Byproducts of the Human Metabolic Process Could Cause False Positive Breathalyzer Tests.

Alcohol is a naturally occurring chemical which is a byproduct of an organic process.  As we put organic substances together and they break down, various chemicals are left behind. Similarly, the fermentation process happens naturally in nature as leaves and organic material compost and create a changed substance.  Byproducts of this process are substances such as Nitrogen, Hydrogen Sulfide and other ammonia-like substances. It happens in controlled environments as well, such as when we brew beer or wine. Inside the human body, a physiological process which allows us to use organic material for fuel, also leaves behind a variety of chemicals as byproducts. These chemicals differ depending on our diet, exercise level and certain factors in our genetic makeup that differentiate how we metabolize our fuel.  One of the byproducts that has been gaining exposure in social media recently are Ketones. These are created in the body as an alternative form of fuel when glucose is unavailable due to certain processes in the body of a type 1 diabetic, or those on a low carb or very low calorie diet. When the body uses ketones as fuel, one of the byproduct of this process is acetone. Acetone can be further broken down in the body to Isopropanol. A form of alcohol which can be detected in our breath.

There have been court cases in which this process has been used as a defense when the defendant was a type 1 diabetic and had high levels of ketones in their blood, which therefore were producing this effect where acetone or potentially Isopropanol was detected in the breathalyzer test causing a false positive.   “If ketoacidosis develops, the diabetic person may experience a myriad of symptoms including dry-mouth or fruity breath odor, and keytones on the breath could theoretically register as ethyl alcohol on BAC breath tests. Brick, Diabetes, Breath Acetone and Breathalyzer Accuracy: A Case Study, 9(1) Alcohol, Drugs and Driving (1993). In Michaels v. State ex rel. Dep’t of Transp., the defendant, a type 1 diabetic, claimed his blood-alcohol levels may have been affected by ketoacidosis. 2012 WY 33, ¶ 8, 271 P.3d 1003, 1006 (Wyo.2012).” Supreme Court of Wyoming. ANDERSON  v. The STATE of Wyoming, 2014.

There are other circumstances where this chemical process will happen in the body of people without a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.  Diets that are very low carb or no carb “ketogenic” diets, which are rapidly becoming a norm for use in weight loss can trigger this same chemical reaction in the body, producing a buildup of ketones (or ketoacidosis) leaving byproducts that look like alcohol to a breathalyzer machine. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the USA has found that dieters and diabetics may have acetone levels which are hundreds and even thousand of times higher than those in others. Acetone is one of the many substances that can be falsely identified and measured as ethanol by some breathalyzer machines.”  Tazhmoye V., Crawford Donovan, A. McGrowder, Joan M. Rawlins: An assessment of falsely convicted type 1 diabetics in Jamaica by using the breathalyzer test, 2011.

Low calorie diets that may still utilize carbs for fuel can also cause this process, (Very Low Calorie Diet) “VLCD treatment leads to ketonemia with high concentrations of acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate in the blood. The interlock device determines alcohol (ethanol) in breath by electrochemical oxidation, but acetone does not undergo oxidation with this detector. However, under certain circumstances acetone is reduced in the body to isopropanol by hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)”.  Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Mar;31(3):559-61. Epub 2006 Aug 8.False-positive breath-alcohol test after a ketogenic diet.Jones AW1, Rössner S.  

Based on the factors above which highlight the possibility for the human body to naturally produce certain chemicals that would be mistaken for ethanol in a breathalyzer test, one might conclude that with a growing population struggling with an obesity epidemic, an increasing amount of people adopting a low carb or no  carb, “ketogenic” diet, and he possibility of an extreme low calorie diet as a result of poverty, that the incidents of false positive breathalyzer tests in defendants who have consumed under the legal limit of alcohol, (or no alcohol at all) but may present with this metabolic picture, could be greater than law enforcement take into account. That being said, there is no reason to trust a breathalyzer as the only evidence that a driver was intoxicated.  A defense attorney, who practices in DUI should take into account the variety of physiological factors that have been scientifically tested more recently, which may indicate an error in the current system for testing a driver’s BAC on the roadside.

Proving a Vermont Marijuana DUI

Michael was unfamiliar with the rural Vermont road he was traveling on.  On his way to play some football in northern Vermont with a friend, Michael choose to make a pit stop off of exit 5 on the heavily traveled Interstate 91.

