If you were recently stopped and ultimately arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, you are likely worried about the outcome of your case. Over the last several decades, most states in the United States have strengthened their DUI laws as well as increased the penalties for a violation of those laws. If you have been accused of violating one of Tennessee’s DUI laws the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your rights throughout the prosecution of your case is to retain the services of an experienced Murfreesboro DUI defense attorney. Unless you have been through a DUI prosecution before, you likely know very little about what you are facing. Your Murfreesboro DUI attorney, however, can be a wealth of helpful information. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. With that in mind, consider asking your Murfreesboro DUI attorney the following five questions as a way to help you better understand what lies ahead.
- What are the potential penalties I face if convicted? Knowing what penalties, both judicial and non-judicial, you face if convicted of a DUI is clearly important. Not all that long ago it was common for a first-time (or even subsequent) DUI offender to receive nothing more than the proverbial “smack on the wrist” if convicted. Today, however, the laws are stronger and the judges tougher when it comes to sentencing DUI offenders. Do not just assume you are not facing any serious penalties if convicted. Ask your DUI attorney to go over all the potential consequences with you, including non-judicial consequences. Non-judicial consequences are things not ordered by the court but which will negatively impact your life nonetheless, such as increased insurance rates.
- What must the State prove to convict me? Given all the police dramas and “real TV” shows on the air these days people often think they know what constitutes a specific criminal offense; however, you might be surprised how different an actual statute can be from the way the crime is portrayed on television. Remember, police officers only make arrests and file reports that suggest violations of the law. A prosecuting attorney makes the final decision whether or not to file charges and if charges are filed, what charges they will be. Therefore, you should ask your attorney to go over each of your charges with you and explain the elements that the State must prove to convict you of each charge.
- What should I, and shouldn’t I, do while my case is pending? This may be the most important question of all. Hopefully, you were released from custody while your case is pending; however, one of the worst things you can do while your case is pending is to do something that lands you back in jail, such as violating the terms of your release. Make sure you discuss with your attorney the conditions of your release so you are sure not to violate them. Also ask if there are specific things you should do, such as voluntarily seeking treatment for a substance abuse problem, that might actually help your case.
- What defense strategy do you plan to use? Despite what the police and prosecutor would like you to believe, all DUI arrests are not open and shut cases. There are several common defenses to an accusation of driving under the influence that might apply in your case. For instance, the breath test machine may not have been properly calibrated or the technician may have lacked the proper training, both of which can call the results into question.
- How do I decide whether to take the case to trial? This is a commonly asked question. Ultimately, you must decide whether to take your case to trial or negotiate a plea agreement with the State. You should, however, discuss your options with your Murfreesboro DUI attorney after all the evidence has been discovered and a plea offer is on the table. While the decision may be yours to make, your attorney can provide you with invaluable guidance when making the decision.
If you were recently charged with driving under the influence in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee DUI attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.