DUI Defense: Denial of Right to Counsel
The laws governing criminal conduct and criminal procedure are quite complex, but there are some widely known aspects, such as the premise that you are entitled to speak to a lawyer when you are arrested. Despite the fact that this right is common knowledge, law enforcement agencies still violate this right with some frequency. In the case of DUI charges, securing quick access to an attorney is key, as your body eliminates evidence of the charge – your blood alcohol level – minute by minute.
As a result, denial of the right to counsel in this context can be particularly damaging. When you clearly request a lawyer, the police must stop questioning and provide you with a phone and privacy to call a lawyer. As explained by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. State of Arizona, your request must be clear and unambiguous – simply saying, “I think I should talk to a lawyer” is not sufficient. Phrases such as “I need a lawyer” or “I want to talk to a lawyer” will eliminate any ambiguity.
The guidance a lawyer can provide in DUI cases is uniquely valuable, as the case Holland v. State of Arizona established eleven questions a lawyer should ask to adequately represent you in such matters. Your lawyer can also advise you to request an independent chemical test and provide an estimate of your approximate blood alcohol level to provide more clarity and support you in fighting your charges effectively. Your lawyer also can offer advice on whether or not to answer questions or submit to further tests. Because of these advantages, having a lawyer is crucial, and the denial of your right to counsel can be highly detrimental.
If you have been arrested on charges of driving under the influence, you need to take your charges seriously and contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you are faced with this type of scenario, you should find a defense attorney who is dedicated to helping you exercise your legal rights and options without improper actions by law enforcement, such as denial of the right to counsel.
The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor handles DUI Defense in Tempe, AZ in addition to working in courts across the State of Arizona. David Michael Cantor is a lifetime member of the National College for DUI Defense.