The Basic Steps Of A DUI Defense

Posted on: 10 February 2021

Defending yourself against DUI allegations can feel like a massive task. Judges generally place a lot of weight on reports, evidence, and testimony from police officers. If you're going to mount a defense, it's important to get the basic steps right. Here's what you need to know about the process of presenting a DUI defense.

Write Contemporaneous Notes ASAP

Your memory of events is likely to fade faster than you'd expect. Write down whatever you remember about when the police detained you, why they said they needed to, how they conducted themselves, and which tests were administered. If you're not sure about something, make a notation next to it indicating as much. Everything you can remember will help you decide whether and how to present a defense.

Responding Quickly

Most jurisdictions send notices within a few days of an incident. They also generally want defendants to respond within 14 days or even fewer. That means you have to tell the court whether you want to contest the charges within that time, otherwise, the judgment defaults against you.

Make copies of everything you get from the court. Store the originals in a safe place, and make notes about which days you receive correspondence.

Obtain Counsel

Contact an attorney as soon as possible so you can set an appointment. This is critical because you want to make sure a lawyer has read all of the paperwork from the court before you respond and ask for a hearing date. Be sure to follow their lead and counsel.


There's a decent chance that your lawyer and the prosecutor assigned to the case may be able to negotiate a plea. For example, you might be able to bargain a DUI down to reckless driving, potentially saving your record from a bigger hit.

If the case proceeds to a hearing, you have the right to demand discovery. Your DUI defense attorney can ask for evidence such as police videos, equipment logs, and communications from the time of the arrest.


Presuming the two sides don't reach an agreement, there will be a hearing. If your lawyer found problems with some of the evidence in discovery, they may ask the court to dismiss the charges. Otherwise, your DUI attorney will have to either present arguments to a judge or demand a jury trial for a later date. If a trial is ordered, a jury will be impaneled to hear the case and render a verdict.

For more information, contact a DUI defense attorney.