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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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I was driving and ran out of gas in Castleton Vermont. It was

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I was driving and ran out of gas in Castleton Vermont. It was night and I started walking 2-3 looking for an open gas station. I had no cell phone and the gas station I arrived at was closed. I saw a police officer and decided to ask her to make a call to get a ride home. She did, but the person didn't answer. She then said she smelled alcohol on my breath and asked if I had been drinking. I said I had ran out of gas. Soon after another officer arrived and asked if I would take field sobriety tests. I said no. I was then placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI. Then I was taken to police station and breathalized at .096. I had a independent sample taken. This is my first DUI charge, what are my options to avoid a suspended licencse verdict from the judge? How can I get out of this? Also, even though I was in vermont I have a New Hampshire license, doas this effect my case?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your question. I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you submitted your question.
The fact that your license is issued by New Hampshire and that the DUI arrest was in Vermont shouldn't affect the matter greatly. It changes the suspension process a little, but a suspension should generally go through anyway. Basically, VT would order the suspension and forward it to NH, and NH would fulfill the suspension. From the date of your arrest, you have 7 calendar days to request an administrative hearing to prevent an administrative license suspension. Your attorney will handle that for you, but you need to act right now - today.
You may have defenses to the charges. It may be that the state has no evidence that you operated your vehicle while you were intoxicated and that, along with other possible defenses, could assist you in fighting the charge. DUI is complex, highly procedural, and scientific, so you want an attorney who regularly handles DUIs representing you to help you develop and field your defenses.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Doas the fact that I was 3 miles away from the car have any relevance here? I havn't gotten the independent drug test back, what would be a good result from that test that could benefit me? is a 90 day suspension mandatory if convicted, or are there lesser suspensions?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
I apologize for the brief delay. I was responding to another customer when you replied and I could not view your reply until now.
Yes. That could all work in your favor, as might anything that indicates that the test officers ran was faulty. However, the independent test may not be relevant, as alcohol dissipates from the system fairly quickly. The 90 day suspension would be mandatory if convicted of DUI. However, even if your attorney cannot defeat the charge, he may be able to negotiate a favorable plea to a lesser offense for which a suspension may not be mandatory. Even so, you'd still need to deal with the administrative hearing issue right now.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What is the difference between a civil and criminal charge as it refers to DUI. At this first court date, can I extend and say that I need time to raise money for attorney? If so, how long could I extend? Is this first court date where I decide whether to plead guilty or go to trial? In your opinion, since this is my first DUI with no criminal record, what do you think that outcome would be if I simply plead guilty, considering the situation. Do I need a lawyer? Take your time.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
There really isn't a civil DUI charge. A civil suit might occur if you had hurt someone or damaged property while you were driving. I suspect you're referring to the administrative hearing we discussed above.
The administrative hearing is a simplified administrative proceeding to suspend your license. The state has a lower burden of proof than it does with a criminal matter, and that's why you're receiving so much less opportunity to respond.
You could ask the court for a continuance to retain an attorney. However, if it's going to a take a while, the judge may grow tired of granting continuances (and they are discretionary for him). If you cannot afford an attorney, you may wish to ask the court to appoint one for you. Alternatively, your attorney may accept payments or credit cards.
I think it would be a huge mistake to simply plead guilty without retaining an attorney. You do need an attorney and you may very well have a basis for a defense. In any case, if you're convicted or plead guilty, it's not likely, for a first time DUI, that you'd do any substantial jail time, but you'd face substantial fines, a license suspension, possible substance abuse classes, and higher insurance rates when you get your license back. I really, truly believe that retaining an attorney so that he can evaluate your defenses, given what you've described, would be a really smart move for you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If I admitted to driving, although no officer pulled me over or saw me in my car, Is this a basis for getting arrested for a dui? Many people I have talked to have told me that "the key has to be in the ignition." Their proof would be all heresay since no one saw me in the car. is it legal to arrest only on admittance to driving? id there a difference if someone gets a DUI on a highway or back road? Also, doas the fact that my test taken (.096) was relatively close to the legal limit help me much?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Yes. Unfortunately, your admission is enough for an arrest and it could be enough for a conviction. Unfortunately, there are a lot of DUI myths and it sounds like your friends have fallen victim to those. An admission of guilt is admissible evidence. There's no difference in a DUI on a highway or back road. The BAC doesn't really help but, if your attorney can show that the machine may have been inaccurate, that could serve your defense.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Is the conversation I had with an attorney while I was being arrested in front of a camera admissable, or are the police supposed to turn the camera and sound off while talking to attorney. Also, after taking the first breathalizer test at the station, I was asked if I wanted another one. I answered no and was confused, then seconds later said yes I would and pleaded to have a second test. The policeman said it was already in the system and he couldn't change it. Do you think this could help with my defense.

Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Your conversation with your attorney should be confidential. Officers should have given you room to speak to your attorney without their presence and any other evidence of the conversation should be inadmissible. Yes. The lacking number of tests might potentially benefit you, as it may be easier to show inconsistencies with fewer tests than it would be with more tests. This is something your attorney will analyze in the process of developing your defense.
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