According to police affidavits, Michael was pulled over for staying in the passing lane as he approached the onramp to I-91.  The officer who pulled him over, a local sheriff’s deputy, stated that he could smell marijuana coming from the car. Michael admitted to the officer that he was in possession of under an ounce and he handed over the marijuana to the officer.

What could have resulted in a traffic ticket and a fine, turned into a criminal investigation due to the officer suspecting that Michael may be under the influence of marijuana.

Michael was subject to standard alcohol based field sobriety tests, and a roadside breath test, which showed that Michael had no alcohol in his system.

Instead of letting Michael go, the officer arrested him, alleging that he had probable cause to believe that Michael was under the influence of marijuana.  Attempts were made to contact a specially trained Drug Recognition Expert, whose 12 step evaluation is used to issue an opinion on whether a motorist is under the influence of drugs.  No such DRE was available to evaluate Michael on this evening.

Michael was subsequently lodged at the Southern State Correctional Facility, where he was released several hours later after being able to post bail.  Michael’s name and details of his arrest were released to the media and he was issued a citation to appear in court.

Michael hired an attorney and he plead not guilty.  Several months later, the State dismissed all charges against him.

Marijuana and Driving

Michael’s arrest illustrates the significant grey area surrounding marijuana use and its effect on operating a motor vehicle.  State legislators across the country are grappling with marijuana based DUIs as legalization for both medical and recreational use continues to gain momentum.

Currently 29 States have legalized medical marijuana use, while 9 States have enacted laws legalizing recreational use, with three; California, Massachusetts and Vermont enacting legalization that will take effect in 2018.

According to a recent Rand report, which was commissioned by Vermont lawmakers, household surveys found that 12 percent of Vermont’s population ages 12 and older— and nearly 30 percent of those ages 18 to 25—reported using marijuana in the past month.  “We have seen statistically speaking a slight rise in marijuana consumption over the last 15 years,” stated Ben Hansen, an economist with the University of Oregon who has conducted extensive research in the Marijuana market. “Meanwhile, tobacco and alcohol sales have been plummeting during that same time period.”

Proving a Marijuana DUI

The changing legal landscape has placed an urgency on developing reliable investigative criteria for Law Enforcement in order to support an arrest on suspicion of an operator operating under the influence of marijuana.

Vermont Bill H.501, which amended the drugged driving statute in 2013, gave law enforcement significant leeway in making arrest determination. Instead of requiring law enforcement to prove that the operator was “under the influence to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely”, lawmakers amended the language to only require that law enforcement prove the operator was “under the influence to the slightest degree”, which is the same standard used to charge individuals of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Lt. John Flannigan, the Drug Evaluation and Classification Coordinator for the State of Vermont, stated that the amendment has given additional power to law enforcement, that allows for the same standard to be used for all substances.  “There is no set criteria for law enforcement to reach a conclusion of impairment,” stated Flannigan, “There is no magic number of clues, in order to make an arrest, an officer must look at the totality of the circumstances”

The totality of the circumstances noted by Flannigan equates to the finding of Probable Cause which is necessary for a citizen to be arrested for suspicion of a committing a criminal offense.  The Vermont Supreme Court in the 2005 case of State v. Goldburg found that  probable cause exists when the affidavit sets forth such information that a judicial officer would reasonably conclude that a crime had been committed …” (internal citations omitted).

Much of the fact finding to support a reasonable conclusion of criminal activity falls on the shoulders of the 52 Drug Recognition Experts located within Vermont, commonly referred to as DREs. “We want to make sure that we provide specialized service to every corner of the State,” stated Lieutenant Flannigan. “We still have areas of need in the state and we are looking to fill those holes.”

Flannigan has acknowledged the evidentiary hurdles law enforcement face when investigating drugged driving cases as many of these cases hinge not only on the DRE opinion but also the results of blood tests, which can be taken several hours after a traffic stop, and analyzed several weeks after the arrest.  “It is very difficult and inefficient to get a timely sample of blood for a drugged driving case,” stated Flannigan. “We are looking at other bodily fluids that are less invasive such as the saliva test, which a lot of states appear to be moving towards.”

State legislators have begun to take steps to incorporate a roadside saliva test into Marijuana based DUIs.  The bill just recently was passed by the House of Representatives.

