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Underestimating the severity of a DUI

It hasn't been too many years since drunk driving was little more than a traffic offense. Then, beginning with the founding of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other groups that focused public attention on the devastating effects of drunk driving, laws and policies regarding those who drive while impaired have becomes harsher. In fact, each year, millions of DUI cases go through the criminal courts.

In the past decades, however, public perception of drunk driving hasn't changed as quickly. Many California attorneys may even have misconceptions about DUI arrests and the potential penalties. If you are facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, even if it is your first offense, your best course of action may be to find an attorney who takes your case seriously.

Busting DUI myths

Perhaps the hardest myth you will have to overcome is getting people to believe you if you were not impaired when police arrested you. After all, there may be the results of police-administered field sobriety tests, roadside breath tests and blood alcohol content tests to prove your guilt. What many may not understand, including some attorneys, is that these tests are often subjective and inaccurate.

The machines used to test your BAC are frequently poorly calibrated and used by officers who may have woefully inadequate training. Field sobriety tests are little more than inconsistently administered agility exercises, the results of which are based on the officer's subjective opinion of passing or failing. Many other alleged symptoms of impairment, such as red eyes, slurred speech or a lack of coordination, may have other causes, including countless medical conditions.

Who is your ally?

A skilled and experienced attorney knows that DUI cases are not cut and dried. There are numerous ways to defend against the charges, and a professional with success in this area will be an advantage for you. DUI charges are not like other criminal cases, so you will want the assistance of someone whose practice pays special attention to alcohol-related offenses.

Additionally, your advocate should be someone who understands the heavy and long-reaching impact of a DUI conviction. A beneficial counselor will be one who is willing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the charges and who will not rush you into pleading for a less severe sentence. This is because those with experience in DUI cases understand that even when your sentence is completed, a conviction on your record means you may still face ramifications in your job and your opportunities for many years to come.

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