It’s no secret that a DUI is a big deal. Being charged with this offense will cost you your reputation, a lot of money, and maybe even your freedom. When everything is tallied up, you can expect to pay anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000 for a first DUI offense.
When looking at this huge price tag, you might wonder whether you can cut your costs by skipping the DUI lawyer and fighting your case yourself. If you’ve been asking yourself “Do I really need a DUI defense lawyer for my drunk driving charge?” you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn the answer to this question and the reasons why.
What Does a DUI Lawyer Do?
Before you can decide whether a DUI lawyer’s cost is worth the money, you need to understand exactly what these legal professionals do. Here are some benefits you can receive by consulting with a DUI attorney:
Giving a Professional Opinion
It’s always a good idea to consult with one before you make any important decisions. During your consultation, the lawyer will listen to all the details of your case and give you an honest legal opinion.
You may learn more about the strengths and weaknesses and see things from a new perspective. Even if you ultimately decide not to hire a DUI lawyer, going through this process will be beneficial for you.
Negotiating a Plea Bargain
In some situations, like when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is just slightly over the legal limit or there are other extenuating circumstances, a lawyer familiar with DUI laws can help you enter into a plea bargain. In some cases, the lawyer can get the charges reduced to reckless driving or another charge that doesn’t involve jail time or a license suspension.
Your lawyer can also sometimes help you get your sentence reduced. In this case, in exchange for a guilty plea, you may be able to serve a shorter sentence.
Crafting a Defense
Knowing the very serious consequences of a DUI conviction, having an experienced professional fighting your case is a clear advantage. A good DUI lawyer can dispute the validity of a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer test, and more. In addition, your lawyer will walk you through all steps of preparing for and going through your trial and filing motions to try to dismiss the case.
Assisting With Serious Charges
If you’re facing your second DUI charge, you’ll almost always want to hire a DUI lawyer. A second conviction brings much stricter punishments and sentences. In this case, having someone by your side to represent your interests is well worth the money.
Another case where a DUI lawyer is an absolute necessity is when your DUI is connected with an accident that resulted in a serious injury or a death. In this case, if you’re convicted, you’ll face dire consequences which may include years of incarceration. This is not a chance you want to take!
Are There Times When You Don’t Need a Lawyer?
In most cases, if you can afford a lawyer to help you fight a DUI charge then it makes sense to hire the best DUI lawyer you can afford. However, in some cases, there’s not much that a lawyer can do for you.
If the prosecutors have ample evidence against you, then your defense options may be limited. If you’re planning to plead guilty, then a lawyer might not be able to get much better results than you could on your own.
You may decide to skip the lawyer if you were pulled over with a very high blood alcohol level. The legal limit is 0.08, and if you’re well past that then it’s likely you will face conviction if you proceed to trial. Also, if an officer can testify that you were drunk and this is backed up by a field sobriety test or chemical test, it will be far more difficult to fight the case.
However, even in these cases, it’s possible that a lawyer could find a mistake made by the police that would cause evidence to be thrown out. This means that even if you’re guilty, a great DUI lawyer might get the case thrown out.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer? The Bottom Line
While there’s no way to know for sure whether hiring a DUI lawyer will help you win your case, you can almost always count on a lawyer giving you a better chance of coming out on top that you would have if you proceed on your own. When your future is on the line, it’s not the time to cut corners.
In addition to potential fines, license suspensions, and jail time, failing to do everything you can to avoid charges could have other serious consequences. You may lose your job and/or your professional license and you could have issues with child custody and other critical facets of your life.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer is that you’re paying someone else to deal with this serious problem for you. A DUI lawyer has been through all of this before and will help give you some peace of mind as you go through this scary and stressful process.
Start Getting Your Life Back in Order
There’s nothing good about being pulled over for a DUI, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Now that you know the benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer, you can decide for yourself whether it makes sense for your situation.
Either way, it’s not too late to start getting your life back in order. Start by spending some time scrolling through some more of our blog posts. We have lots of tips to help you with your legal issues, personal finance, health and wellness, and more!