Write Down Every Detail of Your DUI Arrest
In order to properly evaluate your case, your attorney needs to analyze what happened to you during the entire time period surrounding your arrest and detention. Without this information, even the best and most experienced DUI-DWI attorney cannot give you an informed opinion of what you should do.
To get full information and all of the police documents and videotapes will require 2 to 4 months in most courts.
The first thing your criminal attorney will likely request is to have you complete a very detailed questionnaire regarding the day of your arrest, the arrest itself and everything that happened to you until your release from the police station or jail. It may take you several hours to put all of your impressions and recollections on paper in an organized fashion. Every detail you can uncover could be important. Your attorney may want you to complete this form even before he or she spends any significant amount of time with you in a face-to-face interview.
By having you review the details of your day and evening, your DUI-DWI specialist is making you focus on key facts that need to be documented as soon as possible. He or she knows how critical the smallest details can be to winning your case. The fresher the incident is on your mind, the better you can assist in your defense. Additionally, your ability (or lack of ability) to recall details will reveal a good bit of important information concerning your possible impairment level and the likelihood that you can be used as a witness at trial.
While you are taking the time to complete this form, your attorney and his or her staff will try to assure that any administrative license suspension or revocation appeal (request for hearing) is properly filed. Your attorney may not be able to obtain all of your police reports before your initial interview.
Your attorney will generally ask for copies of any police video made of both your arrest and your breath testing (if available). He or she will need to see the results of any blood, breath or urine testing performed on you, including results from any independent test you may have obtained. In some court systems, the prosecutors release this information with no more than a phone call, while in other jurisdictions a court order is required after a formal request is made by your attorney.
Your attorney or his or her staff also investigates the court to which your case has been assigned. Who will be your judge, and who will be the prosecutor? Which key staff people from those offices must be consulted for the case and when will they schedule the arraignment, motions and trial in your DUI-DWI case?
With this initial information in hand, your attorney will likely want to meet with you and recommend possibly hiring a private investigator to assist in the preparation of your case. These investigators are almost always ex-law enforcement officers. They talk to their friends and colleagues on the police force that arrested and processed you. They also go to the scene of your stop, gathering as much helpful information as possible.
The investigator may talk to witnesses other than you. This is why it is critical for you to inform your attorney of all names for potential witnesses with whom you came into contact in the time period surrounding your arrest. A person who has no personal stake in your guilt or innocence (such as a bartender) may be a key witness. These investigators also look for any other avenue of information that might be useful to you, such as locating other video or audio recordings from independent sources.