If you’ve been arrested for a DUI (driving the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) because of an alcohol or drug arrest, you should consider your options.
You’re going to lose your license, get large fines, and get jail time, right? Not always, because there are some cases where you can beat a DUI charge. Now, if this is after multiple violations, if someone was hurt while you were driving under the influence, or it’s deemed you risked minors, you may get an aggravated DUI charge.
Just like it sounds, it’s a bigger penalty than the initial DUI charge. This means you face larger fines, longer suspensions, and extended jail time. There are ways to beat the charge.
Do you need a lawyer immediately?
It would be easy to say, “hire a lawyer immediately, you have to.” But in most DUI arraignments, where you can decide to plead not guilty or guilty, you may be okay without a lawyer initially. You will sometimes not even have to post bail unless you do not want to spend any time at all in jail.
On the other hand, aggravated DUI charges are very serious. Instead of a 1-2 year license suspension, you can double or triple that. Instead of $1,000, you can pay several thousand more. Instead of limited jail time, you might face an extended prison sentence. This depends on the nature of the arrest.
Aggravated DUI charges are generally considered felonies, while regular DUI charges are usually misdemeanors. In some cases, you can handle a misdemeanor initially by yourself, hiring a lawyer to help you if you want to fight the charge.
Why do you need a lawyer?
If you want to beat an aggravated DUI charge–which is hard but far from impossible–you immediately need help from an experienced DUI lawyer. He or she can help you decide how to plead, what chances you have in fighting the charges, and negotiating with prosecutors for a lesser charge.
What options do you have?
For an aggravated DUI charge, you can plead guilty, plea bargain for a reduced charge, ask for a trial before a judge or demand a jury trial. These may sound simple, but take for example the judge or jury question. How do you know if this judge will be lenient, especially if he or she regularly hears DUI defenses? How will a jury look to you if your blood alcohol content was incredibly high and you hurt someone? It depends on the case. This is where hiring a professional saves you time, money, and penalties like jail time.