Knowing how to find the best DUI Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina is critically important to the success of a DUI case if you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Columbia, South Carolina or a surrounding area. Very few attorneys have the skills, knowledge, training, tools, resources, and strategies that are needed to successfully resolve and win DUI cases. The American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys has compiled information from Judges, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors (the Top DUI Prosecutors in each State), DUI Prosecutors, current Law Enforcement Officers, former Law Enforcement Officers, and DUI Defense Attorneys to determine exactly what skills, knowledge, training, tools, resources, and strategies win the most DUI cases at trial and are also used to get DUI cases successfully resolved for the defense prior to trial.
Most people have no idea where to start and what to look for when finding the best DUI Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina to handle their case. We have compiled the following list of 12 very important things to look for in your search for the best DUI Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina.
- Does the attorney have access to and use the 14 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Police Training Manuals that are used nationwide to train officers in DUI investigations? It is critically important that the attorney has access to the 14 most currently available versions of these NHTSA Manuals as well as all versions of the manuals dating back to 1980. These NHTSA Manuals are the “Bible” of DUI investigations, all officers in the Country are trained in DUI investigations using these manuals, and the manuals contain the exact protocols and procedures that officers are required to use, start-to-finish, in each and every DUI investigation. Less than 1% of attorneys in the United States have access to and use the most currently available versions and all versions of the 14 NHTSA Manuals dating back to 1980. Attorneys who have access to and use these 14 NHTSA Manuals have a much higher chance of success on a DUI case.
- Does the attorney specialize in holding the arresting officer and the prosecutor accountable to the facts in DUI cases? Officers will claim (testify) at trials and hearings that they are highly trained, they understand their training, they followed their training, they conducted the DUI investigation properly, they conducted the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests properly, the defendant did not do well during the investigation, and the defendant’s performance is consistent with them being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Judges and Juries inherently tend to believe officers and will soak up their testimony and convict a defendant. However, an attorney who specializes in holding the arresting officer and the prosecutor accountable will be able to easily show that the arresting officer cannot be trusted, the arresting officer came nowhere close to following their training, they conducted the DUI investigation improperly, they did not conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests properly, and the evidence in the case clearly shows that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This is done by effectively cross-examining the officer using the NHTSA Manuals and cross-referencing each applicable question to exactly where the information comes from in the appropriate NHTSA Manual. This strategy forces the arresting officer to walk down through the case and win it for the defense. The arresting officer will immediately give the defense the information needed to win the case. If not, the arresting officer is immediately discredited using the appropriate NHTSA Manual, the officer is then forced to give the defense the needed information on the case, and the officer is then no longer viewed as a trustworthy source for the prosecution.
- Does the attorney have access to and use a database of cross-examination questions covering hundreds of scenarios commonly seen in DUI cases, where the questions are cross-referenced to the exact session and page where the information comes from in the appropriate NHTSA Manual? In order to successfully cross-examine an officer and hold the officer and the prosecution accountable to the facts in a DUI case, such a database of questions will streamline the attack for the defense. A streamlined attack will make it much easier for the Judge or Jury to understand exactly why the facts of the case show that the defendant is not guilty.
- Does the attorney have access to and use prosecution studies and resources against them at trial? There are many studies and resources that have been produced by the prosecution and their experts. Critical information is found in the studies and resources that the defense is able to use against the prosecution at trial and show that a defendant is not guilty.
- Does the attorney have access to and use an exhaustive Client Questionnaire that is designed to uncover hidden facts and “built-in” defenses? An attorney will commonly get Discovery on the case, which will include things like the police report and associated documents, video recordings, audio recordings, breath and blood testing documents, Drug Recognition Expert reports, toxicology reports, and more. However, this Discovery that is provided by the prosecution will not have all of the information needed for the defense of a case. An exhaustive Client Questionnaire is designed to get additional information from the defendant that will not be found in the Discovery and this extra information will help the defense win the DUI case. The questions on such a Client Questionnaire should be designed so that, if a defendant answers a question a certain way, the attorney immediately has information to fight and win the case based on information that is found in the NHTSA Manuals and other prosecution studies and resources. The NHTSA Manuals train officers that there are many medical conditions and everyday things that people experience that mimic impairment and will cause a person to appear to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when they are not. The attorney should know what these “built-in” defenses are and the Client Questionnaire should ask the client questions to determine what “built-in” defenses are available on each case.
- Does the attorney know what Endpoint Nystagmus and Optokinetic Nystagmus are, can the attorney explain how they interfere with a DUI investigation, and do they have a law enforcement video showing how easy it is for a sober person to be misdiagnosed during the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test? Unfortunately, many sober drivers are wrongfully arrested for DUI after “failing” the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, which officers are trained is the most accurate field sobriety test. These wrongful arrests often occur when an officer mistakes Endpoint Nystagmus and/or Optokinetic Nystagmus for Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Officers are trained that most unimpaired drivers have Endpoint Nystagmus and officers are also trained that Optokinetic Nystagmus can be created by an officer during the test by conducting the test improperly. It is very helpful for a client’s understanding of a case if an attorney can show a client a law enforcement video that shows how easy it is for a sober person with Endpoint Nystagmus and Optokinetic Nystagmus to be misdiagnosed and wrongfully arrested by an officer for DUI.
