First Offenses: Do You Really Need a DUI Lawyer?
According to the FBI, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times each and every day. However, only 3,200 are arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence on a daily basis. While the odds are technically in your favor, the reality is that you’ll likely get caught eventually. If and when you’re arrested for a DUI, it’s essential to understand the risks this will pose for your future — especially if you opt to go it alone.
A lot of people mistakenly believe that a first-time DUI arrest is no big deal. Although many first DUI offenses are classified as misdemeanors, that doesn’t hold true in every case. If your case is relatively straightforward and there’s strong evidence to show you were driving while intoxicated, a defense lawyer may not be able to negotiate on your behalf and may even advise you to plead guilty. But even if your DUI attorney can’t mitigate the punishment you’ll receive, at least you can rest assured that your rights will be protected if and when your case goes to court.
If your DUI case is fairly standard, it’s up to you as to whether you want to hire a DUI attorney. It’s typically recommended that you retain legal counsel, as representing yourself may prove to be a mistake. If nothing else, you’ll be taking an important step to safeguard your best interests and ensure you understand every part of the criminal proceedings. But if there are some points of doubt about your case or there were aggravating circumstances present, having help from defense attorneys will come in handy.
In instances where a driver’s BAC levels were extremely high, for example, or the driver’s actions resulted in the injury of another person, the legal consequences for this crime can be much harsher. Having a child present with you in the car at the time of your arrest can also result in felony charges. If these or other serious circumstances were a factor in your case, you may benefit from seeking out assistance from a DUI attorney. Because you could face serious prison time, it’s a smart idea to hire an experienced lawyer who could mount a sufficient defense and potentially reduce the charges against you.
Some cases may also hold the possibility of a plea bargain. If the evidence against you isn’t crystal clear, you may be able to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a plea bargain. For example, if your field sobriety test results can be called into question, your BAC levels were inaccurate, or arrest procedures were not followed, your DUI attorney may be able to help with a plea bargain and minimize the potential consequences you’ll face.
The experience and training that your lawyer can bring to the table can often provide you with peace of mind and the ability to negotiate in court. In most cases, it’s recommended that you hire a reputable attorney — even for a first DUI arrest. For more information on how our firm can help you, please contact us today.