What if one person could save you from spending thousands of dollars and destroying your reputation?
Those convicted of a DUI face many consequences, including the loss of their license to an increase in their car insurance. At this point, such drivers usually focus on getting the best DUI insurance because their premiums have increased so much.
Potentially, though, the right lawyer can help drivers avoid such a conviction. But does everyone accused of driving under the influence need a lawyer? And what are the pros and cons of lawyering up?
Keep reading to discover all the answers you need.
Does Everyone Need a Legal Defense for A DUI?
Not everyone facing a DUI needs to lawyer up. This is one of the most serious criminal charges, and if you are innocent, lawyering up may be a good idea. In some cases, you may even qualify to have a public defender represent you. It’s important to note that if you do not qualify for a public defender, you may need to hire a lawyer to represent you.
However, driving under the influence is one of the charges that can be hard to defend in court. You either were or were not driving under the influence, and the courts will give the most credence to what breathalyzer tests say that your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was at the time.
Your Blood Alcohol Level Is the Ultimate Evidence
Most DUI charges are backed up by breathalyzer tests and other methods of determining your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). If you have a BAC of .08% or higher (or .05% or higher in Utah), you will probably be found guilty of driving under the influence once you get to court.
While this is straightforward, we need to point it out because many charged with a DUI think that their perceived level of drunkenness should be a factor (the classic “I’m not that drunk, I can hold my liquor” kind of excuse). If your BAC meets the legal limit, you will likely be convicted because of the mandatory per se laws that affect each state. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t cases without such cut-and-dry evidence where drivers accused of DUI should seek legal help.
Which Drivers Definitely Need to Lawyer Up?
If you are accused of a DUI and weren’t drinking before setting foot in the car, you should hire a lawyer. For example, certain common medications (including Nyquil and Vicks products) contain alcohol; if you have taken them before driving, the breathalyzer may show positive. In such cases, a proper legal defense may be able to get to the bottom of this “evidence.”
Similarly, police officers sometimes administer field sobriety tests in lieu of the breathalyzer. The danger of such tests is that it’s up to the officer’s discretion whether you appear drunk. In cases where there is no smoking gun of a high BAC, a lawyer may be able to defend you successfully.
Finally, it’s worth considering that you can get a consultation from a lawyer regarding your case. A good DUI attorney can help determine whether you have a decent case and can help you understand the legal charges you are facing.
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Pros of Hiring a DUI Lawyer
We already touched on one of the biggest benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer: They understand the legal system and you don’t. An attorney’s understanding of the local court system may give you the edge needed to win your case, and hiring someone with years of experience in fighting such charges has given them invaluable insight into which strategies work.
Beyond that, the main benefits of lawyering up are that you won’t have to face this challenging time alone and that your attorney might be able to minimize the damage. For example, your lawyer might be able to secure a more lenient sentence for you, especially if this is your first offense.
Cons of Hiring a DUI Lawyer
Assuming you don’t have a BAC to destroy your case (which is the main con for most DUI charges), lawyering up has two drawbacks. The first drawback is that it can be difficult to find a good lawyer. For every honest attorney who wants to help you out, there are two or three who may just look at you with dollar signs in their eyes.
Speaking of dollar signs, the second drawback is that the best lawyers tend to be the most expensive lawyers. Suppose they help you win the case. In that case, such a lawyer will pay for themselves because you’ll dodge the bullet of your insurance premiums spiking for the next several years (always remember that switching carriers is the best way to save, regardless of the case). But if you lose the case, you might be out of some major legal fees on top of the other expenses you face.
The Importance of the SR-22
By now, you’ve probably discovered that most DUI cases are open and shut. If a driver has a BAC to indicate they are legally intoxicated, then they will probably be convicted. Even if you don’t have such a BAC, there are no guarantees that you will win your day in court (no matter how expensive your lawyer is).
If convicted, you will be legally required to file an SR-22 with the state. For as long as this is on file (a minimum of three years), you will pay much higher premiums for your car insurance because carriers now have documentation that you are a risky driver. This is why now is the perfect time to explore insurance options and find a carrier that offers the best possible rates, even for those convicted of DUI.
Get the Best SR-22 Insurance Today!
Now you know more about whether you need a lawyer to avoid a DUI conviction. But do you know where you can find the best car insurance regardless of your legal or driving record?
Here at SR-22 Adviser, we believe everyone deserves two things: a second chance and good car insurance. To see how we can save you serious money each month, come get competitive quotes online from our partner today!