Although the Bill is meant to address some of the concerns associated with blood tests, the 2017 National Highway Transit Safety Association (NHTSA) report to Congress on Marijuana based DUIs has found “that saliva does not appear to an an accurate and reliable predictor of impairment from THC.”  

Flannigan argues however that these tests are merely used to confirm drug use, which taken with the other observations of a DRE are useful in establishing a case for drugged driving.

“Blood and saliva tests are excellent at identifying the drug that is causing impairment, but there is not a correlation between blood or saliva concentration and drug impairment”, stated Dr. Marilyn Huestis, former Chief of Chemistry and Drug Metabolism at the National Institute of Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program. Her research documented that small amounts of THC can be detected in chronic frequent cannabis users up to 30 days after last use. “There is no blood THC cutoff concentration that documents marijuana impairment in occasional and frequent cannabis users”, “For the occasional user, THC is out of the blood in 6-8 hours, but with the frequent user, THC can be stored for longer periods of time in fat tissue.  Having THC in the blood in the occasional user means recent use, but in the chronic user, it may not represent recent cannabis use. For this reason, I feel it is important to document impairment by a trained police officer or other witness, and then test a biological fluid (either blood or preferably oral fluid or saliva, to indicate which drug is producing the impairment.”

Marijuana and Crash Risk

The 2017 NHTSA report found that there are contradictions in the science based studies that have evaluated marijuana use and the risk it may impose on being involved in a motor vehicle crash.  Some scientific reports have found “minimal or no effect on the likelihood of crash involvement, while others have estimated a doubling in the risk of crash involvement.”

Hansen has stated that these conflicting findings may be due to the reduced risk taking behavior that those under the influence of marijuana partake in when operating a motor vehicle.  “There is limited evidence on the crash risk of marijuana influenced individuals,” stated Hansen. “What has been found is that there is a difference in risk adversity, where with alcohol you see an increase and in marijuana you see a reduction.”

Due to the limited scientific evidence, NHTSA has acknowledged that there is no set standard for marijuana impaired driving and thus, the onus for arrests falls solely on the shoulders of law enforcement.  “In 1908 the Model T was released, in 1910 we had our first drunk driving studies, the first quantification of DUI a level was in 1927 and the first drunk meters were constructed in 1938,” stated Hansen. “However, with marijuana DUIs, we are currently stuck in the 1920s scientifically.”

 

Exercise your right to remain silent when being pulled over for a Vermont traffic violation

One of the first questions that officers will ask you when they approach your vehicle is whether you know why they pulled you over.  This question is set up in a way that many motorists may feel like they must answer.  It is this initial statement, in most cases merely meant as a way to be cooperative with the officer, that can be later introduced in court and can be difficult to defend against.  Judges have found that these statements are voluntary and admissible, which means that even if all the other facts contradict the issuance of a Vermont traffic ticket or criminal citation, this statement alone can be enough to uphold a conviction.  A few tips for the roadside questioning are as follows:

  1.  Never reply with a substantive response to the question of why you think you were pulled over:  A simple “I am not sure sir” is sufficient.
  2. Make the officer’s job as easy as possible:  The less time an officer spends in your presence the better it is for both of you.  Have your license and insurance information ready, hand it to the officer as soon as he approaches the vehicle and keep the verbal exchange to a minimum.
  3. Remember, everything you say is likely being recorded:  Most officers have body cams or microphones connected to their uniforms and can catch the entire interaction between the officer and the driver.

Interacting with an officer on the roadside can be uncomfortable.  Of course you want to be polite to the officer, who is doing their job.  However, it may not be advisable to turn this cooperation into an admission, which may negatively effect any defense one may have to the issuance of a Vermont traffic ticket.

 

Vermont attorney Evan Chadwick completes Field Sobriety Instructor Training

Evan Chadwick, the founding attorney for the Vermont DUI/Criminal Defense Law Firm of Chadwick Law, finished an intensive four day training in Alpharetta, Georgia this week to become a certified DUI field sobriety test instructor by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA).

Evan Chadwick fresh off his completion of his DUI investigation instructor course.

