Arrested for a DWI or DUI?
Little Rock DWI & DUI Attorneys | Arrest FAQs
Is getting a refusal bad?
Yes, Refusal to take a chemical test under Act 106 results in additional penalties explained in the Arkansas Criminal Code at 5-65-310 and 5-65-205 and they are too complicated to be explained in the limited space available here. Contact our lawyers. Basically, it is a stair-stepping offense which can negatively impact your driving privilege.
Do I have a right to talk to an attorney before deciding if I want to take the breath, urine, or blood test?
No. The Courts have ruled that giving a sample for chemical analysis is not testimonial in nature and therefore does not require attorney representation. This can be very confusing when an officer reads you the Miranda rights informing you of your right to an attorney, but says you may not speak to an attorney before deciding whether to give the breath, urine or blood sample. The Miranda rights only apply to incriminating statements. The controlling law concerning alcohol testing is commonly referred to as the “implied consent law.” In Arkansas, the criminal code states that if you operate a motor vehicle it is implied that you have given consent to take a sample of your blood, breath, or urine to be tested for alcohol or drugs. In order for the implied consent law to apply to you, the police must show that they had reasonable cause to believe you were in actual physical control or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of the two. Call one of our attorneys to discuss your particular case.
What if I have a commercial license?
If you were in a private vehicle (non-commercial) when you got your DWI, you may be able to get an interlock device on your private vehicle, but it will not allow you to drive a commercial vehicle. If you have a commercial license and you wish to continue driving for work, you need to get legal representation as soon as possible. Many truck drivers find they can no longer make a living without their CDL. In some circumstances we can postpone the suspension of the CDL until after your court date. Then, if you are found not guilty at trial, you will be able to avoid the license suspension altogether. However, the time frame to do such a postponement is limited. Therefore, it is critical that you contact a DWI attorney as soon as possible so that you will not miss the opportunity to continue working. Call our DWI law firm to get more information.
How long do I have to request an administrative hearing on my license; are there any time limitations?
Yes. You only have seven days to send in your request for a hearing form (the pink sheet). Failure to do so could result in your inability to get an interlock order. It can also result in the loss of your right to file an administrative appeal. An attorney at our firm can help with this process.
Do I have to get an attorney to help me get a hearing at driver control?
No. But many times an attorney can help you through the system to make sure all requirements are met. Contact one of our Arkansas DWI & DUI attorneys and we can discuss your options.
What tests do the officers do on the side of the road?
The most common sobriety field tests performed by police are: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), one-leg stand, and the walk and turn. These are the only three tests that have been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Officers sometimes use various other tests to help them determine impairment, but those tests have no scientific basis and can often be excluded from the case. Officers will also frequently give a field breath test which is used for probable cause to arrest for DWI or DUI but the results of this preliminary breath test (PBT) can not be used as evidence in Court. Also, most times the officer will violate his/her own training and perform the PBT too soon rendering the results invalid.
Can the officer use a non-certified test to determine if I am drunk?
NHTSA has advised that any test which helps the officer determine intoxication may be used; however, courts have ruled that these tests have no scientific reliability.
Where do these tests come from?
In 1975 NHTSA sponsored a series of studies to determine a battery of tests that would provide officers with standardized and reliable evidence of impairment.
Six tests were given to 238 volunteers by 10 different law enforcement officers:
One leg stand
Walk and turn
Finger to nose
Tracing (paper and pencil test)
The research indicated that only the following three tests were reliable if administered in a standardized fashion:
One leg stand
Walk & turn
The remaining tests were found to be too unreliable to qualify as approved tests.
How reliable are standardized field sobriety tests in determining if someone is drunk?
First, you must understand that these are “standardized tests.” They are not valid unless properly performed in a standardized method. If performed properly, the tests have the following accuracy rates:
Walk and Turn = 68% accurate
HGN = 77% accurate
One leg stand = 65% accurate
NHTSA suggest that a walk & turn HGN matrix could yield 80% accuracy when used together.
The problem is that the SFST are rarely performed in a standardized manner. Officers have modified the tests and don’t do them in the exact manner validated by NHTSA. Intimate knowledge of the field tests is essential to a proper defense. An attorney defending DWI cases must know these tests inside and out and be very knowledgeable regarding the way they are conducted, their accuracy rates, the studies used to validate them, the ways that officers do them incorrectly and the legitimate reasons why a person may not be able to perform the tests. Call one of our Arkansas DWI attorneys to discuss the tests you were given.
If I fail the field sobriety tests, does that mean I was intoxicated under the DWI law?
Absolutely not. There are many things that can cause someone to fail the field sobriety tests. The NHTSA has listed several circumstances under which a person should not even be given the tests because the tests are not valid indicators of intoxication if certain circumstances exist. For example, extremely overweight persons should not be given the walk and turn or the one-leg stand. Nor should people over the age of 65. Often, a police officer will report that a person has failed the field tests, when, in fact, the officer did not follow the standardized testing procedures or the standardized scoring of the tests. When our attorneys cross examine police officers regarding these tests, we are able to show a judge or jury that our clients’ alleged “failure” of the tests were actually the result of the officers’ mistakes and not the result of intoxication. Additionally, courts across the country have recognized many legitimate reasons people may not be able to perform the tests, reasons that have nothing at all to do with whether a person is sober or intoxicated. Call to discuss your specific test results with one of our Arkansas DWI attorneys.
