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Do you need a lawyer for a DUI

Updated on July 10, 2010

What would you do if you find yourself charged with a DUI offence: should you simply represent yourself or should you hire a lawyer? Although it is very hard to take a firm decision, in most cases, it is better to stick to the later option. Below is given some strong arguments in support of this suggestion:

Nature of Charges

If not all, most DUI charges start with the arrest of offender and end with his conviction. Now, if you are the person who is so-called offender in the case, then my friend, it is an alarming time for you. When you are caught first time in such a case, you will be prosecuted for misdemeanor charges only.

On the other hand, you could be charged with a felony if you are found to be a repetitive offender for drinking and driving, hurting someone, endangering a minor and for any other such offence. In a few cases, you can do fine without hiring a lawyer if this is your first DUI charge. However, when it comes to defending against a felony charge, you are in real trouble without a lawyer.

In Case of Felony Charges

But, why it is necessary to hire a lawyer for a felony charge? This is because if you fail to argue convincingly or completely fail to argue at all, the degree of jail term, license suspension, probation and/or fine can be much higher. It should be noted that most DUI charges do turn into conviction. Nevertheless, a lawyer can help you in lessening the degree of your penalties, provided the lawyer fails to save you completely from all the charges.

There have been instances where the judge turned a felony charge into a misdemeanor in favor of the argument of a lawyer, which is in itself a big difference. Under the misdemeanor charges, the typical penalties include:  license suspension for one year, jail term for up to 48 hrs and fines up to thousand dollars. But in case of felony charges, all these penalties will become more severe with much longer suspension of license, months of jail term and thousand of dollars in fines.

What Actually a Lawyer Does for You

Sometimes, lawyer proves to be much more helpful than just making the penalties less severe. For starter, a lawyer doesn't let a DUI charge lead into a conviction. A well experienced lawyer can also prove that it was actually the officer who was at fault by arresting you erroneously, perhaps improperly using the breathalyzer and not reading your rights correctly. Sometimes a very minor fault on the part of the law officer can make the judge to dismiss the entire case.

When You Feel You're Innocent

If you think you are absolutely innocent in the case then by all means you should hire a lawyer. But you may also be thinking that it would be costly to hire a lawyer and in this prospect you are not completely wrong. DUI attorneys do come expensive, whose fee can vary anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. However, the fee amount varies a lot that largely depends on the time duration for which the case has been running in the court. But if you are feeling it strongly that you have been pulled over for all the wrong reasons then you have all the right to fight against your charges by hiring a lawyer.

When You Feel You're Guilty

A widespread misconception among people is that when you know or feel you are guilty, you should simply accept the penalties by pleading guilty before the judge. This may work for the first DUI offence, but be sure that this won't work each time you have been charged for DUI offence. Most of the time people are not sure if they are guilty or not and just because of sheer pressure and fear, people tend to accept the penalties, which is not at all a good idea. When you are in suspicion, don't hesitate in seeking the assistance of a good DUI counsel. Even if you are at fault, a good counsel can pinpoint some holes in the case that can save you from penalties or at least can help lessen the penalties.


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