The training required Attorney Chadwick to complete both a practical and written exam on teaching the principals of roadside DUI investigations by law enforcement.   “I am thrilled to have taken this course”, stated Attorney Chadwick while awaiting his flight home in Atlanta, Georgia.  “The training has given me further practical experience in evaluating DUI cases, and will go a long way in ensuring that my clients, who are facing a DUI in Vermont, will be best served in their pursuit of navigating the Vermont criminal justice system”

This recent certification furthers the field sobriety and DUI investigation practical student course which Attorney Chadwick completed in September of this year and allows him to give seminars to other practicing attorneys on the ins and outs of DUI investigation and the application of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (or SFSTs).  “The goal of any attorney should be to never stop learning”, stated Chadwick.  “Although I feel that this training gives me a wealth of knowledge in defending Vermont DUIs, I will continue to look for other ways to broaden my understanding on the complexities of Vermont DUI defense.

 

Vermont DUI attorney passes field sobriety practitioner course

Attorney Evan Chadwick recently completed a four day course that resulted in his certification as a field sobriety practitioner.  Using the same curriculum that trains all police officers, Attorney Chadwick passed both the practical and written test to earn his certification.

“The training I received is vital to my practice of Vermont DUI defense” stated Chadwick.  “By receiving the exact training law enforcement officers receive I am now able to better understand the nuances of the application of the field sobriety tests that may cause their application on the roadside to be questioned.”

Attorney Chadwick anticipates furthering his education in the near future, as he has been invited to attend the field sobriety instructor training this winter, which will allow him to apply for field instructor certification.  “Educating myself on the many facets of Vermont DUI defense has always been my long term goal” stated Chadwick.  “The more I understand the DUI investigation and where mistakes can be made, the better I can serve my clients in ensuring they receive the best defense possible”.

 

HGN-A Vermont DUI defendant’s worst and possibly best friend.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN is a key tool in law enforcement’s arsenal to investigate an alleged DUI.

Defined as the “involuntary jerking of the eyes that occurs when eyes gaze to the side” the HGN has been validated as one of the most reliable indicators of driver impairment when compared with all the other field sobriety and investigative tests officers employ while on the roadside.

If HGN is conducted correctly a 2013 San Diego validation study has found that it can be 88% accurate in detecting that a motorists BAC is above .08. The findings in an HGN test alone can give an officer the probable cause they need to arrest a motorist and bring them back to the barracks where an evidentiary breath test is taken.

As is the case with all field sobriety tests however, the key determination in the HGN is if the test was in fact administered properly according to National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards.

As a certified HGN practitioner who has gone through the certification process of administering the HGN, I can say with conviction that the NHTSA requirements are difficult to administer correctly in a controlled classroom environment, let alone in the wide variety of environmental conditions that an officer would face when conducting an HGN test on the roadside.

Timing, position of the stimulus (object motorist is to follow with eyes), medical conditions (such as head injuries) and the surrounding environment are but a few of the many factors that can play a role in the accuracy of the HGN. If any of these are comprised by failing to follow NHTSA guidelines, the entire test and, in turn a significant portion of the DUI investigation can be compromised, leaving serious doubt as to whether the officer has the evidence necessary to charge a motorist with DUI.

 

Beware! Increased police patrols on I-89/I-91 throughout Vermont this weekend

It is no secret that a holiday weekend brings an increase in traffic driving through the Green Mountain State.  This increase is especially felt on the two major highways which cross the State; I-89 and I-91.  As a result, Vermont Law Enforcement has made it clear that they will be increasing their presence on the highways in order to detect and deter unsafe driving behavior, with an emphasis on investigating DUIs and speeding violations.

According to the Valley News, there has been an expected dramatic surge in the number of vehicles on the road, including on I-89, which sees traffic counts of about 41,000 near the Vermont/New Hampshire state line on an average day.  This surge of traffic resulted in 100 motorists being issued tickets for speed violations and 8 for the use of hand held electronic devices during a joint task force of Vermont and New Hampshire Law Enforcement officers along the Connecticut river valley on Friday.

The interstate’s are customarily Vermont State Police turf.  Do not be surprised to see numerous green cruisers in the median along the highways this weekend.  Although safe driving is always the best defense to avoiding traffic tickets, in the event you find yourself with blue lights behind you, it is important to remember the following:

  1. Be polite;
  2. Be efficient in producing your license and insurance to the officer;
  3. Do not interrogate the officer; and
  4. Keep that PBA care in your pocket at all times and make no mention of it.

