Why You Need a DUI Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a DUI violation, it can be overwhelming just understanding the laws and legal limits in your state. A DUI attorney’s purpose is to help guide you through the process and represent you in your defense. As a competent legal professional, your DUI attorney will advise you of the best course of action given your current circumstances. In addition, your DUI attorney will speak up when the prosecutor—in other words, the people accusing you—is making a legal mistake, misrepresenting facts, or not correctly applying the law.
A DUI Attorney is a Specialist
One big job of a DUI attorney is to keep up with the latest laws and regulations that have to do with drunk driving. A DUI attorney knows exactly if and how the law was incorrectly applied in your case, from new local requirements on blood draws to field sobriety tests and checkpoints. This could lead to a lesser sentence or even to your case being dismissed!
A DUI Attorney Will Help Protect You if You’re Innocent
If you believe you’re innocent of violating your state’s DUI laws, your DUI attorney will work to build a case in your favor. Remember that an effective legal case involves putting together facts and tying in past cases like yours that ended up in a not-guilty verdict. This is why it’s so important to find a DUI attorney, even if you think the facts are on your side. Remember that the prosecutor is a trained legal professional. It only makes sense to have a trained legal professional on your side to even the playing field.
A DUI Attorney Will Help Protect You if You’re Guilty
If you do believe you violated your state’s DUI laws, you should still find an attorney to represent you.
Everyone has the right to due process of law, regardless of whether or not they’re guilty. You may already be familiar with a few parts of due process, such as your Miranda Rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) as well as your right to counsel—in other words, an attorney—for your defense.
Beyond these well-known rights, there are dozens of little-known and obscure parts of due process. Sometimes, an inexperienced prosecutor won’t realize that you’re not exercising all of your rights to due process. In some cases, the prosecutor is hoping that you won’t take advantage of all of your rights.
Whatever the situation, you need a legal professional on your side who knows your state and local laws and how to apply them to your case.
A competent DUI attorney will ensure that you’re being treated fairly throughout the entire legal process, even if it ends in a guilty plea. If the prosecutor knows that you’re willing to admit that you’re guilty, they may have you agree to an unfair plea deal. A DUI attorney representing you can advise you on whether the plea deal is a fair one.
A DUI Attorney Understands All the Options Available to You
Most people don’t realize that there are more options in a DUI case than simply pleading guilty or going through a trial. It’s possible to reduce or even dismiss your case in some states and counties if you agree to complete a DUI program and/or complete drug and alcohol counseling.
A good DUI attorney will be able to take a look at your case and advise you of the best options available in your area.
How to Find a DUI Attorney
If you know someone who’s faced DUI charges before, ask them for a recommendation. Otherwise, the best place to start searching for a DUI attorney is online. Here are some tips and points to keep in mind:
Consider the DUI Attorney’s Location
Be sure to find a DUI attorney who can represent you in the state where you are facing the DUI charge. This is especially important if you were charged with a DUI while driving through or visiting another state.
Apart from that, a DUI located in the county where you’re facing the DUI will likely have more experience working with the local court system and will be up to date on all the latest laws and regulations that apply to you.
Visit the Attorney Before Making a Decision
A good DUI attorney will have no problem taking some time to meet with you before committing to hiring them. Take this time to discuss your case so that the attorney can give you a general picture of what to expect throughout the process.
In addition, the DUI attorney should give you an overview of their past experience, their rate of case dismissals and plea deals, and whether they think there are any parts about your case that could help your chances of success.
You should never feel afraid to ask your attorney a question about your case. During your initial conversation with the DUI attorney, don’t move forward if you feel like you’re being brushed off or if you’re not getting straight answers. A good DUI attorney will keep you informed and be clear about what to expect during your DUI case.
Agree on the Costs Ahead of Time
Before committing to hiring an attorney, be sure that you fully understand the costs and payment plan. It’s common for an attorney to charge a certain amount upfront, which may be part of a flat fee or a deposit for an hourly rate. Also, the payment terms may differ depending on whether you accept a plea deal or decide to go to trial. A good DUI attorney will not be afraid to lay out the minimum cost for their services, along with how those costs can change depending on how your case develops.
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Where to Go if You Can’t Afford an Attorney
Though it’s possible to find reduced- and low-cost options for DUI attorneys, you may simply be unable to afford an attorney. If this is the case, then remember that you have the right to request a public defender. A public defender is a licensed attorney appointed by the court to represent you when you can’t afford to hire a private DUI attorney.
If you need a public defender to represent you, bring this up to the judge at your court hearing. The court will then appoint an attorney to defend you. You may be asked to provide financial proof that you can’t afford a private attorney, so it’s a good idea to prepare pay stubs, bank account statements, and other relevant financial documents to speed up the process.
The Cost of Not Hiring a DUI Attorney
You may feel that hiring a DUI attorney is too much or that it’s not worth it. Before you decide to go at it alone to save on DUI attorney costs, consider these other risks and costs:
The Costs of Not Getting it Right
The process of navigating a DUI charge involves much more than showing up to court a few times. Besides making court appointments, you need to be on top of filling out forms, writing long reports, responding to notices from the court, and doing a lot of research to prepare for your case. If you don’t submit absolutely everything on time, the court may not consider your entire defense, and you can lose your case.
An experienced DUI attorney will know exactly which forms to files, when they’re due, and how to make sure the court considers your entire defense.
The Costs of Car Insurance
Being found guilty or pleading guilty to a DUI charge likely will increase your car insurance premium for several years or more. If you’re required to file an SR-22—which is very common with DUI convictions—you can expect to pay even more in filing fees.
The Costs of a Felony Conviction
DUI charges may be misdemeanor or felony charges. You may be facing a felony DUI charge if:
- You already have been convicted of DUI or DWI charges before.
- The DUI incident involves killing or seriously injuring another person.
- You were found to have a particularly high blood-alcohol content level (BAC).
- You had children in your vehicle while driving under the influence.
If convicted of a felony, you may need to pay thousands of dollars in fines, and you may be facing a prison sentence as well.
Also, keep in mind that convicted felons face severe restrictions on other parts of their everyday life, even after paying all fines and serving jail time. These may include:
- Loss or restriction of voting rights
- Loss or restriction of your right to own firearms
- Loss of child custody
- In many cases, employers simply choose not to hire convicted felons, limiting your future job prospects.
In particular, if you’re facing a felony conviction, hiring a DUI attorney is a smart investment in your future.
Take Your DUI Seriously!
A DUI or DWI can be a life-changing charge that may lead to license revocation, enormous fines, jail time, and even restrictions on your rights in the future. If you’re facing a DUI charge, hiring a DUI attorney is an investment in your future.
SR-22 Adviser is committed to help you get back on the road during tough times. Our insurance partner can make the process of finding the right insurance for you fast and easy. Get started today online or over the phone at 877-822-2049.