A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) is devastating because the potential conviction could result in a criminal record that impacts your future. If convicted, background checks show the offense and this can be a turnoff to landlords, employers, insurance companies, and any others that must perform background checks on people that they will be dealing with. Even a first-time offense has its collateral consequences.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help?
Having an attorney in your corner is very important because they have the education, experience, and knowledge of the courts to effectively advocate for you. Without the necessary advocacy in your corner, the chances of being convicted of the maximum DUI charge can happen. Your criminal defense attorney looks at all elements in the arrest. They ensure that there was probable cause for the traffic stop. If it is determined that there wasn’t probable cause, the validity of the charges can be challenged.
Defense attorneys have also been found to challenge breathalyzer results due to machines having histories of faulty readings. Not reading the defendant their rights at the time of arrest is considered a rights violation and is another element that can be challenged. Certain circumstances can lead to an attorney taking a specific set of actions to secure the best result for their client. In the meantime, rights are protected and a defendant has guidance on what to say and what not to say. After all, Miranda rights say that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” In other words, a statement that is innocent to a defendant could be seen as self-incrimination by law enforcement.
With an attorney working on the case from the start, defendants don’t have to navigate the legal system on their own. There may also be no need to just sit back and accept the charges when there are circumstances that could lead to a better result. Even when guilty, it doesn’t mean that a person should pay harsher consequences than they deserve.
As for how to get out of a DUI, experienced criminal attorneys know what can constitute a complete dismissal or acquittal. Again, this is why you want to move forward with the fight instead of accepting what the prosecution wants. Even if you think there is no chance of getting out of a DUI, you may be surprised to learn that there is a much better result waiting for you.
How Often do DUI Cases Get Reduced?
In practically every case, the goal of a DUI lawyer is to have the charges dismissed. However, dismissal doesn’t happen as often as charge reduction. How often charges are reduced in DUI cases isn’t quantifiable to a specific percentage. Reductions can happen when your lawyer negotiates with the prosecutor in the case. If a charge is reduced in exchange for a guilty plea, there is no need to go to trial. However, getting the case done and over with by entering a guilty plea may not always be the best route.
It is possible that there are circumstances in the case that could result in dismissal of the charges, so it can be worth it to fight, otherwise, it’s worth fighting for a reduction of charges. There are times when a first-time DUI offense is reduced to another type of traffic offense. This completely avoids the long-term consequences of DUI. This shows that there is a chance.
When Does a DUI Become a Felony?
A DUI case becomes more complicated when the DUI is charged as a felony. A felony of any kind exacerbates the long-term consequences. One of the questions on a job application is, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony.” That’s a difficult box to check if you have because, in many cases, it almost guarantees you won’t be hired no matter how qualified you are.
A DUI becomes a felony when any of the following exists:
• There have been other DUI offenses within the past 10 years
• A minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense
• Blood alcohol concentration is more than twice the legal limit
These are called aggravating factors. These factors and the rules pertaining to them can vary by state.
What does a DUI lawyer do in these cases?
They fight hard to help their client receive a better result than they would if they faced the maximum charge. Felony DUI can be reduced to a gross misdemeanor at least. It is even possible for a felony to be reduced to a misdemeanor if the circumstances are right.
How Long DUI on Record?
If a DUI conviction occurs, it remains on the record indefinitely. In some states, a DUI can’t be expunged from a criminal record because it is an offense that is enhanced by aggravating factors. If it can be expunged, a state may require that the offense remains on a criminal record for at least two years. To qualify for expungement, the individual has to display that they are no longer a threat and that there is no risk of reoffending. It’s a complicated process that requires the help of an attorney. It must be shown that the offense is causing a hardship like not being able to find work, go back to college, or find a place to live.
For someone living in a state that won’t allow DUI charges to be expunged, the goal should be to not offend again and let time be on your side. There are employers and landlords that will overlook a DUI if it was a single offense not followed by additional offenses.
What do DUI Lawyers Charge?
