available. Often, your initial appearance takes place within days of your arrest. When an individual hires us, the very first thing that we send out is an entry of appearance. This is a letter saying that we enter a plea of not guilty for our client, and please set this matter for trial.
It does not negatively impact someone to enter a plea of not guilty. Prosecutors understand that this is what they can expect because the discovery is not available. There is no way that anyone can look at all the information. We always enter a plea of not guilty, get all the discoveries, get our Freedom of Information Act request, review all the video and audio, and review every report. From there, we can decide whether or not we would want to enter into some sort of plea negotiations.
What Are The Next Steps After Entering a Plea Of Not Guilty In a DUI Case?
The very first thing I am going to do is request discovery. Under Mississippi Rules of General Procedure, we are entitled to certain evidence in your case. This includes video recordings, audio recordings, police or lab reports, and witness lists. We are going to review everything before we even set foot in the courtroom. The next thing I am going to do is get an extension of your driving privileges. If you’ve hired me within the first 30 days, that is 100% possible because there is a statute saying that you have to have your DUI trial within 30 days, and in reality, it can take three to six months.
Generally, they take your license when you are charged with a DUI and give you a paper license for the next 30 days. If you’ve received one, make copies. Keep one in your wallet or your purse, and put one in each automobile that you think you may be driving. If your license is suspended, I will contact my contacts at the Department of Public Safety, request a trial, and handle it that way.
Another thing we do is request officers’ training records. They may not even be DUI trained. They may not have received anything other than basic training and they are trying to perform testing that requires additional training. We are also going to want to see Intoxilyzer’s reports. Once we send those requests through the proper channels, it’s the state’s job to get the information to us. If they don’t get it to us, then we are going to move to exclude it.