It can happen to anyone. Do not allow one bad judgment call dictate your life trajectory.
The “good ol’ days” are over. In the past, being stopped for drunk driving lead to a ride home by the arresting agency. That is no longer the case. Everyone in the system (the Court, the Prosecuting Attorney, Probation, etc.) all consider DUI’s to be serious criminal offenses. There are organizations [i.e. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD)] and others, that lobby very aggressively to make sure the Court treats DUI offenders harshly. Being convicted of Operating While Intoxicated in any jurisdiction has long ranging ramifications. You are subjected to jail time, 93 days at a maximum, large fines and possibly having your driving privilege suspended. Such a conviction can also impact your ability to get a job or a professional license. Like it or not, it impacts your reputation. It is important to treat this as a serious matter. It is a total that a DUI, in our day and age, is no big deal. It is a very big deal.
This one is my favorite. Stop googling the law people! If it was that easy, law schools would go out of business and the profession would be obsolete. Do not self-medicate. Few people do their own taxes, even when it’s a simple return. So why would you think that confronting the court system by yourself is a good idea? The court system is a scary and complex place to be without representation. What would otherwise be a “simple” case, can snowball into a bigger problem that you can handle on your own. Having a knowledgeable and trusted attorney working for you can help alleviate a lot of stress and fix a lot of issues. The goal is to help you come out the other side with the least amount of damage possible. Understanding the intricate procedures involved can be challenging and lead to worse outcomes. Do not try at home
Experience matters. Drunk driving cases can be very complicated and the consequences of a DUI conviction can have such a huge impact on your life. Think about this: are all doctors the same? Would you leave your Ferrari at a Ford dealership to get fixed? Firms that have a specific focus on DUI cases are far better equipped to provide the full suite of services that a DUI case demands. Having an attorney who handles DUI cases as a significant part of their practice will be more efficient, provide better service and assure a better outcome than the attorney who only does DUI work from time-to-time. Spoiler alert: they don’t teach the handling of a DUI case in law school. When hiring a DUI attorney, make sure they are focused on DUI cases and don’t merely handle them on a part-time basis.
WRONG! Most of the work a DUI attorney does is outside of the courtroom. There are countless hours spent preparing the case for various court appearances. A good DUI attorney will spend a great deal of time reading and analyzing police reports, interviewing witnesses, doing legal research, writing motions, going to the scene of the arrest, viewing evidence at police stations and sending subpoenas, among many other specialized tasks. Anyone that thinks a DUI attorney will only help you when you go to court does not fully understand the criminal justice systems and intricacies of how they operate on a day to day basis. Most of the work done by lawyers is behind the scenes to help people get the best possible outcome. That is why you should not wait until last minute to hire a lawyer.
It is the duty of the court to presume that you are innocent until proven guilty. It’s important that you know this statement does not protect you like you may think it does. In fact, most of the people you encounter in the legal system will assume that you are guilty and may treat you as such. After all, they are charging you with a crime that you may or may not have committed. Aggressively pursuing your rights and forcing the prosecution to prove your guilt is required to achieve the best possible results. Attorneys are trained professionals. They know what to do to ensure the best outcome for their clients. Again, the system has already charged you with a crime. You MUST fight back if you are going to have a chance to win. #OWNtheLaw
Don’t do the prosecutor’s job for them. Just because you have been charged with a DUI does not mean you will be convicted. It is solely the Prosecutor’s job to prove your guilt. Every crime is made up of elements—it is the Prosecutor’s burden to prove each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt. It is possible that a DUI attorney can deal with the substantive issues of your situation before charges are ever filed. In fact, a DUI attorney may also be able to stop charges from ever being filed. Finding the right attorney and hiring them early in the process is always best. Even in a situation in which a conviction will occur, an attorney can help reduce the penalties and guide you through the system so no critical mistakes are made.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and you believe your rights were violated in the process, you absolutely need a DUI attorney. There is a great deal of things they can do for you. A violation of your Constitutional rights could result in evidence being inadmissible in court. Accordingly, a DUI attorney will spend significant time reviewing all documentation to determine if the case can be won on Constitutional grounds. In a situation like this one, time is not on your side. You need to contact the best possible lawyer right away to explain the situation and let them go to work on your behalf. Don’t let the cops get away with violating your constitutional rights.
Not true. When you walk away from the charges because you hired an attorney, you won’t look guilty—you’ll look smart. The constitution of the United States granted you a set of rights. Use them.
Again, not true. You may have been told that when you hire a DUI attorney, you will never know how much you will actually pay. The myth is that there are hidden costs. This is simply not true. When armed with the right questions you will know exactly what representation will cost you. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. Once you hire a lawyer, they work for you. You are the boss (to some extent—don’t hire a lawyer and then tell them how to do their job). Ask questions! Examples are: Do you charge a flat fee or are your fees hourly? Most DUI cases are handled on a flat fee basis. If you charge by the hour, what is your rate? Will I have to pay a retainer fee and if so, how does that work? If you charge a flat fee, what does it include and what doesn’t it include? Is it refundable? Do I have to pay it all up front? What are my expected expenses outside of the attorney fee? Can you provide an estimate for them? Lastly, sign a retainer so no one can go back on their word.
You want to know what is expensive? Sitting in jail for three months and being unable to go to work and consequently, losing your job. A good lawyer is not cheap but is honest. They are not going to charge you frivolously. They have an ethical duty not to. Further, consider the cost of going to jail, paying huge fines and losing your driver’s license.
The best attorneys are not always the most expensive, however, as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for.” When interviewing a DUI lawyer, you should find out in detail what work the lawyer will do to defend your case. Then consider that in determining the value of the service. Seek advice from someone who is working on your behalf and who will discuss their fees in a straightforward manner. Your future depends on it.