You stand a better chance for your first DUI (driving under the influence) case with an attorney than alone. Below are some of the things an attorney can help you with.
Understanding the Various Case Options and Directions
You probably don't know much about DUI charges as a first-time suspect. A DUI attorney will help you understand the charges against you, the directions your case can take, and the consequences of each route. For example, you should know:
- Whether you face a misdemeanor or felony charge.
- Whether you face aggravated DUI charges.
- Any mandatory punishments, such as fines and incarceration, you might get if the court convicts you.
- How a DUI conviction can affect you in the future.
- The process your case will take, from arraignment to trial.
These things can confuse you if you have never handled a DUI charge or researched one. The confusion can affect your case, for example, by causing you to miss some case deadlines or appear at the wrong court.
Identifying and Preparing You for the Best Defense Strategy
The law recognizes multiple DUI defenses. For example, you can claim that:
- You failed the field sobriety test because of factors other than intoxication.
- The police made an improper stop and used it to accuse you of DUI.
- You were not driving the car at the time of your arrest.
- The breathalyzer or blood DUI test was not accurate.
Some of the defenses work better than others. In addition, the defenses do not always work for all cases. A DUI attorney will examine your circumstances and identify the best defense to deploy.
The attorney will also prepare you for dealing with the authorities during your trial. For example, the attorney may advise you on:
- How to dress and groom for your court appearance.
- How to talk to the judge and prosecutor.
- Which plea to take during your arraignment.
Use your attorney's advice since they have the knowledge and experience to get the best outcome for you.
Negotiating a Plea Deal
Lastly, the attorney can also help you negotiate the best plea deal for your case. Many criminal cases, including DUI cases, end in plea deals and not trials. Courts allow plea deals to reduce case backlogs and minimize resources.
With a plea deal, you plead guilty to reduced charges, and the court gives you reduced punishment. However, you might not get the lowest punishment possible if you negotiate alone. A DUI attorney knows how to negotiate, understands the typical plea agreements for similar cases, and may have a working relationship with the prosecutor and judge.