The exact cost of a DUI defense lawyer can vary by region and by attorney. The complexity of the case can also influence cost. The average cost for a DUI attorney, however, is between $750 to $1,500 for a plea deal. If the case has to go to trial, the cost is going to be more.
So how much do DUI lawyers cost if you go to trial?
Going to trial could result in thousands of dollars more, but you must ask yourself if the impact on your life is worth it. You could lose your current job, have difficulty finding a new job, be unable to find a nice place to rent or go back to school. Insurance rates can also increase to unaffordable rates. If there is a possibility of charge dismissal or acquittal, it may pay to fight the charge.
How to Pick DUI Lawyer
Picking a lawyer is serious business because you need to have a lawyer who will aggressively challenge the individual elements of the DUI charge. Being charged with a DUI isn’t a petty offense, so you need a lawyer who is experienced, receptive, and will make you feel comfortable.
When choosing a lawyer, take advantage of the free consultation. Sometimes, this consultation occurs over the telephone between the defendant and the lawyer. There are also times when the consultation happens between a loved one and the lawyer because the defendant is in jail.
Aside from the consultation, look at online reviews and see what others have experienced. You can also make your own judgment based on the initial interaction. A client and their attorney is a team. The attorney works on your behalf, advises you and complies with the decisions you make based on the information you are given. This person is your partner, which is why the choice of attorney should be a careful one.
All in all, choosing the right attorney can give you peace of mind that you have someone truly working for you. It’s important that you are comfortable and that all questions you have are answered. When the attorney is the right fit, you increase the chance of the best possible result in the case.
Why you need a dui attorney
Every state as well as the District of Columbia has outlawed driving after consuming drugs or alcohol. This offense can lead to extensive punishments that range from steep monetary fines to jail time.
Because a DUI conviction can take a disastrous toll on your life, you should not fight a charge of impaired driving in court on your own. To protect your legal and financial future, you should hire a DUI attorney who can advocate for you before the judge and help minimize the penalties for DUI that you might have to face if you are convicted.
A DUI attorney can first and foremost ensure that your Constitutional rights are protected from the time you are arrested and charged until the time that you are released from your sentence.
As an aggravated DWI defendant, you are entitled to rights like due process, the right to representation in court, and the right to have counsel present when you are questioned. If any of those rights are violated, the charges against you can be dropped, and you can be exonerated and set free without facing DUI sentencing.
Your lawyer can also ensure that the law enforcement officer had adequate reasoning to pull you over and test you for inebriation. He or she can review your arrest file and also make sure that the results of any field sobriety test were reached fairly and without bias or mistakes. If any discrepancies are found, the attorney can go before the court and ask for the charges to be dismissed.
If you were lawfully stopped, arrested, and detained, you still need a DUI attorney to work your case and to advocate for you every step of the way. Because you may be unfamiliar with the state’s laws about drinking and driving, you are encouraged to have a legal professional by your side to advise and guide you. As such, you should look for an attorney who is experienced in this area of law and will dedicate the time needed to make sure you are treated fairly under the current laws for DUI.
As mentioned, you need a lawyer who has the legal know-how to minimize any penalty for drunk driving that you might have to face. Whether this will be your DUI first offense if you are convicted or you have prior DWI convictions on your record, you want the punishment that might be meted out to you to be adequate for the offense for which you have been arrested.
With that, immediately after your DUI arrest, you should search for and retain an attorney who knows the state DUI laws inside and out and can apply them suitably to your case. Your representation should have experience bargaining down charges, minimizing fines, and ideally using whatever legal means are necessary to have charges dropped and dismissed by the court.
A good DWI lawyer will have all of these qualifications and plenty more that could help you avoid serving time in jail and paying huge fines. You understandably want to return to your family, your job, and your everyday life. By retaining solid counsel, you may be able to shorten any time that you have to deal with legal wrangling.
Your need for a good lawyer does not end once you serve your time in jail, complete your community service, or pay your fines. You have a life to regain and a reputation to earn back with your family and society in general. How can you tackle such a monumental task without a legal expert by your side?
