How do you defend yourself in court after getting a DUI? Should it be with a lawyer or without?
Really, hiring a DUI lawyer is not an option; even if you cannot afford one, an appointed lawyer is simply a must for DUI charges.
Why is having a lawyer behind you so important? Let’s go over 5 reasons you need a DUI lawyer to for your case.
If you are arrested for a DUI (also called DWI and OWI in other states in the U.S.), you can expect an immediate license suspension. Defending against this can be very hard, unless you know DUI and criminal law. For example, did you know if the officer who arrested you made mistakes, such as never reading you your rights (called the Miranda), the prosecutions entire case could be in jeopardy? If the officer who arrested you broke laws in seeing you were drinking, or never read you your rights, the case can quite simply be thrown out. But you really need a DUI lawyer in this instance.
Fines for DUI charges can very high. In fact, if this is after a second or third DUI violation, or if you hurt someone while driving, the fines can be just the beginning. However, with the money at stake, you should consider hiring a DUI lawyer.
Jail time may be the biggest punishment for DUI charges. You can expect jail time if you hurt someone, have multiple DUI violations, or if you’ve been caught repeatedly driving with a suspended license. Again, without a DUI lawyer to help plead your case, you likely won’t know how to negotiate with the prosecution for a lesser charge.
Judge or Jury?
Should your DUI trial be in front of a judge or a jury? This depends on the case, and a good DUI lawyer will make a better decision based on the case. You might want a jury if the case in question regards the validity of the BAC (blood alcohol content) test, or if you have never broken any laws before. Judges who’ve overseen many DUI cases likely won’t give you much sympathy for your DUI. It just depends on who you’ll be testifying in front of and how you plan to fight the charge.
How do you plea?
The last part of this may be the most important. Should you plead not guilty, fight the case on the basis of how the officer arrested you or the validity of the BAC test? Should you plead guilty to a lesser charge? Having a DUI lawyer to help makes these decisions much, much easier.
As you can see, in most cases having a lawyer or no lawyer is clearly in favor of hiring one. It can save you time, money, and jail time. Even if you have law experience, it does not replace someone with years experience in helping drinking and driving offenders.