NH DUI – So, you were pulled over and then arrested for DUI last night. You’ve got a court date and a few pieces of paper, but no clue about what happens next. In this situation, the worst thing you can do is wait.
Your Court Arraignment
Your upcoming court date is called your “arraignment.” It should happen within a few weeks of your arrest. This is a time when the court wants to know three things: (1) do you understand what you’re being charged with? (2) do you want a lawyer? (3) how do you plead? Depending on your answers to these questions, the court will know how to proceed from there.
Instead of waiting for the arraignment, you should be proactive in your defense. First, if you’re going to hire a lawyer, you should do that right away. Your lawyer can usually cancel your arraignment by answering the court’s questions ahead of time. Also, the lawyer can do a much better investigation with more time to spare before trial.
Then, regardless of whether you hire a lawyer, you should be using this critical time to gather evidence. You or your lawyer should do an investigation right away to counter what the police will say when it comes time for trial. Every case is different but there are some possible areas to investigate for a defense:
Many businesses run some kind of video surveillance now, but they don’t keep it for very long. You or your lawyer might want to put those places on notice of your investigation and ask them to preserve it so that you might get a copy for yourself.
If a case turns on when or how much a person had to drink at a restaurant or bar, it might help to get a copy of your receipt. Often it’s not the most powerful evidence because it only tells us what you paid for at one place or another, but it could be a crucial tie-breaker in the right situation.
Sometimes you’re arrested after socializing with people who were able to observe you for a lot longer than the arresting officer. Perhaps they even drove with you and sized you up before they got in the car. Gathering statements from these people can be useful to dispel the idea that you weren’t in a condition to drive a car.
Pictures of the Car or Scene
Sometimes the condition of the car or road can explain why a driver did something erratic or unpredictable, like swerving to avoid a pothole or over-correct after experiencing a steering malfunction. It’s important to get proof that the condition exists right away. The longer you wait, the more it looks like you’re manufacturing an excuse.
The police will be doing their investigation, too, so be mindful of what you post on social media and who can read it. Public pictures of last night’s rager are sure to help the prosecutor get you convicted.
Immediate planning and experience are necessary to ensure that you’ve covered all your bases in preparing a DUI defense in New Hampshire. To get started, call us at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form