When you shop around for a lawyer, you should consider those who are willing to remain with you no matter how long it takes to get your life back in order. Your retainer fee should not only secure this professional’s services right after your arrest. It should also ensure that your attorney will commit himself or herself to your case after you complete your sentence to the satisfaction of the court.
After you finish your sentence, you should expect your attorney to check with the court to guarantee that the judge is aware that you satisfied the terms of your punishment. He or she can have you released from the sentencing quickly so that you can get on with rebuilding your life.
Your lawyer also can be on hand during the rebuilding process to tell you when it might be time to pursue an expungment of the DUI on your record. Having the conviction removed can heal wounds in your life that you alone are incapable of dealing with alone.
The removal may allow you to get a job, credit, and other financial necessities to live your life. It may also allow you to reclaim a future that was put on hold for your family.
As you consider these facts, you should keep in mind that it would not be unreasonable to create a list of concerns and questions to have your would-be attorney address during your initial meeting. For example, you could ask how often do DUI cases get reduced or dismissed based on the evidence in your case. The answer the lawyer gives can give you an idea of what your chances might be if you do go to court and have to face off with a judge or jury.
If you are convinced about all of the reasons for why you need a DWI attorney working for you, your next concern might be where to find one who is ready to take your case. You can retain one quickly by using some common sense search and vetting tips.
Retaining a DWI Lawyer
So exactly how can you find a DWI lawyer who is accepting new clients and has the experience and legal tenacity for which you are searching? As soon as you are booked and processed for the charge and have posted bail for your release, you should immediately start using a variety of methods to locate an attorney quickly for your defense.
You can start by asking friends and family members whom they would recommend for your DWI arrest. With as common an offense that driving under the influence is, it is logical that many people actually know the name of a good lawyer. Ask people in your family, circle of friends, and even at work for their input about what firm to call and what attorney to retain.
You also should look online and read reviews for local DWI lawyers. While you should take some reviews with a grain of salt, you still should consider those that are favorable and give the highest marks. Use those reviews to call and vet attorneys who practice in this area of law.
You can also call or visit the website of the state bar association. Many bar associations categorize and maintain active lists of lawyers in each legal specialty. The bar can give you plenty of names of DWI attorneys who can handle your case and charge a rate that you can afford.
Finally, if you cannot afford an attorney but want one to be assigned to your case, you are entitled under the law to have one appointed to you at no charge. This right is guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution and must be made available to you at the time of your arrest. A court-appointed attorney can help you present your case to the court and also assist you in building a defense that could help you escape the worst penalties of the charge.
All 50 states and Washington D.C. have outlawed driving while intoxicated. If you are facing this charge in court, you should not go before a judge or jury alone. Find out what the benefits are for retaining and entrusting your case to a skilled and assertive DWI attorney.
How to Hire a DUI Lawyer
A DUI conviction can have long lasting and devastating ramifications on your life. After you get out of jail, pay your fine, or finish your community service, you may have difficulties finding or going back to work, getting a loan, being approved for an apartment, or carrying on with your life as you did before your arrest.
Because of the damages that DUI charges can inflict on your life, you should do everything possible to fight your case in court. Your plan of action should include retaining a skilled and assertive DUI lawyer to act as your counsel and representative before the judge. Use these important facts to learn how and when to hire a drunk driving lawyer today.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
Why should you hire a drunk driving attorney and how can you locate the best DUI lawyer to take your case? Before you start calling each DUI law firm in your local area, you should first learn how you can benefit by hiring a lawyer to represent you in your case.
The primary reason to hire a DUI lawyer centers on the fact that as an ordinary citizen you more than likely are not familiar with the DUI laws in your state. In fact, those laws can change quickly without the public being aware of it. If you go to court by yourself with information you have about outdated DWI mandates, you could still lose your case and have to serve any punishment handed down to you.
Instead of going to court alone, you may be able to minimize the damages that the DUI charges will have on your life by retaining a DUI defense attorney. Your attorney can gather the facts of the case, ensure that your rights are protected, and go to court to bargain down or ask for the charges to be dropped if warranted.
