10 Rules to Follow At Your DUI Trial

Testifying at your own DUI trial can be a terrifying and nerve wrecking experience. Your lawyer will provide you with some NICKEL and DIME pointers that will help you give an effective testimony at your DUI trial.Memphis TN Drunk Driving Lawyers

What Does “NICKLE” Stand For?

Nervousness is acceptable. It is very understandable for you to feel and appear nervous. The jury understands, so admit it freely.

Intense listening is crucial. It is very important that you actively listen to the each question by either your lawyer or the prosecution.

Count to three before giving an answer. This slight pause will provide you with enough time to think about what is asked, while allowing your Memphis, Tennessee DUI lawyer to properly object.

KISS, or “keep it simple, stupid”, applies here. Instead of elaborating, give short answers that are to the point

Exact answers to each question. Do not attempt to rephrase the questions to what you think is being asked. Answer each question exactly as it is asked.

Look up at the jury when giving an answer. You are not hiding anything, so don’t act like it.

What Does “DIME” Stand For?

Demonstrate when appropriate. It is a good tactic to SHOW the jurors, instead of just telling them.

I Don’t Know is a perfectly acceptable answer when true. The jury will understand if you do not know the answer to a specific question or cannot remember a fact.

Make eye contact with individual jurors. This may be an invaluable tip during jury deliberations.

Emote. It is acceptable for the jury to witness your emotions regarding the facts surrounding your DUI arrest.

Contact Us

Making the decision to testify at your DUI trial can have huge consequences on your entire case. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to provide you the support and the assistance in making your testimony effective.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with DUI attorney David Willis, please call (901) 383-3283.

 

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DUI Charges: The Tolerance Factor

There are many factors your Memphis DUI lawyer will take into consideration in analyzing the DUI charges against you and preparing a solid defense to fight said charges. One major factor is your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of your arrest. BAC levels are often used to gauge driving intoxication. However, it is important to note that BAC levels, especially for those individuals with high alcohol tolerance, may not really correlate with intoxication. Memphis TN Drunk Driving Lawyer

How Alcohol Tolerance Develops

There are several hypotheses, based on extensive research, that attempt to explain how alcohol tolerance actually develops.  According to one hypothesis, continuous alcohol interference makes cell membranes become stiff due to an increased level of saturated fat or cholesterol in the membrane.

According to another hypothesis, alcohol interferes with the sodium and potassium channels in the membrane, which are needed for normal cell impulses. With continuous consumption of alcohol over a period of time, the enzymes responsible for activating the sodium and potassium channels will get used to working in overdrive in order to compensate for the alcohol interference.

A third hypothesis theorizes that an individual’s continuous alcohol consumption significantly alters the way that neurotransmitters, GABA and serotonin, and brain alcohol dehydrogenase function.

Your Memphis DUI lawyer may be able to use these hypotheses of alcohol tolerance to build a defense for your DUI case.

What Happens as a Result of Alcohol Tolerance?

Once your body develops a tolerance for alcohol, you become desensitized to the effect of alcohol. You will need a greater dose of alcohol to get the same effects as you previously did with smaller doses.

Individuals who consume a lot of alcohol may get greater stimulant-like reactions while at the same time experiencing less of the sedative-like adverse side effects that are common in novice drinkers. In fact, alcoholics become increasingly tolerant of alcohol at higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, including levels that are potentially deadly.

We Can Help

For more information regarding how alcohol tolerance may impact the DUI charges against you, call Memphis DUI lawyer David Willis at (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Factors Affecting Absorption of Alcohol

Because there are various factors that affect the rate of alcohol absorption, which directly relates to your blood alcohol content (BAC), your Memphis DUI lawyer will analyze all the facts surrounding your DUI arrest to prepare a solid defense to the charges.Memphis TN Drunk Driving Attorney

When you consume alcoholic beverages, your blood alcohol content (BAC) changes based on the absorption of the alcohol in your body. Several factors affect your system’s rate of alcohol absorption, including speed of ingestion, strength of the particular alcohol you are consuming, and cigarette smoking.

