The American criminal justice system plays a crucial role in maintaining the order and civility of the United States. Thanks to legislators and other government entities, driving while under the influence is an unlawful act in all 50 states. This is undoubtedly a good thing, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that 10,497 people were killed in DUI accidents in 2016. DUI should be an illegal act, but we must also realize that those who are charged with DUIs deserve the same representation that all Americans are entitled too. In fact, DUI representation is a necessary good for a number of reasons.
The Right to Representation Is Just as Important as DUI Law
Someone who is drunk has no business getting behind the wheel, yet it occurs every single day. Let’s face it, driving while under the influence is an unfortunate occurrence; however, just because someone made a mistake it doesn’t mean they forfeit their right to legal representation. The right to representation during criminal court cases is actually one of the original amendments in the United States Constitution! Therefore, the right to an attorney has been a part of our country’s ethic for nearly 227 years. No matter the circumstances, no matter the scenario, all Americans charged with a crime by an authoritative entity have the right to legal representation.
Police Procedures Are Just as Important as DUI Law
America’s criminal justice system is rule-governed, which means American citizens and American authorities are both bound to follow the letter of the law. When a citizen breaks the law, he or she can be charged and tried in front of a jury; similarly, if an authority figure breaks the law, he or she can also be charged and tried in front of a jury. Therefore, both regular citizens and authority figures must follow America’s statutes.
In regards to criminal arrests, police officers must follow a set of rules that are summarized as “due process.” Due process states that an arresting officer must afford the charged their inherent rights during an arrest.
Due Process during a DUI arrest includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The stating of the Miranda Rights during an arrest
- The officer exhibiting proper etiquette during DUI testing (breathalyzer, mobility, balance)
- Probable cause for the officer to pull over the accused
- Probable cause for the officer to ask the accused to test for DUI
Surrounding Circumstances Are Just as Important as DUI Law
If a DUI case goes to trial, a jury or judge will look at all of the facts to determine if someone is guilty or innocent of his or her charge. In other words, the accused can only be convicted of breaking the law if the determining entity finds that he or she is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Therefore, it is possible that a police officer will charge someone of a crime based solely on the “letter of the law,” but that the extenuating circumstances of the case would lead a jury to interpret the accused as innocent despite their breaking of the law. In the end, the juries’ interpretation of the charge in question along with the juries’ interpretation of the circumstances surrounding the case both play a vital role in the determination of the accused’s guilt.
For the reasons mentioned above, qualified and experienced DUI representation is an essential part of any DUI case. DUI representation is a necessary good because police officers make mistakes, all American citizens deserve just and fair representation, and the circumstances surrounding a DUI charge can and will impact a DUI case that goes to trial.
Criminal defense attorney Kevin Cahill has defended Colorado citizens for more than a decade, and in this business, experience matters. If you believe your rights were forfeited due to police conduct during your DUI arrest, or if you need impactful representation, call (720) 548-2990 for a free consultation concerning your case.