When to Hire a DUI Attorney
At what point in your case should you hire a criminal defense lawyer? You should ideally secure the services of a drunk driving lawyer immediately after your arrest. After the police process you and you post bail, you should immediately call an attorney and set up a meeting to discuss your case.
After you have the lawyer on retainer, you should then allow your DUI defense attorney to take over your case. Your lawyer can review the facts of your arrest to ensure that you were lawfully detained and arrested. He or she can also make sure that you were read your rights and given the legal entitlements that are allowed to you by the U.S. Constitution.
You definitely should have a lawyer on retainer by the time you show up for your initial court appearances. If you were not arraigned before you were released from jail, you will have to show up for an arraignment hearing. It is best that you have your lawyer with you for that first appearance before the judge.
You likewise should have an attorney on retainer by the time your case goes to trial. In fact, your lawyer may be able to have your case settled out of court or even get the charges lowered or dropped if you are a first-time DUI offender.
You may simply have to pay a fine or complete 30 days’ worth of community service. However, you may not be afforded these lower penalties if you show up to court with an attorney to represent you.
So how can you ensure that your lawyer is truly the best one for your case? Before you go to your initial consultation, you should know what qualifications to look for in a good DUI attorney.
A reliable DWI lawyer will have ample experience arguing DUI cases in court and also dedicate a portion if not all of his or her practice to this legal specialty. Further, your ideal attorney should be well-versed in the state’s DUI laws and know how to apply each one to your particular case.
Likewise, he or she should understand the host of penalties that a judge can mete out for DUI defendants. Your lawyer should be ready to help you avoid all of the punishments by using the facts of your case to bargain down or request a dismissal of the charges.
You also should go into your initial consultation with the lawyer with questions that you want to ask before you place the attorney on retainer. Some of the questions that would be suitable to bring up include:
- How long have you practiced law?
- How much of your practice do you dedicate to DUI defense?
- Who will handle the majority of work related to my case? Will your paralegals or assistants do most of the work or will you be directly involved in building my defense?
- How much direct interaction can I expect from you if I call, email, or come to your office to discuss my case?
- What is your retainer fee and what is your schedule of charges?
The last question puts many people off when it comes to hiring a lawyer to take their DUI case. They believe that they cannot afford to retain an attorney.
However, many lawyers work with clients to establish affordable payments and reasonable charges that they can pay off over the course of time. If you genuinely cannot afford to hire an attorney, however, you could ask the court to appoint you one at no cost.
How to Find a DWI Attorney
Your last concern when it comes to hiring a lawyer for your DWI case may center on where you can find one in your immediate area. You might not know any lawyers personally and may never have had need for one in the past. What lawyers can you call and ask for help before you go to court?
Before you start calling random law firms in your city, you should first ask friends and relatives for their input. They might know the name of a good criminal defense lawyer who can help you in court. They may even have firsthand knowledge of the attorney’s legal expertise and retainer fees.
Likewise, you can call the state bar association and ask for the name of a DWI defense lawyer in your city. The bar association typically keeps an active roster of lawyers in each legal specialty. There is no charge for asking the bar association for a reference.
If you want to avoid asking people you know and work with for advice about your drinking and driving matter, you can keep your case under wraps by doing some research online about attorneys in your area. You can find a host of websites dedicated to lawyer referrals. The sites are set up so that you can search for lawyers in your state, city, or even specific zip code.
Many of the sites also allow people to critique the services they received from the lawyers. While you should expect the reviews to contain a certain amount of bias, you should still read each one and give it fair consideration. Based on what you read in those critiques, you can then decide what lawyer to call and with whom to set up a meeting.
Drinking and driving is a crime in all 50 states that carries harsh penalties and steep monetary fines. When you have been arrested for DWI, it is critical that you get a lawyer on retainer quickly.
This information tells you why it is important that you have a legal representative by your side before you face the judge. You can also learn how to locate and hire a defense attorney to advocate for you and help minimize the damages that this offense could have on your life.