Many people wonder if they need a lawyer for a first DUI. A DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) may seem like a common offense however it is a very serious criminal charge in most states. A DUI puts the lives of so many people other than the driver at risk. The amount of time in jail or hefty fines depends on many factors like your blood-alcohol concentrations (BAC), your criminal record, or any deaths or injuries that happened as a result of the DUI.
In addition, your license and driving privileges may be revoked for a certain period of time. You may even have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car after a period of suspension depending on the DUI laws in your state.
Is it best to get legal representation for a DUI if you're a first-time offender? There are some instances where hiring an attorney won’t make a difference in the final outcome but it is in your best interest if there are aggravating factors in your case.
Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Many courts will hand out standard sentences for first-offense DUIs which are considered misdemeanor offenses. Some people find it easiest to plead guilty if there is strong evidence against them like elevated blood alcohol levels, witnesses stating you were driving erratically, failed field sobriety tests, or a breathalyzer machine. An attorney might not be able to do much for you in that situation.
It would benefit you to hire an experienced lawyer in the event certain factors in your case may increase your penalty like an extremely high BAC or that may decrease your penalty like procedural issues during your arrest.
An attorney can recognize these factors and come up with a plan of action including representation at your trial if you are unsure.
Why is a Quality DUI Attorney Better to Have Compared to a Cheaper Attorney?
If there is a way for evidence to get thrown out, an experienced DUI lawyer will have the knowledge and ability to do that. An example would be a motion to suppress. This is when the police officer does not have sufficient probable cause to pull you over and do an investigation for a DUI. Less expensive attorneys like ones that charge less than two thousand dollars can and should be asked how many cases they do suppression hearings for and evidence to support that answer.
Cheaper attorneys typically don’t do these types of hearings. They stick to pleading people guilty or no contest. This is not something you want in a lawyer for a DUI. You want an experienced attorney who has trial skills and will fight for you. It is not common for evidence to be thrown out without going through a suppression motion.
The motion to suppress the evidence is so important to winning the case because it makes all of the evidence collected after the invalid stop thrown out. This motion is not asked in every DUI case. It is generally used when there is a strong probability of winning the case or getting a much lighter sentence.
This topic is a smart way to find out if your attorney will fight for you. Will they bring a suppression motion to court? How often will they bring that motion to the court? If it seems like the judge made an incorrect decision, your lawyer should appeal it. Generally, a cheaper attorney can’t give you this much time that is needed to win your case.
Can an Attorney Help Reduce My Sentence?
In some cases, states are willing to agree to a plea deal and reduce a DUI sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. For example, you may be facing charges for a second or third drunk driving charge, which can land you in prison for a few months or years. Instead of taking it to trial, the prosecution may be willing to reduce the sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. An attorney might also be able to negotiate other conditions of probation if the DUI charge involves illegal drugs.
“Sentence bargaining” goes much smoother when dealt with by an attorney just like plea bargaining. First-offence, non-injury DUI case sentences are typically harder to negotiate.
If You Need a Lawyer for a First DUI Call Our Firm Today
After you’ve been charged with a first-time DUI charge, it can be difficult deciding to hire a lawyer or not. An attorney can be especially helpful when facing high stakes and questionable charges. In contrast, putting in some effort and determination on your own end can save you a lot of money.
It is a good idea to at least consult with a drunk driving attorney to weigh your consequences if you are convicted. Our Naperville DUI defense attorneys are experts about local DUI laws and will know how to best defend against your charges. Call our law firm today to learn how we can help you through this difficult legal issue.