Anyone can be charged with a DUI. Most people are unsure how to proceed after being charged. With the uncertainty of criminal sentencing, the benefits of retaining counsel far outweigh the cons. Here are some reasons why.
DUI Attorneys Know the System
Many defendants will choose self-representation because they assume the consequences of a charge will be manageable. Either they believe the sentencing will be the same with our without a lawyer, or they assume there will be no surprise consequences. But with DUIs, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Drunk-driving attorneys know the game and can reach a plea bargain much easier than someone without legal experience. They can also avoid unforeseen consequences, like insurance spikes and other driving restrictions.
Attorneys Know How to Gather Evidence
Chances are, if you’ve been charged with a DUI, your primary defense will be your memory of the incident. But rarely is a case won solely on the defendant’s testimony. A skilled defense attorney can cross-examine the arresting officer, track down character witnesses, and use lines of questioning that support an innocent plea.
DUI Cases are More Complicated than You Think
Many cases are dismissed simply because the breathalyzer equipment was faulty or the officer did not conduct the arrest in a legal manner. Rarely can this legal outcome be achieved by a self-represented defendant. Only skilled DUI attorneys know the holes in the system and just how to use those kinks to their client’s advantage.
It’s Worth the Cost
Experienced DUI defense attorneys are not cheap. But you should never assume they are not worth the expense. Even if you think a DUI case is “simple,” court fees add up. If you are charged with a DUI, the court may require the installation of an interlock device. They will also charge you fee for the installation. Also, be sure to factor in the cost of lost wages, as well as the lost future earning potential with a DUI charge on your record. At the end of the day, it’s a risk vs. reward equation.
Repeat Offenders and Aggravated DUIs
If this is not your first DUI, there is no question whether you should seek legal counsel. The prosecution will go after you with a vengeance, and you will need legal expertise on your side. Also, if your BAC was above .15 or an accident resulted in death, it is considered an aggravated DUI. Sentencing can be severe and have drastic, life-long consequences. You will need the protection of someone familiar with the system.
With any life choice, you have to be prepared for the results of your decision. If you’re happy with the consequences of a DUI conviction, self-representation might be for you. Maybe you have enough money and prestige to risk a ding on your criminal record. But if not, it might not be worth the risk. If you want the opportunity for a clean slate, an experienced attorney is the only way to go.
Contact me for a consultation. I can review the facts of your case and provide you with legal guidance and counseling on how to best proceed.