Driving under the influence of an alcoholic or narcotic substance is considered a crime in every State. That’s why a criminal court usually handles the DUI charges. Defendants can represent themselves in court, but most choose to hire private or public defenders.
Hopefully, you might never commit a DUI. But if you do, you may ask which option for defence is the best. Can you represent yourself the best, or will it be worth hiring an attorney? Every case is different. Some cases of DUI can be costly in more ways than monetary expenses.
It is an understandable dilemma that this article seeks to help you resolve.
What’s A Specialist’s Opinion Worth?
Someone with no legal training or experience cannot rightfully assess a DUI case. The laws regarding DUIs are complicated and go through frequent changes. Additionally, every case is unique, so the same strategy is not applicable in every scenario. Therefore, it is highly advisable to get the opinion of a professional DUI lawyer.
Some DUI lawyers offer a free consultation to potential clients. However, even a small fee is worth valuable advice. Don’t forget to bring your documents, including court and case papers, when you go to a lawyer.
Cases that Might Not Require an Attorney
Prosecutors usually offer a standard first-offence plea deal to first-time offenders, typically at the lower end of the allowable sentence. Theoretically, this offer is the same whether you have an attorney or not. Therefore, it might not be worth hiring one in most cases that do not have extenuating circumstances.
An experienced DUI specialist attorney can further whittle down the standard offer by weakening the prosecution’s case and pointing out certain mitigating factors. An attorney’s reputation, familiarity with the district attorney and the judge, can undoubtedly help with the negotiations.
In short, if you have a viable defence, then go for an attorney. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money.
Note: Please keep in mind that if a DUI case ever goes to trial, always opt for a lawyer’s services. Otherwise, you may inadvertently dig yourself in a legal hole from which there is no easy way to climb out.
Hiring Public Defenders
In the United States of America, every criminal defendant has a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford it, one will be appointed by the court from the public defender’s office. The public defenders handle many criminal cases, including most DUIs, making them very familiar with such cases. Additionally, public defenders are also acquainted with the judges and district attorneys, making it easier for them to predict their moods and get a better deal.
There are some downsides to hiring a public defender as well. Public defenders generally have too many cases, making it possible not to pay proper attention to some of them. You also do not choose your defender; it is selected for you by the court. Furthermore, DUI cases commonly lead to two separate proceedings with the criminal court and the DMV. Defendants with a public defender have to face the DMV proceeding by themselves.
Hiring Private Lawyers
A private lawyer typically represents you in both the criminal court as well as the DMV proceedings. Having the same attorney for both proceedings can be beneficial for you as it may lead to a more lenient sentence.
Keep in mind that private lawyers do not offer their services cheaply, which is generally a deal-breaker for most defendants. The cost may increase even more if the case goes to trial.
If you can afford one, then a private lawyer can ensure a far more favourable outcome. The choice of a lawyer is yours; you can reject the ones you do not feel comfortable with. Specialist DUI attorneys possess an in-depth knowledge of DUI laws. They can defend your position much better than an overworked public defender or yourself. Some private lawyers are good enough to get your case dismissed outright.
A private lawyer can ensure you spend minimal time in court for all dates. This is a significant perk for busy individuals. A private attorney also gives your case the special attention it deserves and answers all your questions.