Speed of Ingestion of Alcohol

The rate of consumption of alcohol has a significant impact on your BAC. Therefore, it is extremely important to closely monitor the amount of alcohol you drink over a given period of time. If you have an excessive amount of alcoholic beverages over a short time period, it may cause the pyloric valve in your stomach to seize and thus delay the absorption of alcohol.

On the other hand, if you consume alcohol over an extended period, your liver will have a greater chance to discard the absorbed alcohol in your system, thus resulting in a lower BAC.

Social drinking often requires individuals to drink over an extended period of time. However, it is often the case that most individuals, after having a few drinks over a long period of time, quickly drink one or two more alcoholic beverages before leaving. This type of consumption will cause a spike in their BAC and will be grounds for a DUI arrest.

Type and Strength of Alcohol

The strength of the alcoholic beverage you consume also plays an important role in your BAC. Drinks with high alcohol concentration can cause the pyloric valve to seize, delaying absorption for hours. On the other hand, drinks that are low in alcohol content will be absorbed more quickly and result in a much lower BAC.

The volume of alcohol consumed at one time will also affect your BAC. While a high dose of alcohol may slow movement of the digestive system and delay emptying of the alcohol from your system, a lower alcohol dose will actually accelerate stomach emptying.

Cigarette Smoking

Finally, cigarette smoking also has an effect on your BAC. Because smoking slows your bowel motility, it will delay the maximum absorption of the alcohol in your system.

Let Us Help

For more information about the different variables that affect your BAC and what role they may play in the defense of your DUI charges, you need to contact a Memphis DUI lawyer.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with David Willis, please call The Willis Law Firm at (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Field Sobriety Test: Walk & Turn Test

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) administered by arresting police officers in a DUI case leave plenty of room for a Memphis DUI attorney to challenge the validity of the resulting arrest and charge.Memphis TN DUI Law Firm

Not all officers who use these FSTs as a preliminary DUI assessment have been properly trained to administer and interpret the tests. Accurate administration requires that officers follow strict guidelines. All FSTs must be administered under certain rules mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Administration of the Walk & Turn Test

Proper administration of the Walk and Turn Test is no exception in that it must meet certain conditions. The ground where the test is to be given must be level, hard, dry, and non-slippery. Even under the most optimal conditions, giving this test to the elderly, people with leg injuries, or people with inner ear problems may invalidate the test results. Officers may still administer the test, but doing so will typically provide a DUI defense.

Your Memphis DUI attorney will check to see if the officer who administered the test met the following guidelines:

-          Instructed you put your left foot on the line and right foot heel-to-toe in front of it

-          Ensured that you understood that you had to remain in this position while the officer was giving the instructions

-          If you came out of this position, the officer stopped giving the instruction until you resumed the position

-          Informed you not to begin until instructed to do so

-          Demonstrated several heel-to-toe steps

-          Asked you to count the first step from the heel-to-toe position as the first step

-          If there was any staggering, stumbling, or other such disruptions to the routine, instructed you to continue from that particular point

We Can Help

However much an arresting officer may think that he is well trained or that he administered the FST perfectly, there is still room for error. So, if you are facing DUI charges, it is in your best interest to consult with Memphis DUI attorney David Willis to see if your DUI charge can be dismissed based on lack of proper evidence.

For a free consultation with David Willis, please call (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Dispute Objective Symptoms of Intoxication: Slurred Speech

Police officers and prosecuting attorneys in drunk driving cases often attempt to characterize the arresting officer’s subjective conclusions of the arrestee’s mannerisms and overall conduct as “objective symptoms of alcohol.” However, a good DUI attorney in Memphis can successfully present evidence that will undermine these so-called objective symptoms of intoxication to ensure you a fair and legal trial.Memphis TN DUI Attorneys

Slurred Speech

Slurred speech is one of the most disputed objective symptoms of intoxication alleged by arresting officers in a DUI case. A police officer may claim that the driver’s speech was slurred or “thick” and as such automatically deduce that the individual was intoxicated. However, that same officer will typically fail to state the clarity with which the driver communicated information concerning the alcohol consumption or any other details that are favorable to the defendant.

