As you sit with your hands cuffed together, blue and red lights blinking behind you, you may be thinking “what on Earth am I supposed to do?”
Being charged with a DUI is an incredibly serious offense and a matter that should not be handled lightly. However, you should know that you always have the right to a lawyer and there are several outcomes that could come from this scenario.
Although you may feel overwhelmed and at a loss for what steps to take, hiring a lawyer should be on your radar. To learn about whether or not to hire a lawyer for a DUI charge, read on!
Get a Consultation
Many people may hesitate to seek legal help after driving under the influence for fear of costs. However, lawyers serve many purposes and at the very least, you should seek a consultation with one.
You can meet with a DUI lawyer to get their opinion on your case and what options you may have.
Keep in mind that while consultations may be free, they sometimes incur a small fee.
The positive of having a consultation with an attorney is that you can hear their professional opinion without necessarily committing to hiring them.
At the very least, they can inform you about what the outlook of your case may be. From there, you can make a better decision on whether or not you want to hire a lawyer.
Although you may be picturing yourself going to trial, the fact is that many cases are actually settled outside the courtroom.
Instead of looking at your case as black and white, an experienced lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal for you. This plea deal may give you more favorable consequences than going to trial would.
Because plea deals are often complicated to negotiate and contain many legal terms, it’s best to have a legal professional facilitate this process.
Your lawyer may be able to spot facts about your case that make you a better candidate for reduced sentencing. They will know whether pleading guilty is a good option for you or how to best address the charges.
Defending You in Court
If it does come to a court trial, you’ll need someone to represent your best interests and argue on your behalf.
Representing yourself is widely considered inadvisable and using a public defender may mean that you have less attention on your case.
Although a private lawyer is often pricier, they may have the resources and experience necessary to swing the decision in your favor.
They’ll be able to find areas in which proper procedures were not followed or aspects of your case that warrant leniency.
While it may be difficult, there are times in which it may be in your best interest to simply plead guilty to the charges that were brought against you.
This may be if you have prior offenses, a particularly high blood alcohol content, or if the evidence against you is indisputable.
In these situations, it may be beneficial to plead guilty to potentially receive a lighter sentence.
This is a situation in which a lawyer can navigate you and be honest about their opinion.
Often, it’s difficult to see the objective facts of a case when you’re too close to it. That’s why a third party opinion is key.
Timeline of Attaining a Lawyer
Once you’ve recovered from the shock of being arrested and charged, attaining a lawyer sooner rather than later is usually the best course of action.
Although situations may vary and certain cases are more straightforward than others, having a lawyer to help you through this process can only be beneficial for you.
While it is true that having a lawyer may be expensive and it may take time to sort out finances, having a public defender or pro bono lawyer is better than not having anyone at all.
Inquire about non-profit resources and lawyers in your area that may be able to help you for a reduced or no fee.
Peace of Mind
Finally, a key reason for hiring a lawyer is that they will be able to counsel you and prepare you for what is to come. They can explain the steps of the legal process to you and prepare you for what is likely to happen.
The legal system is often confusing to outsiders. Therefore, having an expert to unpack legal terms to you can help you feel more at ease.
They may have information about how long certain proceedings will take, the difference between DUI and OWI, and what a likely sentence may be.
Don’t underestimate your mental health during this process. Navigating the court system without a lawyer may feel like you speak another language entirely.
The more people you have on your side, the better.
If You Can, Hire a Lawyer
Ultimately, there are no real cons to hiring a lawyer to counsel you on your DUI case except for the cost. However, if you cannot afford to pay an expensive or private lawyer, you are still entitled to a defense.
Look into pro bono or public lawyers who may be able to help you before simply trying to handle the case yourself.
If you have the means, there is no reason to not hire a lawyer. In the end, the lawyer may or may not be able to reduce your sentence. However, their help will give you a fighting chance.