5 Essentials in Pleading Not Guilty to DUI
Most pleas in DUI cases are not guilty, but there are essentials to defense all too often overlooked. This guide points them out, preparing you for a not guilty plea.
Know the Charges
DUI cases are not all the same: there are countless situations where you might get arrested, what you did will vary,what the officer does varies, and how a defense is made can vary. For example, if you hurt someone while abusing alcohol and drugs, you likely face some serious charges. Or, you might have a long history of drinking or abusing drugs and driving.
You can be charged with a infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony, in that order of minor to serious charges. If you hurt someone, for example, you likely face felony charges. If this is your first offense, you likely face misdemeanor charges. Infractions are not common in DUI charges. Once you know the charges, you can best make your next decisions.
Hire a Lawyer
What's your most important decision after being charged with a DUI? It's not if you plead guilty or not guilty. After a DUI charge has been made, the most important choice is in hiring a lawyer. A DUI lawyer is not an option; it's a must. It can mean the difference between going to jail or winning a case. In order to hire an effective lawyer, you should base it on experience. Experience may cost more on paper, but it can save you from going to jail, losing your license, and more.
Let Your Lawyer Work
And once you hire a lawyer, let him or her do his job. Yes, this is your life on the line, but if you hire an experienced DUI lawyer, he or she will know what to do.
Why Not Guilty?
Can you avoid lawyer fees and just plead guilty? Sometimes pleading guilty is in your best interest, but it almost guarantees major penalties. Forgoing a lawyer, and not even consulting with one, is a major mistake. You plead not guilty not always because you had not been drinking over the limit; sometimes there are problems with the case against you.
Understanding how you will make a DUI defense is our final essential. Your lawyer should be doing all the ground work, but you still have a role. There is nothing wrong with being involved. Defenses can be based on the validity of the breath test, if the arresting officer acted correctly, and whether or not this has happened before. A strong DUI defense is not always about getting cleared of all charges; sometimes avoiding jail time or extended license suspension can be considered a victory.
When you plead not guilty to a DUI charge, it's important to remember you still have rights. You may have made a mistake, you may not have. But there are many points to remember. Perhaps most importantly is to make your decisions with legal counsel.