When you are arrested for a DUI, you don't always need to be represented by an attorney. If you have never been in trouble before and your blood alcohol concentration was less than .11, you might just want to plead guilty and move on. However, there are many circumstances when the smart choice is to hire a lawyer. Here are five of them.
You Aren't Guilty
If you honestly, truly were not driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are going to need an attorney to prove it to the judge. While in a perfect world you would be able to explain yourself and be declared not guilty, the truth is that an attorney knows what evidence should look like and how to present it. If you want to plead not guilty to a DUI, you want someone on your side who has some knowledge of how a court case works.
Potsdam University reports that breathalyzers have been found to produce false positives in many cases. If you are innocent of driving while under the influence, faulty equipment may be to blame. An attorney will help you present that to a judge.
You've Had a DUI Before
If this isn't your first DUI, you don't want to take any chances. Judges do not often look with compassion on someone who has multiple DUI convictions, and you might find yourself facing incarceration.
Hire an attorney familiar with DUI cases who can either keep you from being convicted or can negotiate the best deal possible, including little or no jail time.
You Hurt Someone
If you injured or killed someone while driving under the influence, you could be in very serious trouble. You should contact an attorney immediately to help you understand your rights and guide you through the court process.
In this situation, you are probably facing more than just a DUI allegation. You are probably also facing several counts of assault or even murder. An attorney will attempt to negotiate with the prosecution to have you charged with lesser offenses. Your lawyer may also be able to work out a plea bargain so you at least know what sentence you are facing when you are convicted.
A criminal attorney will also make sure that your rights are protected and will try to convince a judge to release you on bail.
You Need Help With Substance Abuse
If you have a drug or alcohol problem that has led to your DUI, an attorney may be able to argue for you to be sentenced to attending a treatment center rather than jail. You are still likely to have your license suspended, pay high fines, and face significant future problems with obtaining insurance and employment, but you might not have to go to jail.
Much of the American justice system is set up to punish criminal behavior, but a good lawyer might be able to convince the courts that you could be rehabilitated through therapy and a plan to be healed of addiction.
You Want to Get a Head Start on Your Sentence
An experienced DUI attorney knows how the system works in your area. Sometimes an attorney can make your look better to a court and can negotiate a lighter sentence by getting you signed up for requirements you are going to be forced to complete anyway. For example, your attorney might get you into a rehab program or DUI education courses before they are ordered by a judge.
Your lawyer can also help you begin the process of having your suspended license restored. This will likely mean having to provide your local motor vehicle department with certain information and obtaining special insurance.
Being accused of a DUI can have tremendously different outcomes based on your specific circumstances. Knowing when you need to hire legal representation is one important step in moving past this difficult time.Share
15 January 2015
Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.