Mike Hanna Dec. 6, 2019

Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season, you may make a mistake and get stopped by one of our city's finest for a DUI. This article will give you some tips if this happens to you. These tips apply throughout the year, but you may find them helpful this holiday season if this unfortunate circumstance happens to you.

Common Misconceptions

DUI vs. DWI Charges in Missouri

One of the common misconceptions that people have in the context of DUI cases is in thinking that a DUI is somehow different or not as serious as a DWI. In reality, both are the same. It's just that some people and court systems call them different things. The plain fact of the matter is that both are in the nature of an alcohol-related traffic offense. Most generally now, an alcohol or drug driving under the influence case is called a DUI. That is how I will refer to it in this article.

So, the thing to remember here is, if you have consumed alcohol, are stopped, and charged, you have some serious trouble to deal with, whether you receive a DUI or a DWI ticket.

DUIs Involving Alcohol vs. Drugs

Another common misconception that people have in DUI cases is that a driving under the influence of drugs charge is different than driving under the influence of alcohol. This isn't the case. They are both the same. But, driving under the influence of drug cases are a lot more complicated cases to deal with. But, by the same token, the right attorney may have better luck in dealing with your driving under the influence of drug case than with a driving under the influence of alcohol case.

What To Do If Stopped

Here are some brief tips to help you along the way if you are ever stopped for a DUI.

  1. Get your faculties together and pay attention to everything that happens once you are stopped. I know that this may be difficult to do if you are under the influence but it will really help you when you talk to your attorney. I can't tell you how many times I have met with DUI clients and I ask them what they can tell me about the incident and they say something like: "I don't remember." That isn't really helpful or reassuring to the attorney. So get it together and pay close attention to everything. It may even be helpful to write notes about what happened when you get home or have the opportunity to do so while the facts are all fresh in your mind.

  2. If you are stopped for a DUI, remember, always be courteous to the police. Things will go much better for you if you are courteous, even if you are under the influence.

  3. As part of your stop, you will be asked to take a breath test or submit to a blood draw. If this occurs, the general rule to follow is that you should consent and take the breath test or submit to the blood draw. But, there are circumstances, in certain counties, where, if you refuse, you can overcome that refusal. Details on this matter of refusal to take a breath test or submit to a blood draw are too complicated to discuss within this article. If you have questions you should contact me.

  4. Additionally, you should be given the right to talk to an attorney before you actually consent to take the breath test or have your blood drawn. So, if you are in that circumstance, and you want to talk to an attorney before consenting, inform the police officer of this desire.

What To Do If Charged

If the police tell you that you are charged, there are a few tips that may help you out.

  1. You will receive a traffic ticket or tickets. Keep them. Don't lose them.

  2. You will either be released on your own recognizance bond (sometimes called an ROR bond) or told you can post a bond. You can post your bond in cash or through a bondsman. It might be helpful to have a cash resource you can call or a bondsman you can call in this circumstance. You should be given the right to make some calls to post bond. But you won't be allowed to make calls and talk to people about what has happened to you where you stay on the phone for long periods of time. Remember, this is a business call. Get to the point and cut out the small talk.

  3. Your car may be towed or you may get the opportunity to leave it where it is or have a friend pick it up. Know how you want to handle this issue in case you are asked.

  4. You will be given a court date. Make sure you write that court date down and keep it in a place where you can get access to it or better yet, put it in your phone.

  5. You will be under some strict deadlines or timelines to act to preserve your rights after you are charged. So, hire an attorney quickly. These deadlines or timelines will be discussed in a later article.

Advice from a Raytown, Missouri DUI Attorney

If you are stopped for a DUI, remember the above and hire an attorney ASAP. You will be glad you did.