Have these field tests been validated?
In 1983 NHTSA validated the battery of tests in the field rather than a laboratory setting and determined a need for a standard scoring process. In conducting these “studies”, the NHTSA came up with standardized ways of conducting the tests and standardized clues for scoring the results. It is important to note that none of these studies have been peer reviewed as is typical in the scientific community.
What can I expect at my plea and arraignment for my DWI or DUI?
Your plea and arraignment is the court date, usually written on the ticket you receive from the police, that is your first appearance for your DWI case. On this date, one of two things can happen. Either you plead not guilty and a trial date is set, or you plead guilty. No evidence will be presented and you will not be allowed to tell your story. Those things will happen on your trial date. If you do not have an attorney present, you will likely be asked to sign a waiver of counsel. Make sure you read the waiver very carefully. DWI and DUI have severe consequences and you need to know what rights you are giving up.
Do I need an attorney for the plea and arraignment for my DWI or DUI?
That is a trick question. Technically, you can proceed with your DWI case without an attorney. The Courts will allow you to do so, but you must sign a form waiving your right to an attorney. If you waive your right to an attorney you are giving up your chance to have the law and the consequences explained to you. Neither the Judge nor the prosecutor is allowed to give you legal advice. Many people do not realize the severe punishment they could receive for a DWI conviction. More importantly, they are not aware of the rights they have and the burden that must be met by the State to prosecute a DWI. Also, if you hire an attorney at our firm we can most likely save you the time and embarrassment of having to go to the plea and arraignment. Frequently, we are able to enter our appearance on behalf of the client, plead the client not guilty, and request a trial date without the client missing work to attend.
If I plead not guilty is that going to make the Judge mad if I later change my plea to guilty?
No, because at this stage of the case, it is almost always too early to make the decision to plead guilty. It would be extremely unusual for the State to have the case paperwork available for review prior to the plea and arraignment date. As a result, you must plead not guilty in order to see the evidence to determine if the State can actually prove their case. Many DWI’s are won based an improper procedure, an invalid test, or a faulty machine. It would be impossible to know if the facts of your case fall into that category if you do not wait until your attorney sees the paperwork on your case. Judges realize and expect an attorney to plead their client not guilty until the attorney has had the opportunity to examine all of the evidence and reports to determine if the client has a defense.
Other people have told me it is impossible to win a DWI (including several attorneys), why should I try to fight it?
Deciding to fight a DWI is a personal decision and should not be made lightly. In some cases, there are no plausible defenses; but many times there are. Our lawyers have won a great number of DWI cases. Although we guarantee no results for a particular case, we can make one guarantee: If you hastily plead guilty without having a qualified person examine your case, you will in fact be found guilty and suffer all the consequences of doing so. If you hire an attorney who is experienced in DWI trial work, you at least have a fighting chance. We have been told by a number of clients that other attorneys have told them there is no way to win a DWI case. This is all too often the opinion of attorneys who are not familiar with the intricacies of DWI practice. Many people believe that if a machine says you had a BAC of .08 or greater, then you will automatically be found guilty of DWI. This is simply not the case. The machines are not infallible, but it requires an attorney who is educated and trained on the specific functions of the testing machines and knows the science behind the numbers to show the judge and/or jury that the number does not necessarily tell the whole story.
See our Success Stories Section to read the facts of real cases where our clients were found Not Guilty. Contact an attorney at COLLINS, COLLINS & RAY to discuss the specifics of your case and then decide if you want a fighting chance.
Why shouldn’t I just use my family attorney; he/she is likely much cheaper than your firm?
We encourage people to examine all avenues prior to making a decision on which firm to hire. Speak with your family attorney and speak with an attorney at our firm. If you believe that the family attorney can provide a valuable service at a reasonable price, then you should consider hiring them. However, if you believe that you need an attorney who has more knowledge and experience specific to the practice of DWI cases, and if you believe we can provide the help you need, then you must decide what it is worth to you. Many people only consider the fine amount when trying to decide if they should hire an attorney. Our fee is based on the work we do; not on the potential fine amount you would have to pay. These are complicated cases with multiple issues to investigate and research. When deciding if you need an attorney and how much you are willing to pay that attorney, consider not just the potential fines you may be required to pay, but also the social stigma, potential increase in insurance, potential loss of income or promotion at your place of employment, loss of your license, jail time, and consequences of enhancement if caught in this situation again.
How many DWI, DUI, or Drug cases does your firm handle?
Over 98% of our firm’s caseload is comprised of alcohol and drug related offenses. It is what we do! Call one of our attorneys today to see if we can help you. 501-603-9911