If you are facing relatively minor DUI charges, such as a first-time offense with no injured parties, is it really necessary to seek the assistance of a DUI attorney? You may already be scrambling to make ends meet after losing your driving privileges, but hiring an expert lawyer may be the wisest investment you ever make. These are four ways an attorney can reduce the severity of your sentencing and ensure that you emerge from your DUI with your life as in-tact as possible.
Protecting Your Rights and Meeting Deadlines
Whenever you are charged with a crime, you are given certain rights as a citizen. Those rights, however, won't do you much good if you don't know how to use them to your advantage. With a lawyer watching your back, you will know that you are being treated as fairly as possible without giving law enforcement any additional leverage over you. An attorney can also help you meet filing deadlines, such as an application for a hardship driver's license if yours has been suspended.
Determining How You Should Plead
Although your first inclination may be to plead "not guilty" to any and all claims against you, that may not be the best option. Your attorney will look over the details of your case and offer a frank assessment of whether or not you have a reasonable chance of disputing the DUI charges. In many cases, pleading guilty actually leads to less severe sentencing, especially if this is your first offense.
Finding Alternative Sentencing Options
If you do choose to plead guilty to driving under the influence, your attorney may be able to haggle the charge down to one that is less life-disrupting, like reckless driving. In this case, you will in all likelihood face smaller fines, less possible jail time, lower community service requirements and you may even be able to keep your license. Your attorney is the best individual to conduct this bargaining on your behalf and should know when an acceptable deal has been struck in your favor.
Reducing the Severity of Second or Third Convictions
For anyone facing their second or third DUI charge, an attorney becomes an essential lifeline. At this point, you are likely facing serious jail time and penalties, along with any reparations for damages and injuries you have caused. Your attorney's job in this situation is to minimize the consequences of the DUI so that your life can return to relative normalcy and you can seek treatment for your behavior instead of languishing in prison. Even if you have made mistakes in the past, you still deserve an experienced advocate on your side in the justice system. Once you have been arrested or brought up on charges, call your local DUI attorney to get a better understanding of your case and what you can do to begin salvaging the situation as quickly as possible.