- Does the attorney have access to videos shown to officers during their required DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course that show exactly how they are to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? With these videos, an attorney can easily show their client exactly how the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are supposed to be conducted and then compare those videos with the arrest video and see exactly where the officer conducted the test improperly. Over 95% of officers conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests improperly and officers are specifically trained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the results of the tests are not valid when the tests are conducted improperly. These videos can also be shown at trial to prove to the Judge/Jury that the officer conducted the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests improperly during a DUI investigation.
- Does the attorney have access to the video shown to officers in their required DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course that teaches officers that a person’s eyes show the “truth” during the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test? This video is valuable for the defense because it explains to officers that there are interferences with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test and, because of these interferences, officers are required to do things prior to starting the test to determine if these interferences are possibilities on the case. Many officers do not do what is required, prior to staring the test, to determine if these interferences are possibilities on the DUI case. This video can be instrumental in proving to the Judge/Jury that the results of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test are not valid or reliable on a DUI case.
- Does the attorney have access to the Drug Category Reference chart that was developed by law enforcement and the prosecution? This Drug Category Reference chart is critical in defending DUI cases involving illegal and/or prescription drugs. The research indicated on this chart shows that many drugs are actually non-impairing substances. Unfortunately, people are commonly arrested and charged with DUI after taking a non-impairing substance. When the defense is armed with this Drug Category Reference chart, and is able to easily show that the drug taken by a person has been researched and determined to be a non-impairing substance by law enforcement and the prosecution, these cases are commonly dismissed. If the case is not dismissed, the defense can use this Drug Category Reference chart to get a not-guilty verdict at trial.
- Is the attorney able to get their clients discounts on Ignition Interlock Devices from companies like Intoxalock? Installation fees and monthly monitoring fees for Ignition Interlock Devices can be devastating to a person and it is important that your attorney has the ability to get their clients discounts on Ignition Interlock Devices such as: free installation, fee setup, a free month of monitoring, and/or monetary discounts of up to $100.
- Has the attorney attended the same 24 hour (3 day) DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course that officers take and/or is the attorney an actual instructor for the course? Through a small handful of private companies, defense attorneys are able to attend the same 24 hour (3 day) DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course that officers are required to take before they are authorized to go out in the field and conduct DUI investigations. An attorney who has attended this course, or is an instructor for the course, knows first-hand exactly what the officers were trained with and they will be much better prepared to successfully pick apart, attack, and win DUI cases. Even though it helps attorneys win a lot more DUI cases, very few attorneys have taken the time to attend this type of training that is so powerful in helping their clients.
- Does the attorney know national experts who can assist as needed on their DUI cases? When an attorney effectively uses the NHTSA Manuals at trial, testifying experts are often not needed for the defense. This is important because it saves a client a lot of money. It doesn’t cost a client anything extra for their attorney to open up and use the NHTSA Manuals against an officer at trial and such a strategy will save a client thousands of dollars versus having to pay an expert to fly in and testify on their case. However, with some cases and fact patterns, a testifying expert may become necessary and it will be important that the attorney knows national experts who can assist on the case if needed. While testifying experts are not commonly needed to win DUI cases, a consulting expert can be of extreme value to the defense. Consulting experts are commonly former law enforcement officers who specialized in DUI investigations while they were in law enforcement. The best consulting experts are former officers who were certified Drug Recognition Experts and made 1,000 or more DUI arrests during their career. Such a consulting expert will be able to identify exactly where the arresting officer conducted the investigation improperly and they will be able to uncover critical facts in the case that show a defendant was not guilty. The fees for consulting experts are quite low and their analysis of a case can be the difference between winning and losing a case.
While attempting to find an attorney who can give you the desired answers to items number 1 through 12 above can seem like a big project, the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys has made the task much easier for you. While you are certainly welcome and encouraged to do online searches and contact various DUI attorneys and see what their responses are for items 1-12 in this article, we recommend that you save time and start your search by contacting and talking to attorneys in your area who are a Member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys. It might be interesting for you to compare the responses to items 1-12 in this article with attorneys who you contact and talk to who are not a Member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys versus those who are a Member. In order to help you find the Best DUI Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina, we have provided our Members with access to the tools, resources, training, and strategies that have been researched to win the most DUI cases at trial and are also used to get DUI cases successfully resolved for the defense prior to trial.
To find the Best DUI Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina, please click on the link below to view Members of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys in your area.
Information in this article is the opinion of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys (AAPDA), it is not legal advice, and it should not be viewed as legal advice. AAPDA does not guarantee or imply the competence level of any attorney, whether or not they are a member of AAPDA. When hiring an attorney, a person should personally contact the attorney and confirm the attorney’s skills, knowledge, training, tools, resources, strategies and other credentials. Any decision to hire an attorney should be based on a person’s satisfaction, after contacting the attorney, that the attorney hired is who they feel comfortable with and want to represent them. The specific outcome of each DUI case cannot be anticipated or guaranteed by AAPDA, or anyone else, as many factors can affect the outcome of each individual case.