Being charged with driving under the influence, more commonly known as DUI, can be a catastrophic event for any driver. However, it can be a particularly harrowing experience for first offenders with no previous criminal background.
If you have recently been arrested and charged with a DUI for the first time. your first may instinct may be to plead guilty in an attempt to "rip the bandage off." However, anyone facing a DUI charge should seriously consider hiring a defense attorney specializing in DUI cases, even if you are intent on pleading guilty or no contest when your case comes up in court.
To an experienced DUI attorney, no DUI charge is ever an open-and-shut case, and these skilled legal professionals can help your case in a variety of ways.
Why Should You Hire A DUI Attorney For A First Offense?
Legal Counsel On Your Terms
If this is the first time you have fallen foul of law enforcement, you may not be aware of the various rights that people have if they are charged with crimes. One of the most important of these rights, besides the right to remain silent, is the right to confidential legal counsel.
Public defenders, however, are usually extremely busy, working on many cases at once, and they can only dedicate a limited amount of time to each case. They may simply not have time to give an inexperienced first offender all the legal advice they really need.
Hiring a private DUI defense attorney will make sure that you can spend as much in-person time as you need with your legal representative. They will make sure you are well-informed on your rights and the possible legal paths you can take, and they will fill in any gaps in a first-timer's knowledge of the legal process.
Make Sure Your DUI Is Legal
A DUI, like any other criminal charge, will not hold up in court if the officers and officials who make the charge break the law themselves. This applies to every aspect of your DUI, from the moment you were pulled over.
For example, a law enforcement officer cannot legally stop your vehicle if they do not have probable cause, such as witnessing you driving erratically. Field sobriety tests must also be administered in a very specific way to be legally admissible. If you spend any time in a holding cell or county jail, law enforcement officials must have good reasons for not releasing you on bail or recognizance.
Attorneys who specialize in DUI cases are always on the lookout for these procedural errors and will closely inspect your case to look for errors in arrest documents, legal paperwork, and other sources.
Skilled Plea Bargain Negotiation
If your cases contains any procedural errors or your legal rights were violated in any way when you were charged with a DUI, there is a small chance your case may be thrown out of court entirely.
However, it is more likely that you will be offered a plea bargain, which can take many forms. If you agree to plead guilty in court, prosecutors may agree to charge you with a less serious crime, such as reckless driving. Alternatively, they may consent to less serious punishments, such as probation and DUI education classes instead of prison time.
If you are offered a plea bargain at any point, a DUI attorney will make sure that the bargain you are offered is the best you can reasonably expect to hope for. They may also be able to negotiate an initial offer to a more lenient bargain, which is almost impossible to do if you choose to represent yourself.
To learn more, contact a DUI attorney.