Driving under the influence or DUI is considered a crime in the United States – every town, city and state. That is why criminal courts are handling DUI or driving under the influence charges. People have rights to represent themselves in front of the criminal court. Still, a lot of defendants either defended by public lawyers appointed by the court or are being represented by a private attorney. In this article, we will take a closer look at the factors people might want to consider before they decide on what type of legal representation is best for them.
Getting a legal counsel’s opinion about the case
It is pretty tricky for someone that has no legal training or experience to assess the weakness and strengths of a Driving Under the Influence case. The law, when it comes to this violation is very complicated and always changing, and facts of each case are very unique.
So, getting opinions from a legal counsel with tons of experience defending this type of case can be very valuable. Most lawyers handling these types of cases offer a free consultation to prospective clients. But even if clients have to pay a small fee, chances are, it is money well spent.
Bring the police report, and other necessary case documents to this scheduled consultation to make out of the free consultation time. It might also help to make a list of questions you want to ask the lawyers. You do not have to get the service of a lawyer you have a scheduled consultation with. But meeting them face-to-face is a great way to gauge whether things will work with the lawyer you are planning to hire or not.
To find out more about drunk driving, check out https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving fore more information.
Cases where hiring a lawyer might be just a waste of time and money
Usually, prosecutors have a standard plea offer of first offenders. In short, the prosecutors can offer everyone with the usual plea deal for first DUI offenders – which is usually at the lower end of the allowable first sentence. Generally, a DUI offense is considered as a “standard first Driving Under the Influence” if the offender does not have prior convictions and the offense did not involve aggravating factors like injuries, high BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration or accidents.
In theory, standard plea bargain offer is the same whether the defendant is represented by a public legal counsel, a private one or none at all. That is why hiring a lawyer in a standard first Driving Under Influence case might not be necessary or worth it. This conclusion has been usually right in some cases. But in practice, the usual plea bargain offer is often just the starting point.
Lawyers with experience handling this type of case can usually whittle down the standard plea bargain by stressing out the weaknesses in the case or bringing out mitigating factors to prosecutors’ attention. A legal counsel’ familiarity and experience with the district attorney, judges and local practices can help with these kinds of negotiations.
Accepting standard offers can also be not advisable in cases where defendants have usable and workable defenses. But an unprecedented defendant is highly unlikely to know whether there is any such kind of arguments or not. So before accepting a plea bargain agreement, it is best to get the opinion of a legal counsel at least.
Usually, all defendants have the right to hire an attorney. If you can’t afford to hire one, the court will appoint a public lawyer for you. Appointed legal counsels are usually from the local public attorney’s office. Public criminal defense & DUI lawyers handle a lot of criminal cases, including tons of Driving Under the Influence cases.
That is why a lot of public lawyers are very familiar with DUI defenses and laws. They are usually well acquainted with district judges and attorneys and know their tendencies. This knowledge can be beneficial when it comes to a plea bargain agreement.
Public defenders also used to have excellent trial skills because they have tons of experience with this type of cases. But being represented by public legal counsels has downsides. Some of these lawyers have large caseloads. That is why, some of them feel like they, as well as their cases, do not get enough attention.
The next downside of getting the services of public legal counsel is that defendants do not have the luxury of choosing who will defend them – they will get the lawyer that the court appoints. A Driving Under the Influence arrest usually leads to two proceedings: administrative proceedings with the DMMV or the Department of Motor Vehicles and a criminal case. Generally, the defendant who has a public legal counsel will have to deal with the Department of Motor Vehicles proceedings without the help of their lawyer.
When defendants hire a private attorney that handle these types of cases, they will defend their clients in both administrative and criminal cases. Having the same lawyer work on both cases can lead to better results. That includes a shorter license-suspension period.
If the case goes to trial, the cost can be even more expensive. But hiring one can be worth it. When retaining a lawyer, the defendant can decide who to hire. Legal counsels who specialize in these types of cases usually have a better understanding of DUI defenses and laws that other lawyers do not have. In some instances, their expertise can lead to better results – better plea bargain deal or even the dismissal of charges altogether.