Previously I explained the procedure for a DUI trial in municipal courts in Mississippi, now I’m going to talk about what needs to be done before the trial. This is the preparation time, and it’s the most important part. This could be where the case is won or lost.
As a Mississippi DUI lawyer, there are going to be many things on my pre-trial checklist. They can include:
- Reviewing the arresting officer’s report. I’m looking to see if any mistakes were made or if there were any inconsistencies that can be pointed out. The officer is going to be seen as an authority figure in the eyes of the judge. You’re going to have to break down that image and create some doubt.
- Interviewing the officer. Talk to him or her before the hearing. You’ll know more about the case and you may get to use that as an opportunity to negotiate a better settlement.
- Find out what you can about the officer, particularly regarding disciplinary write ups, a history of not following procedure, or similar cases that have been dismissed. The arresting officer is the state’s chief, and often only witness. The more information there is to use against them in cross examination, the better.
- Watch the video (if there is one…some jurisdictions don’t equip their cars with cameras, or sometimes they don’t work). The video can be crucial to evaluate the client’s behavior, attitude toward the officer, and performance on field sobriety tests.
- Look at why the officer initiated the stop to see if it lacks probable cause. No probable cause = grounds to have the arrest thrown out. These aren’t easy to win but you never know what you’ll find when you start looking.
DUI trials must be prepared. You can’t just show up and expect to know everything. There’s a lot of information to gather and analyze, and the better job you do of that than your opponent, the better chance you give yourself of winning. Patrick Stegall is a Horn Lake MS DUI attorney. Contact him if you’ve been arrested.