Safe travels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vermont Attorney Evan Chadwick Successfully Completes Drug Recognition Expert Training

Attorney Evan Chadwick of Chadwick Law, traveled to Alpharetta Georgia in order to participate in a vigorous three day training regarding the process and science behind a Drug Recognition Evaluation that accompanies many Vermont DUI prosecutions.

Attorney Chadwick received a thorough overview in the 2015 NHTSA/IACP DRE Pre-School & DRE 7-Day training curriculum that officers attend nationwide. Emphasis was made on analyzing a DRE case file, to include, the DRE Face Sheet & DRE Narrative report, how to compare the two with one another and with the Drug Symptomology Chart, as well as emphasis on each specific step involved in a 12-step DRE evaluation. Time was also be spent covering the IACP’s rules and regulations that officers are required to follow in order to become certified and to recertify as a DRE.

“The training I received was essential in furthering my understanding of the science behind a Drug Recognition Evaluation and what errors officers make in conducting these evaluations”, stated Attorney Chadwick. “It is a training that anyone who is serious about defending DUIs in Vermont needs to take in order to best serve their clients”.

What to expect in a Vermont DUI prosecution

Part 2  of the series on the Vermont DUI Process

Following the DUI investigation and the receipt of a citation, which tells you the date and time of the initial hearing on a DUI, the case turns from an investigation, into a prosecution.  For Vermont DUIs, the initial hearing is termed as an arraignment, which essentially means that it is the starting point of where the police officer’s work concludes and the Vermont State’s attorney’s work begins.  This article will touch on the basics of the formal process and give defendants a general idea of what to expect while their Vermont DUI winds its way through the court system.

Arraignment

The arraignment is where the defendant and their attorney are provided with the initial paper work (i.e. evidence) that supports the charge.  Affidavits from police, criminal background checks of all witnesses and other supporting documents are customarily produced at this hearing.  This packet of information does not constitute all of the evidence that the prosecution may rely on, but it serves as a good starting point for a defendant to understand what facts are being alleged and by whom.

After having time to review this information, the defendant and his/her counsel will appear before the judge and enter their plea to the charge.  If a not-guilty plea is entered, the judge will set a time for the parties to return to court and may also issue conditions that the defendant will need to comply with during the pendency of the case.  These conditions can range from informing your attorney of a change in address and coming to court when your told to do so, to checking in on a daily basis to a local police station to be subject to a breathalyzer.  The severity of the condition will be heavily dependent on the defendant’s personal circumstances and their prior criminal history.

The Discovery Phase

The 60-90 days between hearings affords both sides to the case time to review the evidence and request that additional information be provided, such as police video tapes, expert reports and other evidence that either supports or refutes the allegations.  This is also the time that motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case can be filed.  If a motion is filed, the Court can either rule based on the motion itself, or set the matter for a hearing.  If a hearing is set, this will likely push back the date of the calendar call or pre-trial conference until after the motion has been ruled on.

Pre-Trial/Calendar Call

After all legal issues are settled and, if the case has not been dismissed, the pre-trial/calendar call represents a chance for the state and defendant to come together to see if a resolution can be reached.  This hearing can last several hours as there are numerous cases that are heard during the same time block.   It is not an ideal situation for any defendant to be place in a crowded court room while they wait for their attorney to report to them the substance of their discussions with the State.

If it is clear however, that a deal will not be reached at this hearing, a lot of time can be saved if it is reported to the judge early on that the case should be scheduled for its next hearing.  This will allow the defendant to leave the courthouse and for discussions between the State and defense counsel to occur off the record at another time.

Final Jury Call/Final Calendar Call

This hearing, in theory, is the last chance for a defendant and the state to reach an agreement before a jury is drawn and a trial occurs.  In reality, given the court schedule and the backlog of cases waiting for trial, the first final jury call/final calendar call will likely not be the last chance, to settle a case before a jury is draw.  In similar fashion to the pre-trial conference/calendar call, a defendant’s case will be one of many heard that day and again may entail a lot of waiting while the state’s attorneys meet with defense attorneys and self-reporesented individual to discuss settlement.

