What Can a DUI Lawyer Do for You?

What Can a DUI Lawyer Do for You?

What Can a DUI Lawyer Do for You?

What can a DUI lawyer do for you? Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated can have grave consequences. The drunk driver may cause a severe collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian in some instances. Even if no traffic accident occurs, a police officer can pull over a driver who they think is intoxicated. If they arrest the driver, the driver can face many potential penalties.​

DUI stands for driving under the influence and refers to driving a motor vehicle while impaired or intoxicated by alcohol. Alcohol can significantly impact a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. First of all, alcohol can slow down the functioning of a person’s central nervous system, delaying their reaction time and preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a collision. Alcohol can also have various physical symptoms and can lead to blurred vision.

If a police officer pulled you over and you have charges pending against you for DUI, you must have a knowledgeable attorney representing you as soon as possible. You need to make sure that you have a lawyer on your side advocating for you and protecting all of your legal rights. You should never speak to a police officer or investigator without having a DUI lawyer present with you.

Your lawyer can negotiate with the state prosecutor on your behalf to get you a favorable plea deal. Alternatively, a lawyer can represent you in court if you decide to take your DUI case to trial. An attorney can review all of your legal options with you and help you decide on the best option that suits the needs of your criminal case.

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What Not To Do After a DUI Arrest

If a police officer has arrested you for DUI, there are certain things that you should do and certain things that you should not do. One thing that you should not do is answer questions beyond your name and general intake information.

If a police officer begins to ask you questions, like whether or not you have been drinking or how much you had to drink, you should not answer those questions. Instead, you should insist upon the presence of your attorney before addressing any police questions. In addition, you should not make statements about the situation, such as whether or not you were drinking before the arrest.

Having a lawyer present with you during any questions following a DUI arrest will ensure that your rights remain protected at all times.

If you answer questions without having a lawyer present with you, the state prosecutor can use any information that you provide against you later in a trial. Therefore, you do not want to say anything that can potentially incriminate you or negatively impact your case. Having a lawyer present with you ensures that all of your rights remain safeguarded.

What Is a DUI?

The term DUI means driving under the influence. For a police officer to arrest you, the officer must have probable cause that you were impaired or under the influence of alcohol. Generally speaking, in most jurisdictions, an individual is per se legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. A person who has a blood alcohol concentration of that amount or higher can be subject to an immediate arrest.

Also, in most jurisdictions, stricter standards apply for commercial drivers and drivers under the age of majority (i.e., under 21 years of age). Most locations have a zero-tolerance policy for minors who operate their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Moreover, most jurisdictions have stricter standards for commercial vehicle drivers, such as the operators of large trucks, big rigs, and tractor-trailers, who operate these vehicles for a living. Commercial drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher.

Even if a driver has a blood alcohol concentration below 0.08 percent, they can still be subject to arrest for DUI. In that instance, a police officer might still arrest them if they appear to be impaired. There are numerous telltale signs of impaired motor vehicle operation, including abruptly weaving in and out of traffic and speeding.

Police officers will also look for various physical traits to determine whether or not alcohol has impaired a driver. Physical characteristics among impaired drivers include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and staggering gait. A police officer who believes a driver to be impaired by alcohol might require the driver to undergo various tasks, such as walking in a straight line, to determine if the driver is intoxicated.

If a police officer has arrested you for DUI, or if authorities released you on bail (or on your own recognizance) and are awaiting trial, you should retain a skilled DUI lawyer representing you at every stage of your criminal case. Your lawyer can explain your options and ensure that your legal rights remain guarded.

What Can a DUI Lawyer Do for You?

In a DUI, as in all other criminal cases, the state prosecutor handling the matter has the legal burden of proof. Specifically, the prosecutor must establish the legal elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt or beyond a doubt based on common reason and ordinary common sense.

This burden can sometimes be challenging for the prosecutor to satisfy. If the prosecutor cannot meet their burden, they will not prevail in the case, and the court may wind up dismissing the case in its entirety. In a DUI case, the government has the sole legal burden. Therefore, the defendant does not need to prove anything to prevail.

A knowledgeable DUI attorney representing you in your case can raise one or more legal defenses on your behalf. For example, your lawyer might contest the breathalyzer or field sobriety test results under certain circumstances. Your lawyer might also defend that you suffered from acid reflux or other complication that led to a false breathalyzer test result. Finally, your lawyer might argue that the breathalyzer equipment that an investigator used was defective in some way and that the result was incorrect.

