About Polson & Polson DUI Law Firm

Question: What sets Polson & Polson apart from other DUI firms in Alabama?

Answer: Polson & Polson is founded on experience, education and focus. We are a statewide DUI defense law firm. We have over 50 years of cumulative experience between our senior partner, Mark Polson, and our junior partner, Whitney Polson. We handle hundreds and hundreds of DUI cases every year from the gulf coast of our state all the way to the Tennessee line.

In terms of education, we are members of the National College of DUI Defense, founding members of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association, members of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. We attend national seminars focused exclusively on training for DUI defense lawyers and we teach at local seminars throughout the state. We’re focused only on the practice of defending DUI cases.

Our practice is narrowed to only defend those accused in our state of DUIs. We’re able to stay up-to-date on the training the police receive so in court we’re ahead of the game and able to defend the case aggressively and to stay up with the current laws and defenses in the area of DUI.

Driving Under the Influence Case Wins

Question: Can you discuss some of your Alabama DUI case wins?

Answer: At Polson & Polson, we handle hundreds and hundreds of DUI cases every year. Some of the case wins that I can highlight just as a sampling are, recently we had a client that blew a .25 breath test after being stopped on the interstate for recklessly driving. When he was taken to the station and administered the breath test, the officer left the room and we were able, through our discovery process, to prove that one of the administrative protocols was breached and therefore we filed a motion to suppress and the breath test was thrown out of evidence. By the way that particular client was charged under what we call the A1 Subsection of the DUI statute, which really means his prosecution was solely based on what his breath result was, we were able to have this case dismissed. So even on the front end, it looked like a very severe case with the high breath. Because of our defense, he was able to be found not guilty.

Another example is, we recently had an Alabama state trooper stop one of our clients for going 98 miles an hour on the interstate. He was given field sobriety tests, which the officer or the trooper opined that he failed, and then was taken to the jail where he blew a .14 on his breath test. After a jury trial, he was found not guilty of DUI. As well, we recently had a professional with a professional license at stake charged with three counts of felony vehicular assault and one count of felony leaving the scene of the accident. After a lengthy period of litigation, we were able to have all felony counts dismissed, no jail time, and the person was able to save the professional license.

Representing Yourself for DUI

Question: Can I represent myself in my Alabama DUI case?

Answer: Any citizen accused of a crime does have the right to represent themself in a court; however, it is highly advised against because of the various pitfalls that are included within our DUI statute and the penalties that you could face. So, it’s highly recommended that you contact a DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your case and defend you in court.

What To Do After Being Arrested for DUI

Question: What is the first thing I should do after being arrested for DUI in Alabama?

Answer: It’s very important after being arrested for a DUI to immediately contact a DUI defense lawyer. There are various issues you need to be educated about, including your driver’s license and how to properly defend the case in court. The penalties are severe if convicted; however, there are a lot of things that can be done to aggressively defend your case and mitigate, if not eliminate, drivers license ramifications and penalties from the court.

DUI Sentence Enhancements

Question: Are there sentence enhancements for DUI in Alabama?

Answer: In Alabama, there are several ways that your sentence could be enhanced if convicted of DUI. Over recent years, the legislature has passed many different “get tough” penalties and laws in terms of DUI cases. These deal with recidivism issues and aggravating factors. Any prior conviction within a five-year period will increase your sentence under the Alabama DUI laws. A second conviction within a five-year period requires a minimum mandatory five days in jail, higher fines of up to $5,100 and a one-year drivers license revocation. As well, you would have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. A third DUI within a five-year period creates a minimum mandatory 60-day jail sentence and up to a $10,100 fine, a three-year drivers license revocation and a mandatory ignition interlock device.

A fourth or subsequent DUI within a five-year period is a felony that requires a year and a day sentence with a minimum 10 days to serve and up to a $10,100 fine, plus five years of drivers license revocation and a mandatory ignition interlock device. Another aggravating factor or sentence enhancement in Alabama is if your breath test result is a .15 or greater, even on a first offense, this creates a mandatory ignition interlock device being installed on your vehicle and double the minimum penalty being posed against you.

An additional enhancement in the DUI statute of Alabama is if there was a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of the stop. If this happens, you have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. As well, if there is any injury involved, an ignition interlock device is required. If there is any serious injury from an accident, you could be charged with a felony assault. And if a death is involved, you could face a murder or a vehicular homicide prosecution.

How to Answer Officer for DUI

Question: What should I say if an Alabama officer asks if I have been drinking?

Answer: When stopped by a police officer for an alleged DUI, like any traffic violation or roadside interaction with a police officer, a citizen only has to do two things as required by law. Number one is to identify themselves, which they can do simply by handing the license to a police officer. Number two would be to exit their vehicle if ordered to do so by the police. Therefore, on the roadside you have no obligation to answer any questions asked of you as to whether or not you’ve been drinking. If you do answer this question, assuredly it will be used against you in court. So, my advice would be not to answer any questions if you feel you’re under investigation for a DUI on the roadside.

Impact of Body Cameras on DUI

Question: Will body cameras on police officers impact the way that DUI investigations are conducted in Alabama?

Answer: Body cameras on police officers in DUI investigations will bring a lot of objectivity to the prosecution. If the video shows high levels of intoxication or a horrible performance on a field sobriety test, it’s something for the attorney and client to consider attempting to settle the case rather than if the body camera shows no signs of intoxication and positive performance on field sobriety test and/or inaccurately administered field sobriety test, it should be fertile ground to defend the case on. And so having a body camera, in my opinion, will be a positive thing in helping resolve the case one way or the other.

Inaccurate DUI Field Sobriety Test

Question: Is it possible for an officer to inaccurately report the results of a field sobriety test in Alabama? If so, how can a person defend him or herself against this?

Answer: It’s very possible for an officer to inaccurately report the results of a field sobriety test. First, the officer reporting the results of the field sobriety test must know what the actual standardization, what the actual criteria are for the test. And one of the first things that we do in defending the results of a field sobriety test are to challenge the officer’s training in the administration of the test.

Inaccurate DUI Police Report

Question: Is it possible for a police report to be inaccurate in Alabama? If so, how can a person defend against this false evidence?

Answer: It is absolutely possible for a police report to be inaccurate. All a police report is an officer’s opinion written on paper. In defending a DUI case, it’s very important not to look at the opinion but rather the underlying facts that the officer relied upon in informing that opinion. Therefore, in all cases that we defend, we gather objective information—such as roadside videos, body camera information, radio traffic—to try to balance and compare what the officer’s opinion is in his report vs. what actually happened.

DUI Impact of Fever on Breath Test

Question: Can running a fever impair the results of a DUI breath or blood test in Alabama?

Answer: Yes, running a fever could negatively impact a breath or blood test in a DUI investigation. Forensic blood and breath alcohol testing is premised upon certain assumptions; mainly in breath testing that your body temperature is 34 degrees centigrade. This is due to the assumptions needed in the blood breath exchange, or what we call Henry’s Law. Without correction, an elevated temperature could increase a forensic blood alcohol test.