Do I Really Need An Attorney For A DUI?
In most cases an attorney would be able to do something at minimum, even if that was just walking someone through the horrible experience that had already begun with the arrest. An attorney would be able to go to court for their client and my clients would often never have to go to court. They would be able to deal with the DMV and to keep people driving for many months.
I had a client recently who was over a .20, and it was their second DUI. There was no accident but the DA was trying to give the person a lot of time on the Sheriff’s work program in lieu of jail and they were trying to take away his license for quite some time. They were requiring an interlock and they wanted him to do all sorts of different things whereas my client was a bus driver. We were not able to win this case because it was not a case that could be won and it was not a case to go to trial.
We talked a lot and got all the discovery and checked the prior conviction from years ago. The breath machine was working properly so the case could not be won, however we were able to keep the client working by going back to court many times.
The client had not been working that long as a bus driver but he was able to keep his job because once he let them know about the DUI and that he was going to get convicted of this, he had already been there for an extra 8 months while I was continuing his case and going back to court for him over and over and fighting his case. They were so pleased after having seen many more months of his work performance that they gave him a job in the office instead of driving, which was fantastic.
We were also able to convince the court and the DA’s office to allow him to not have to put an interlock on vehicles that he owned but that he had no access to because he had helped family members financially to get cars, and he was the only bread winner in a big family. He was able to get the car loans so the cars were in his name and could not be transferred. Interlocks were going to need to go into every vehicle in his name, but we were able to get the court and the DA to agree that he would not have to do that.
He kept his job, was able to not have to put interlocks on his family members cars, and we were able to get the amount of sheriff’s work program reduced which helped him keep his job. We did a lot of things which may seem like small things, but to this client it was huge.
We often get much better results than this, but this was just a small example of what having an attorney, someone to advise the client, walk them through the system and what having someone to negotiate with the other side could do.
Can An Attorney Help If The Person Felt They Might Lose The Case Anyway?
I have handled cases where the client came in and it looked like there was no way we would be able to win the case based on what they were telling me, be we still ended up winning the case. The DA needs to be able to prove their case, and the DMV has to be able to prove their case against the person.
Police officers often make mistakes or there would be something wrong with the machine or the blood testing would not have been done properly. On rare occasions, while fighting a case, things could also fall through the cracks. Often someone might have prior convictions but the DA’s office might miss those, so it would not be our job to show those to them.
How Does Someone Benefit By Hiring An Attorney?
There are many different reasons to have an attorney. For most people the peace of mind would be one of the most important reasons, because once the person had an experienced an aggressive DUI lawyer fighting for them and looking at every angle, they would know that when the final decision was made, whether or not the attorney could get the case dismissed, they would know they were getting the best negotiated plea they could get.
If the case went to a jury trial, the person would have made the decision that was right for them by getting an attorney and they would know for the rest of their life that they did everything they could, they made the best decision they could for themselves at the time and they would feel closure and feel like they did the right thing versus just going in there and never knowing if it was the right thing to do to just go in and plead guilty to the first offer they made.
Sometimes the result might be the original offer. This happens more often in some counties versus others, although it is very rare. Having a DUI lawyer there advising the client and fighting for them could keep them driving for many months. If there was a suspension, then the attorney could minimize it and make it as short as possible. They might even be able to help the person keep their job.
If a client was on a restricted license after a period of suspension, then the attorney would be able to talk to the person about what would or would not be allowed, how to cover themselves to make sure that if they were pulled over on a restricted license that they would be able to prove it was work related driving. An attorney would also be able to keep the person from getting probation violations or losing their licenses for a year or more. There are many things that an attorney could do, and it would be done through counseling clients and being available for them for emails, texts, phone calls, evenings and weekends.
There are a lot of misconceptions about DUIs and until the person got a really good experienced DUI lawyer who was there for them, treated them like a person, cared about them and knew what they were doing, they would not necessarily get their best results or get what they deserved, which would be the best representation possible.
Would It Ever Be A Good Idea To Just Give Up And Plead Guilty?
Based on my knowledge of DUIs, I would never recommend anyone to just give up. The person should hire an experienced DUI lawyer who had been doing this for a long time instead of just a few years. I would recommend hiring someone who understood the way things worked in the different court houses and who had the respect of the judges, the DAs, other attorneys, and especially the DMV. It would be important for the attorney to have a good working relationship with the DMVs the client would be dealing with because that could also make a big difference.
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