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Holland & Usry, P.A.

What’s the process for defending my first DUI case?

DUI first offense cases generate a lot of anxiety, and over the years, I’ve found some of it actually has to do with me. It’s not that I’m hard to deal with or talk to (see what my clients say); it’s just people get nervous about the unknown. I’ve realized nobody really knows what will happen when they come to my office. While I work hard to make my people comfortable and confident, I now know seeing me for the first time is not a whole lot better than going to a new dentist.

To reduce that strain for you, here’s the basic steps I take to defend your case, so you can rest a little easier about what we’ll talk about and how I’ll do it.

Let’s Start Here

I want to hear your side of the story

Many folks with DUIs feel as if the officer ignored their explanation for the driving mistake that got them pulled over. They feel their arrest was destined from the start, no matter what. I listen to you, because it’s my job to tell your story to the extent it helps win your case. So your side is our starting point.

I will get you through the administrative hearing

If your license got suspended at arrest, you’ve got deadlines to meet or you face serious consequences. Our initial prime objective is requesting that administrative hearing to get you back on the road. Once it’s scheduled, we defend you at it. You’ll know how that works before we even request the hearing, because we talk about it at our first meeting.

Early negotiations

We don’t always take this step—I only use this if I feel it will work. Most folks have a single goal: prevent a DUI conviction. They’re happy to resolve their case with a dismissal and plea to a lesser charge like reckless driving. If I feel this could be within reach, we attend your initial court date. There, I try to negotiate a reduction with the officer.

A vital part of this can be showing the officer you’re worth it. This can involve your attending programs to show you’re making this a learning experience to be a better driver.

If it fails, or if we decide not to pursue this option, we go the next step.

Request a jury trial

Sometimes justice must be won. A jury trial usually delays your case by several months, which can also help. As time passes, the officer’s determination to convict you at any cost can fade into reasoned judgment to let you have a reduced charge.

Request discovery

This is a motion I file with several pages of legalese boiling down to this: it makes the State give me all the evidence it has in the case, whether it helps or hurts. The most important parts are the videos.

When I get the discovery response, I analyze it. You get copies, too, because I want your input. Because your videos can unlock secret defenses you probably don’t know, I watch them extremely carefully. I also make extensive notes showing how you don’t look impaired—and what the officer did wrong. Did you know there’s a right way and many wrong ways to give field sobriety tests?

Trial preparation

By the time we get a trial notice, I’ve done a lot of the groundwork already. We fine-tune it for trial. Again, I do the hard part getting ready to talk to the jury and cross-examine the officer. It’s what you hired me to do, right? Your case can be resolved at any point before, during, and even after the trial while the jury deliberates.

You’ll know our strategy and have a voice in it. That includes whether you testify. If you do, you’ll be ready.

Trial

If we get to this point, you can read this article on what to expect. Know this: we go in ready and expecting to win.

Yep, It’s a Lot to Handle, So Let a Professional Do It

The best way to get the best result in a DUI case is have an experienced advocate who can press your side and manage all the little things you don’t know how to. Give your case to me so you can get on with your life…because most of these cases are marathons, not sprints.

If you have more questions about your DUI case, download our free report. You can also contact us from the web to start the process of easing your burden.

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.

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