Often, when people are charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI), they consider defending themselves or using a public defender. Sometimes hiring an attorney may not be your best choice; however, when it comes to DUI charges, a lawyer can make a big difference.
The court system is confusing and a good attorney will help argue your case and explain the possible consequences you face. Lawyers are not magicians, however they can increase the chances your charges will be dropped or lowered.
Experienced attorneys will understand how to interview witnesses and officers; as well as what evidence will help your case. They have access to expert witnesses who know how to refute the accuracy of blood and urine tests. Attorneys will also be able to tell you what chemicals and over the counter drugs could impact the results of a breathalyzer.
Cost is one of the most common concerns surrounding hiring a DUI attorney. Many people facing DUI charges believe a lawyer is too expensive and they can avoid the cost by defending themselves. While a lawyer is a larger up front expense, he or she could save you a great deal of money in the long run. If you are still concerned about the cost of an attorney, consider how much even two or three months in jail will cost you in lost income. It could even mean losing your job.
Others believe they can save money by using a court appointed attorney. DUI laws are constantly being modified and only an attorney specializing in that type of law will be able to stay up to date on all of the changes. When searching for a personal lawyer, you should look for someone who has years of experience in DUI laws. A less experienced lawyer means you could face higher fees or more time in jail.
Lawyers are able to do the most good for first time offenders. Hiring an attorney after your first offense increases the chances you will keep your license and put the charges behind you. He or she will also check the evidence to make sure it supports an arrest. If the evidence is weak, your charges could be dismissed.
If you are involved in the following situations, defending yourself or using a court appointed attorney should not be considered an option:
You have been arrested for a DUI in the past.
You are accused of injuring someone.
You do not understand your rights.
You do not know which steps you need to take.
When searching for a DUI attorney, look for a firm that specializes in serious injury or drunken driving cases. Find out which professional organizations the attorneys participate in and how many years of experience they have.