If you are reading this article, I can reasonably assume that you might be in a bit of trouble. You had a little too much fun didn’t you? If you get caught driving drunk, should you hire a lawyer? Should you hire a lawyer for a DUI?
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is one of the biggest ways that ordinary citizens get themselves criminal records. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association says that over 1.5 million people are arrested for DUI’s in a given year. The legal blood alcohol limit in every state is .08, and for some people, that can be even a single beer. If you are one of those millions of people, it is worth it for you to hire a lawyer. Here’s why.
Driving drunk is a bad crime to commit, as you can ruin or even end both your life and somebody else’s. With marijuana becoming legal, you can get arrested for driving while high as well. They can get you with a breathalyzer, a blood test and more,. Getting popped with a DUI can be one of the most costly things that you can do, and should be avoided at all costs. If you find yourself in that situation, it might be tempting to save money on lawyer fees and let the process run it’s course. Don’t.
Looking for a lawyer or law firm? Check out this site, where you can get a free, no-hassle consultation from a friendly and knowledgeable DUI lawyer in your area.
Do you want to experience jail?
What’s the worst that can happen if you try to defend yourself? Jail. That’s what can happen. Jail sucks.
First off, let’s get one thing straight. If you get arrested for DUI, you will be going to the local jail, and usually there is a minimum. For example, In Nevada, it is two days, with 48 to 96 hours of community service. A first time offender can perhaps expect to spend at least a night in the hole and get OR’ed, meaning getting released on their own recognizance. That means you walk out without being bailed out. You will be given a court date, where you are at risk of getting put right back in there for a longer amount of time, which depends on the severity of your case.
DUI’s are the biggest everyman crime there is. Everyone knows someone that got one, and almost all of them thought they could make it home just fine. These are people that just simply wanted a drink with friends, and things get carried away. They don’t see themselves on the same level as thieves, rapists and murderers. When regular Joe’s and Sarah’s can find themselves under arrest, a DUI tends to be the reason why.
The punishment for driving while lit varies. This is the United States of America, and every state has different laws. Usually, the mandatory punishment includes jail time, a fine, insurance points, probation, driver’s license revocation, alcohol classes, community service or any combination of those fun activities. Usually, a clean record will not get the book thrown at you by a judge, but that is with the help of counsel.
Having no previous DUI’s and a clean record can usually get you a bit of leniency in the court of law, but you will need some assistance getting there. An experienced, trustworthy attorney can help you. They can get your fines lowered, and the jail time nixed completely. Choose wisely.
You do not want a criminal record
A lawyer can use their magic to get your charge of Driving Under the Influence, a (misdemeanor), plead down to a moving violation (not a misdemeanor.) This is fantastic news for you, as a moving violation is a glorified parking ticket, and you do not have to report parking tickets and speeding violations to people you want something from, such as a job or an apartment.
There are many defenses a lawyer can use. Perhaps the officer had no right to pull you over in the first place. Maybe your physical health caused a reaction to a small amount of booze. Or the police may have bungled the evidence they had against you. Without training in the nuances of the laws, you will most likely not be able to prove these things successfully. A competent lawyer is the best chance you have of getting off on your charges.
You cannot go to Canada, and some other travel destinations
Niagara Falls is gorgeous, on both sides of it. Vancouver is a lovely town, and Montreal is a total blast. If you have a DUI on your record, you will not be allowed to enjoy it. Canada is tougher on DUI’s than America is. A first time DUI is a misdemeanor in the USA, but it’s a felony in the land of poutine. I am joking, but Canada is not. They won’t let you in, because you are a felon to them.
You may be able to get around this by using immigration lawyers, but even that is a massive pain. The country has to deem you rehabilitated, and it can be 5 to 10 years after your first offense to even be considered. Other countries such as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand can have harsh immigration restrictions on those with DUI’s on their records. If you have plans on traveling to these places anytime soon, getting this taken care of from the start can prevent major headaches down the line.
The lawyer fees are not THAT expensive, compared to the alternatives.
I am going to assume that if you are on the fence about hiring an attorney for a DUI charge, cash is the reason why. Lawyers have expensive degrees and cars to pay for, so the thought of paying them when times are tough might be something you are looking to avoid.
If you think that way, you aren’t looking at the big picture. You will be paying money either way, just in other ways. If you have a car, you won’t be able to drive it because your license is suspended. That means money spent on Uber’s and Lyft’s, which add up. You will also pay more in insurance, in more ways than one. Your rates and quotes will jump up exponentially, and you might also have to get an SR-22, which is an extra document that the state will make you get because you are high risk. Yes, this will cost you extra.
According to thervo.com, the nationwide average price of a DUI lawyer is $1400. That’s a big chunk o’ change, sure, but the fees and money lost from NOT hiring that lawyer tends to rise to over $4000! In essence, you are paying a big chunk up front to pay a lot less later. Do it.
A lot of lawyers will even work with you on a payment plan if you don’t have the cash up front, so definitely look into it. Also, most DUI lawyers will offer a free initial consultation. Here’s a list of recommended DUI lawyers in your area.
No, you don’t know how to defend yourself.
OK, big guy. I know that you have watched Law & Order a few times (dun dunn) but that does not mean that you have any idea what you are doing. Experienced lawyers, even if you don’t think highly of them, have invested many, many hours into their education and lots of practice to be able to do what they do. They are usually not dumb people.
Many people tend to look down on lawyers a bit, and that can be due to many reasons. They can be abrasive and standoffish, or maybe they flaunt money too much. You could have even had a bad experience with one before. Regardless, it might be very tempting to try to skip them altogether and do it yourself. Please don’t.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your case is so cut and dry that you can handle it yourself. Sure, I listed a bunch of defenses up there, but that was not me being your attorney. All I was doing was listing what a few of your options could be. And once you get into the courtroom, even if you look like you know what you are doing, the chances of you getting a favorable outcome increase exponentially with the help of a lawyer.
Driving under the influence, no matter how you try to slice it, is a terrible offense and crime to commit. You can lose both your life, and steal someone else’s life in the process. Even though it is one of the easiest crimes to commit, and doing it once by accident and with no damage done doesn’t make you a truly horrible human being, it just isn’t worth it. Drink more responsibly, or hire a driver. Please don’t risk it, and please don’t drink or get high and drive.
Don’t wait. Hire a lawyer. Get a free consultation from a highly recommended and reputable DUI lawyer in your area here.