First DUI: Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
A DUI charge may sound simple enough. Maybe you didn't get into an accident, had a low breathalyzer result, or even heard about a friend who got a similar charged dropped. Unfortunately, not all drunk driving charges are that easy.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a first-time DUI can be a misdemeanor charge or a felony; you could be looking at community service or jail time; and you could plea bargain it to a non-DUI offense or be stuck with an expensive drunk driving charge on your permanent record. With so many ways a first DUI can go, it's even more important to have a good DUI attorney on your side. Here's why.
Why a DUI Lawyer
As the saying goes, the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. And in most cases, the issue really comes down to expertise. Lawyers who have dealt with a number of DUI cases are going to be more knowledgeable about the process and options than you can be, especially your first time around. There are several things that a DUI attorney can do that you may not be able to do yourself:
- Advise You to Keep Quiet: Police officers and prosecutors will want to get incriminating facts from you, if not convince you to admit to the crime. A good DUI lawyer can advise you what to say when, and when to not say anything at all.
- Know the Local Courts: All prosecutors and judges have their own personalities and takes on DUIs, and the process may be different even from county to county. A local DUI lawyer will be much more familiar with local judges, juries, and rules of the court.
- Keep Track of Paperwork: There are many steps in a DUI case, all with filings and deadlines that need to be tracked and adhered to. An attorney is better equipped to handle the procedural issues of your case.
- Negotiate With Tough Prosecutors: A prosecutor may offer you a plea bargain as part of your first DUI but how will you know if it's a good deal? Or what alternatives to jail are available for first-time drunk driving offenders. DUI lawyers have years of experience negotiating the deals
- Help to Expunge Your Conviction: If you your first DUI results in a conviction or a guilty plea, a DUI attorney could help you get the conviction expunged so that it will not remain on your permanent record.
Where and When a DUI Lawyer
A DUI lawyer can be there from the very beginning, the arraignment, all the way through to the conclusion of your case. If you've been charged with your first DUI and you haven't contacted a DUI attorney already, you should consult with one as soon as possible.