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Drunk driving: Avoid a conviction with these tips

You wanted to have a good time out with coworkers, and you planned to stay sober that night. After a while, your thoughts changed. You thought you could get away with a single drink here and there and still have the ability to get home safely.

Around a block from your home, you saw an officer turn on his lights and head your way. He said your rear tail light wasn't working, but then noticed that you smelled of alcohol. He asked you to take a field-sobriety test and to take a breath test, where you failed at the .08 percent limit.

What can you do now to protect yourself against a conviction for drunk driving?

1. Don't incriminate yourself

The first thing that you should do is remember to stay quiet. Don't tell the officer how much you had or suggest that you were out drinking. You have a right to stay silent and should to protect yourself. You can speak with your attorney and decide what you want to tell police.

2. Come to court with the right attitude

When you do need to go to a hearing or court date, look the part of a good citizen. Wear a suit or business casual, well-fitting outfit that is appropriate for the occasion. Show that you're respectful of the judge and be on time. Just presenting yourself in a respectful way can have a positive impact on your case.

3. Question everything

It's your attorney's job to question every piece of evidence and to make sure the prosecution has it available for the court date. If the evidence goes missing or you can show that it was collected illegally, the prosecution's case goes out the window. Likewise, you should question the officer's reason for pulling you over, his or her training in sobriety tests and breath testing, and any other aspect of the arrest. There are many steps officers have to follow, and if your rights were violated, you'll have a potential way to get the case dropped.

It is never easy to live with a DUI, so it's in your best interests to do what you can to question the officer's claims and to defend your reputation. A DUI conviction could impact your job, home life, schooling and other parts of your life, so it's always best to do what you can to have that conviction taken off the table in court.

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