What Are the Potential Penalties Upon Conviction?

When a judge or jury convicts an individual for DUI, it is up to the sentencing judge to impose one or more penalties. Those penalties will typically range in severity, depending upon various factors in the case. Those factors might include how much the defendant drank, the circumstances of the accident, and the time of day when it occurred. Potential penalties upon conviction can include jail time, required community service, and payment of significant monetary fines.

In addition, the defendant may face administrative penalties, including a loss of their driver’s license for a period. Finally, the defendant driver may need to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle at their own expense. An ignition interlock is a device that requires the driver to blow into it before the engine starts. If the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, it will now not allow the vehicle to start. In addition to installation costs, drivers often have to pay for maintenance on these ignition interlock devices.

One of the primary ways to avoid these penalties is to avoid a conviction altogether. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can advocate for you and raise various defenses on your behalf at trial to avoid a conviction and penalties.

What Are Some Collateral Consequences Associated With a DUI Conviction?

In addition to the potential legal consequences associated with a DUI conviction, a defended driver may also face various collateral consequences. This possibility is especially true in the current age of online background checks, where an individual can check out of person’s public criminal record online.

Having a DUI on your record can make it challenging to find a place to go to school or find a job. This obstacle arises because educational institutions and employers regularly check prospective applicants’ criminal records. In addition, a DUI conviction can cause harm to your reputation in the community, especially if you are a professional.

How an Experienced DUI Lawyer Can Help You

There are numerous ways that a DUI defense attorney can assist you with your case. First of all, your attorney can meet with you and discuss the circumstances of your arrest and precisely what happened. Your lawyer can then determine if you might be eligible to challenge the arrest based on specific legal grounds.

For example, the police officer may not have told you that you have a right to consult with a lawyer before answering any questions. In addition, the police officer might have committed an error when administering a field sobriety or Breathalyzer test, rendering the results invalid for violating your constitutional rights.

Besides investigating the circumstances of your arrest, your lawyer can work to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor for your case. Many DUI defense lawyers have a good rapport with criminal court judges and prosecutors. When a prosecutor is dealing with a familiar defense lawyer, they might be more inclined to offer a favorable plea deal than if they did not know the defense attorney.

Plea deals can benefit some DUI defendants. For example, as part of a plea deal, a judge may suspend jail time associated with a DUI conviction in exchange for the defendant successfully completing a specified probation period. If the prosecutor makes a favorable plea deal, the defense attorney can accept that plea deal on the defendant's behalf.

Finally, if the defendant rejects a plea deal that the prosecutor makes, then the defense lawyer can represent him at all criminal court hearings, including a trial. At a DUI trial, the defense lawyer can introduce evidence, including the defendant’s testimony on the witness stand, as part of the case.

Your DUI defense lawyer will do everything possible to help you achieve the best possible result in your criminal case. In most instances, the best possible outcome is a not guilty finding. If a judge or jury determines that you are guilty of DUI, your lawyer can represent you at the sentencing hearing and work to minimize the potential legal and collateral consequences of your conviction.

Is It Worth It to Hire a DUI Lawyer in My Case?

Yes—it is always better to have legal representation during a DUI case than to represent yourself at trial. In fact, if you show up to a court proceeding without a lawyer representing you, the judge will typically encourage you to obtain legal counsel. Moreover, if you go to court without a lawyer, a judge does not necessarily have to postpone the case simply because you do not have legal representation.

In other words, the judge can make you go forward with your case without representation. Therefore, you want a lawyer present with you at all court proceedings.

Moreover, any costs or fees associated with hiring a DUI defense lawyer in your case will be less than the potential risks of going it alone. If you represent yourself during a DUI proceeding, a judge or jury might find you guilty of the offense and sentence you to far more severe penalties.

These penalties can impact you for the remainder of your life and can lead to various collateral consequences. Having a lawyer represent you during your DUI case significantly lessens the chances of these legal penalties and collateral consequences.

Therefore, it is almost always worth the cost to have knowledgeable, skilled, and thoughtful legal representation on your side in a criminal DUI case.

The longer you wait to consult with a defense lawyer, the more you risk losing your license with little recourse. You also might say something to the authorities that hurts your case. To obtain the best possible outcome in your DUI case, you should contact a DUI attorney right after your arrest. Give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome by learning more about what a DUI defense lawyer can do for you.

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