A DUI charge can instantly place your career, freedom, and personal reputation in jeopardy. Most people believe trying to fight such a charge is futile, but we urge you not to be so hasty in your thinking. A qualified Oklahoma City attorney can build an effective DUI defense with your help. You’ll need to document all that you remember about the circumstances of your arrest, but this effort may help to reduce your sentence or even dismiss the charges altogether.

8 Keys to Creating a Successful DUI Defense in Oklahoma City

1. Gather Paperwork from Your Arrest

You’ll receive a fair amount of paperwork after your DUI arrest, including bonding information, court details, and citations. You may also receive license suspension paperwork and information from your breathalyzer test. All of these documents need to be stored in a safe place and provided to your attorney at your first meeting.

Equally important, you should obtain copies of the police report related to your arrest. This is the arresting officer’s official record of the incident and crime itself. Your lawyer will want to see this to ensure your arrest was handled in a lawful and professional manner.

2. Write a Description of the Events That Led to Your Arrest

You should be prepared to fully describe those events that happened just before your arrest. If you were drinking, you’ll need to provide where, when (for how long), and how much you had. These details are crucial to your overall case.

Likewise, if you did not drink, you’ll need to list any over-the-counter medications you took and when you took them. You should also identify prescription medications you routinely take for illness, disease, or other health concerns you have. The whole of this information will help your attorney build a strong case for your defense. It’s therefore important you be as honest and detailed in your explanations as possible.

3. Consider Your Miranda Rights

Many people wrongfully believe the police and other members of law enforcement must read their Miranda rights before or during an arrest. The truth, however, is that these rights must be read before you are questioned – not before an arrest. 
In the moments immediately following an arrest, it’s easy to forget the obligations of law enforcement. You should therefore think about the moments before your questioning began and recall if your Miranda rights were read to you. If they weren’t, this is a violation of your rights and may merit a complete dismissal of your case. Your Oklahoma City attorney can determine this in crafting your DUI defense.

4. Remember the Statements You Made Before, During, and After Your Arrest

What we’re about to say is largely well-known, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded: anything you say during the time of your arrest may be used against you if your case proceeds to court. Remaining silent is typically the best option, but if you did speak to the officer(s) before, during, or after your arrest, it’s important to let your attorney know. This helps them prepare for evidence that will likely arise during the course of your case.

You must also be mindful of what you say to friends and family members after your arrest. If the prosecutor discovers you’ve made an incriminating statement to someone – anyone – that person can be interviewed under oath. You should discuss your case only with your lawyer, who is bound to strictly maintain your confidence.

5. Focus on Offensive Points

Nobody is perfect, and even police officers make occasional mistakes. This is why you need to document every detail of your arrest that you can remember. Some questions to ask yourself include the following:
  • What reason did the officer give for stopping you?
  • What events unfolded during the stop?
  • Did you agree to a field sobriety test, and if so, what were you required to do?

This is a much better approach than going on the defensive. Let’s say the police officer claimed your speech was slurred at the time of your arrest. You may even have witnesses who can testify that you spoke perfectly normally. But focusing on this single point isn’t enough to convince the court of your innocence. Instead, you must help your attorney build a comprehensive defense that also considers points like:

  • Was your blood improperly stored for testing purposes?
  • Was the motor vehicle stop legal?
  • Were you subject to non-standardized field sobriety tests, such as counting backward or touching your finger to your nose?

Know Your Rights

The legal limit for drunk driving in Oklahoma is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. But drivers can be arrested and charged with a crime even with a BAC below .08%. You can help your lawyer understand the complete circumstances of your arrest by documenting details like:

  • Whether the office gave you your BAC percentage
  • If you were read your BAC percentage, what percentage were you given?

6. Think About Road Conditions

Your DUI defense attorney will want as much information as you can provide about the night/day of your arrest. This includes a review of the roadway conditions. Was it raining or foggy as you drove? Were parts of the road under construction and/or lanes not clearly visible? 
In addition to your written account of these conditions, your lawyer may want photos of the road to present to the court. If you’re asked to get these snapshots, try to go at the same time of day and during the same weather conditions as when you were arrested. Also, face the same direction you were facing as you drove.

7. Find Surveillance Cameras

Speaking of photographs, footage from nearby surveillance cameras can provide helpful evidence during pretrial and trial motions. Police officers are often equipped with body and dash cameras, but these aren’t always in use. Footage from nearby businesses, such as a bank, can show to the court exactly what happened during your arrest and possibly discredit the police officer.

8. Challenge the District Attorney’s Case

Arguing against the district attorney may start as early as with the initial traffic stop. If the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion that you were doing something illegal, the evidence subsequently gathered may violate your constitutional rights. Your Oklahoma City attorney may even successfully request the evidence be tossed out of court – leaving the prosecutor without a case.

Evidence from chemical tests may also be strategically challenged. Law enforcement relies on these tests to prove when people are driving in excess of legal BAC limits. The machines, however, are not always properly calibrated or maintained. Similarly, officers are not always trained to administer these tests, meaning the results aren’t necessarily reliable.

Assessment of Impairment

Last but not least, your attorney may be able to challenge the police officer’s assessment of your impairment. You may have failed a standardized field sobriety test because you have a current medical disability or condition. The instructions may have been provided in an unclear manner, or you may have felt you were in a dangerous roadside environment. These many factors must be considered when reviewing your case.

Even common legal matters, like a DUI charge, can become complex and stressful. That’s why you need an experienced attorney on your side – one who will fight tirelessly for your rights. After already successfully representing hundreds of clients, we’re committed to doing just that: fighting for you. Schedule your free case evaluation by contacting Cannon Law, PLLC, today.