Settlement or Trial

If the Vermont DUI case is not dismissed, there will come a time in the prosecution where  the defendant will need to choose between settling the case or  trial.  Regardless of what advice a Vermont DUI attorney gives, the ultimate choice on whether to settle or go to trial falls on the shoulders of the defendant.  Depending on the court calendar and the facts of the case, a defendant  may have up to a year before they are forced to make this decision.  However, when and what decision to make will fall solely on the individual facts of the case and the final determination by the defendant.

 

 

What to expect in a Vermont DUI investigation

For many facing a DUI first offense, this experience is the first time they have ever come into serious contact with law enforcement.  If arrested for a DUI-first offense in Vermont the initial handcuffing and ride in the back of a police cruiser certainly is enough to scare most otherwise law abiding citizens straight.  However, the initial contact with law enforcement, the roadside field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer submitted on the roadside are only the first steps in what can be a multi-hour process that constitutes the DUI-first offense investigation process in the State of Vermont.

The Processing

Once arrested, a defendant will be brought back to the arresting agencies barracks, where they will be submitted to a lengthy processing.  It is at this stage where many officers will shore up the evidence in their case, and it is where many defendants, mostly due to their unfamiliarity with the process, will end up incriminating themselves and thus reducing or eliminating all together the potential legal defenses they may have to the charge.

Miranda Rights

The first step in the processing is for the officer to issue the all too famous Miranda warnings, informing the defendant of their rights prior to interrogating them.  To boil down the rights afforded to defendants pursuant to the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case of 1966, it was found that:

The prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way, unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination. Pp. 444-491.

Simply put, if a Defendant is taken into custody they do not need to answer questions and cannot be punished due to their exercising this right.

In most Vermont DUI-first offense cases, the defendant wishes to be cooperative because they think they can curry favor with the officer and maybe handed a break.  There is a difference between being polite and courteous to the officer and being cooperative.  Certainly officers deserve a defendant’s courtesy however, they do not deserve a defendant’s cooperation.  A simple, “I would like to exercise my right to remain silent sir” achieves both purposes after an officer reads Miranda and protects the Defendant from providing evidence that will affect the outcome of their case later on.

Implied Consent

Officers are required to read from a prepared statement a defendant’s implied consent rights under the Vermont DUI statute (Title 23).  These rights inform the defendant of their right to either refuse or submit to a breath test at the station and the consequences of each decision.  For most officers, the breath test is the defining evidence in a Vermont DUI investigation and thus choosing to submit or refuse to a datamaster test may be the biggest decision the defendant makes.

Exercise right to consult with an attorney

Before deciding to either take or refuse a breath test, a defendant has a right to consult with an attorney of their choosing or with an on call public defender.  CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY PRIOR TO DECIDING ON WHETHER TO TAKE THE BREATH TEST IS CRUCIAL BE SURE TO EXERCISE THIS RIGHT!

An experienced attorney can go through the evidence that the officer currently has and can give sound advice as to whether the breath test may help or hurt the defendant in their defense of the charge and what risks are being run for either determination.  Further, the attorney can go back through the implied consent rights to ensure the defendant understands them fully so they can make an educated decision based on the entire picture.

Notice of Intent to Suspend 

If a defendant submits to the breath test and the reading is above a .08 of if the defendant refuses to submit to the test, the officer will issue defendant with a notice of intent to suspend.  This is a form that carries a white and yellow copy.  A DEFENDANT HAS 7 DAYS TO REQUEST a hearing on the license suspension.  If they do not, their right to operate a motor vehicle in Vermont will be suspended on a date certain that is defined in the notice.  It is important for a defendant to preserve their right to a hearing on the civil suspension and thus, sending in the request immediately after being released is a crucial element of the DUI process

Citation

After the processing is complete, an officer will issue a defendant a citation to appear in court.  This gives the date and time and location of where the initial court hearing will take place.  In many cases this arraignment is held during the middle of the working week and can pose significant issues to the defendant, especially if they live far from the courthouse.  Seeking a waiver of one’s personal appearance is not out of the question if the defendant engages an attorney prior to the arraignment date.  This attorney in many cases can seek court approval for the attorney to appear in defendant’s stead, thus relieving the defendant from taking a day off of work to make the trip for what is a relatively brief initial hearing.

In the next post, we will discuss the actual prosecution of the DUI case, the timelines associated with the court process and a discussion on what potential outcomes may arise based on the facts of the case.