Other Factors Causing Slurred Speech

The other problem with using speech as an indicator of intoxication is that alcohol is not the only factor that causes an individual to slur their speech. It could be the cause of a condition called Ataxic dysarthria, which is a neurological disorder that causes a person to sound drunk.

Even more common, and the most likely reason for an arresting officer to make an unfair assumption of DUI based on slurred speech, is stress and fatigue. Stress can have numerous effects on speech. Being pulled over for a DUI is a stressful experience, which can cause drivers to get so nervous that they talk in abnormal, slurred-type speech.

Slurred speech and other such factors are physical indicators that can definitely be subject to non-alcohol related causes, and for that reason, they are not the most reliable indicators of whether somebody is in fact drunk or impaired.

We Can Help 

For more information about objective symptoms of alcohol and how it affects your drunk driving case, please contact a DUI attorney in Memphis. Call David Willis at (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Constitutionality of a DUI Roadblock

There are two main methods that your Memphis DUI lawyer can use to determine the validity of the roadblock or DUI checkpoint that was utilized to arrest you for drunk driving.Memphis Tn DUI Attorney

Reason for the DUI Stop

The first step in attacking a roadblock is to make sure it was the only basis for the DUI stop. Your attorney will properly evaluate the case to determine whether or not the detaining officer claimed there were any other reasons for the stop, such as traffic violations or equipment violations. If your lawyer finds any other reason for the drunk driving detention, then your DUI charges will be dismissed.

Constitutionality of the Roadblock

The second step is to determine if the sobriety checkpoint was created and operated in a constitutional manner. The Supreme Court has ruled on how roadblocks can be implemented, and there are certain requirements law enforcement offices must take to ensure the constitutionality of each roadblock or checkpoint. If the roadblock was not constitutional, then the DUI charges will also be dismissed.

We Can Help

Roadblock cases are unique to other DUI cases. As such, it is imperative that you seek the legal assistance of a Memphis DUI lawyer as soon as you have been arrested for a DUI at a sobriety checkpoint.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, call The Willis Law Firm at (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Arrested for a DUI As a Result of a Tipster?

The facts surrounding a DUI arrest resulting from a “tipster” call to the police must be analyzed by a Memphis DUI attorney to determine the legality of both the stop and the resulting charges. In order for this to be a valid arrest, evidentiary and legal requirements must exist. Memphis TN DUI Lawyers

Legally speaking, the police cannot simply pull over a vehicle identified by a tipster as a drunk driver. By law, the police have to observe the driver either doing something that would otherwise justify a drunk driving stop or violating some traffic law that, in and of itself, would justify the stop. In other words, the police need a valid reason to pull over the driver of a car that was reported by a tipster as a possible drunk driver. However, the problem is that since arresting officers know they need an independent reason to stop a car for a possible DUI, they will note something to that effect in their notes, even if not true.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney

This is where the representation of a Memphis DUI attorney is invaluable. Your attorney evaluate the facts surrounding your case to determine whether there was any valid reason for the police to pull you over, other than the anonymous phone call of a tipster. If not, then the DUI charges will likely be dismissed.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with David Willis, please call The Willis Law Firm at (901) DUI-DAVE.

 

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Reasonable Suspicion Requirement

In order for a police officer to stop you for drunk driving, he or she must have “reasonable suspicion” that you either violated a traffic law or engaged in criminal activity. There are various factors that your DUI lawyer in Memphis will need to take into consideration in determining whether your case has a viable motion to dismiss for lack of reasonable Memphis TN DUI Lawyersuspicion.

Personal Observance of a Traffic Violation

One of the most important factors to consider in determining the lawfulness of a DUI stop is whether the arresting officer personally observed you committing a traffic violation. Although there are a number of situations where an officer is justified in stopping a driver without having observed a traffic violation, the majority of DUI stops begin with the officer observing a violation of a traffic law.

Reasonable Suspicion to Pull Over for a Traffic Violation

The Supreme Court has held that in order for an officer to legally pull over a motorist for a traffic violation, he or she must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion of some sort of unlawful conduct. The officer need not have probable cause to stop a motorist. The probable cause is not used for a detention; it is used to determine the propriety of an arrest.

