Driving while intoxicated (DWI) can lead to severe penalties. A DWI is similar in scope to a DUI, with some states differentiating themselves by using different terms. For our purposes, let’s consider them very close legally: you are drinking alcohol or abusing drugs and driving.
One question we hear quite often is when you need to hire a DWI lawyer.
They’re a variety of scenarios. You have no job, and therefore no income. You are guilty of the charges. A court appointed lawyer costs nothing. You are not guilty, but want to defend yourself. If any of these sound wrong, well, it’s because they’re all entirely the wrong reasons. There is no clear reason not to hire a DWI lawyer unless you are a DWI lawyer yourself. Why?
If you have no job, you likely cannot afford to pay the excessive fines, which can be in the thousands. If you start working again, you won’t be able to drive. If you have no income coming in, sometimes you seem to have no options. We all have access to money, even after filing bankruptcy or losing a job. It’s time to put value on how much you want to stay out of jail, want to keep your drivers license, and want to avoid thousands in fines.
If you are guilty of the charges, it’s easy to say you need no professional DWI lawyer. This is wrong in many respects. Say, for example, you were in fact drinking, but the breathalyzer used tested you as over the limit when actually you were very close to under the limit. Or say that the officer pulled you over for no legal reason – only because he suspected by the look of your car you were a criminal, or because you are a minority, or a woman, or a variety of other reasons. In still other cases, the officer acted incorrectly by never giving you a Miranda, if not abusing your legal rights. These examples can lead to dropped charges, even if you are guilty of drinking and driving, and potentially could lead to some damages. But you need a DWI lawyer.
You may think a court appointed lawyer can handle your case. Using the above example on actually believing your guilty, you decide because of this that you should forgo hiring a lawyer. A court appointed lawyer is almost as bad as defending yourself; they rarely have the time or inclination to properly defend you. A professional DWI lawyer can find holes in the prosecution’s case given time; rarely can a court appointed lawyer with dozens of other cases spend a significant amount of time helping you.
Finally, you can defend yourself. You know your innocence, or know the officer acted wrong, and maybe you know some of the process in handling a court case. Rarely does this work out. Unless you’re a DWI lawyer, you need professional legal representation. You’ll need expert witnesses, to question what happened, to know the local laws, and to know how exactly to handle the court process with the judge and prosecution. There is a reason passing the Bar is very tough; it takes years experience.
If you’re still unsure whether a DWI lawyer can help you, consider that it might actually save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. It’s worth paying the extra money in order to get a professional defense.