If you were involved in a DWI accident, there are several things you'll need to do in order to protect yourself. It will help ensure the best possible outcome for the situation.
Don't Make A Statement At The Scene of The Accident
A police officer will be dispatched to the accident scene and they will request that you tell them your side of the story. You are not legally obligated to tell the police officer what happened at this time, and don't have to give them an oral or written statement about the accident. If you chose not to give them a statement immediately, it will help protect you. All statements made to the officer are recorded, and will be put on the police report regarding the accident. If you are charged with a DWI, anything you say could be used as evidence in court by the prosecutor.
You will need to eventually give a statement to the police regarding the accident though. You can inform the police officer that you'll give them an official statement later, as it will give you plenty of time to speak with a DWI lawyer about a potential defense strategy. Work with a lawyer to write the statement soon after the accident while you still remember everything. This statement will help minimize potential damages related to the DWI, as your lawyer will help document your side of the story while you can think with a clear head.
Understand the Consequences Of Not Taking A Sobriety Test
The police officer may ask for you to perform a sobriety test, which could include taking a breathalyzer test or performing a specific task. You do not have to take a sobriety test, but there are ramifications if you decide not to.
The results of the sobriety test can be used against you in court as evidence, and help determine if you were drunk when the accident occurred. A lawyer could challenge these results so they are thrown out of court, especially if it was a physical task that could be subjective. Breathalyzer readings are much harder to dispute.
Refusing the officer's requests to take a sobriety test could result in additional legal action taken against you. There are laws that require you to comply and take the test. and refusing to can result in being ticketed and having your license suspended. It can also be a factor in your DWI court case.
If you end up having to go to court for a DWI charge, your lawyer will help you negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor to minimize damages. To learn more, contact Patrick McLaughlin Esq.