The standard for reasonable suspicion is quite vague in terms of evaluating the lawfulness of a motor vehicle stop, both for the arresting officer and your attorney. However, the difference between the officer and your lawyer is that the officer had to make a quick decision, while your lawyer can spend more time analyzing the facts of your case.

We Can Help

There is no magic formula to determine whether you case might have a viable motion to dismiss for lack of reasonable suspicion. Moreover, it is not always wise to bring this type of motion in every case. Therefore, you should always consult with an experienced DUI lawyer in Memphis to determine the merits of your case.

To schedule a free consultation with DUI attorney David Willis, please call (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Prosecution’s Perspective on Your DUI Case

DUI Law Firm in Memphis TNDepending on the specifics of your DUI case and the prosecution’s position, your Memphis DUI attorney may or may not advise you to go to trial. If the prosecution proposes a settlement agreement, there may be a weakness in its case. Either way, the prosecution will not voluntarily expose its position in a drunk driving case. However, a knowledgeable and experienced drunk driving lawyer in Memphis will be able to read the signals given by the prosecution and figure out the strength of the state’s case against you.

How to Approximate the Prosecution’s Position

The first, and easiest, way for your attorney to get a feel of what the prosecution’s position is regarding your case is to simply listen. A good defense attorney knows that if he lends the prosecutor an ear, it is possible that the prosecutor will reveal the state’s position, or at least parts of it.

Another way for your lawyer to determine the prosecution’s case is to actually look at the steps the prosecutor is taking. Most often, a prosecutor who intends to take a DUI case to trial will engage in extensive discovery, demands, and motions. Typically, attorneys do not engage in such extreme level of discovery if they are planning to settle their case.

Lastly, your attorney will gauge the prosecution’s case by attempting to feel out the dynamics surrounding the case. Even small details can make a big difference. For example, if the prosecutor’s recent calendar and case load is very busy, he or she may be overbooked with trials and may be more willing to dismiss or settle your DUI case. On the other hand, a prosecutor looking to build his or her trial statistics will be less likely to settle.

We Can Help

If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is imperative not to plead guilty before consulting with a Memphis DUI attorney. There are many techniques a good attorney can use to build a strong DUI defense. To schedule a complimentary consultation with David Willis, please call The Willis Law Firm at (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Initial Interview with Your Memphis DUI Attorney

The initial interview with your Memphis DUI attorney is important because you will discuss key issues regarding your drunk driving defense, establish expectations for your case, and lay some groundwork. During this initial interview, you will discuss various matters such as the incidents surrounding your arrest, the nature of your charges, penalties and likelihood of a dismissal at trial, and lastly the steps that need to be taken to properly prepare for the trial.DUI Attorneys in Memphis TN

Provide a Comprehensive Chronology of Events Surrounding Your DUI Arrest

In properly preparing for a drunk driving trial, your lawyer needs to know the specific details surrounding your DUI arrest. This includes a chronology of everything that happened from several hours before your arrest to the time of your release from police custody. You will also need to recount what you ate, exactly how many and what type of alcoholic drinks you consumed, and the length of time you consumed the food and drinks. Without these details, your attorney may not be able to put together the solid defense you need to win your case.

Provide a Record of Prior Convictions

It is also very important for you to provide details of every single previous incident that you have had with law enforcement. Prior records of conviction include any motor vehicle violations, as well as criminal convictions. This information is critical to the preparation of your current DUI case for two reasons. First, any prior convictions will mostly likely affect the possibility of plea negotiations with the prosecution. Secondly, any prior conviction may be the basis for a mandatory jail sentence, so your attorney needs to prepare a defense accordingly. Always be one hundred percent honest with your lawyer.

Let Us Help

We have years of experience fighting for your rights. If you have been arrested for a drunk driving charge, you need legal help as quickly as possible. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Memphis DUI attorney David Willis, please call The Willis Law Firm at (901) DUI-DAVE.

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Parker & Willis, PLLC
619 South Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: (901) DUI-DAVE
(901) 384-3283
(901) DUI-JOHN
(901) 384-5646 Alt Phone: (901) 525-8848

(901) 522-8200