Despite how common it seems, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in most states. If you get charged for driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face a jail sentence, hefty fines, or both (depending on several factors).
DUI defendants have a right to represent themselves in a criminal court. However, DUI laws are complicated, and the average person may not understand the facts for every case. Below are three instances when you should consider getting a DUI attorney.
When Your Case Is More Than Just a Misdemeanor
Misdemeanors generally receive less severe punishments than more serious felonies. In the United States (except the state of Utah), it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of above 0.02%.
More specifically, exceeding this limit with a child on board can lead to at least a year in prison. In a situation like this, you should hire an experienced DUI attorney to increase your chances of getting your sentence reduced.
When Your Case Is Going to Trial
Anyone facing a DUI trial can represent themselves if they wish to do so. However, a plea bargain is challenging, and you have to be legally competent before a judge.
In most cases, judges won't let defendants represent themselves unless they prove they're fit to do so. If you have no idea how trial procedures work, get an attorney to negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf.
From experience, a DUI defense attorney knows what works and what doesn't as far as plea bargaining goes. They will follow all procedures correctly to increase your chances of getting a lesser charge.
When You Need Legal Advice
Sometimes all you need is legal advice on what steps you should take toward your case. An attorney who handles DUI cases regularly will help evaluate your case and advise you accordingly. They will help you understand your rights under your state's laws.
A DUI defense law attorney will review many things before they decide on which route your case should take. They will examine whether the traffic law enforcers had the right to stop you in the first place.
Your attorney will also request the officers to prove that they had reasonable probable cause to believe that you were driving while drunk. Similarly, the traffic law enforcement officers should prove that the breathalyzer they used to measure your BAC was functional, well-maintained, and calibrated.
Without a doubt, the whole process can be challenging for the average person. Hiring a DUI lawyer can be a huge help when navigating a DUI case.