According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 1.5 million people are arrested annually for driving under the influence of alcohol. In 2018 alone, more than ten thousand people died from alcohol-impaired driving-related crashes. What's more, these fatalities accounted for nearly 30% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in the United States. Simply put, a drunk driver is more likely to cause a road accident, vehicular deaths, and highway injuries than his/her non-impaired counterpart.
While drunk driving may seem like a minor criminal offense, the truth is that it can potentially have life-changing consequences on the affected individual. It is a crime that may not only impact your emotional and physical wellbeing but may also have deep-reaching financial complications. So, if you have been either charged with or facing prosecution for a DUI-related offense, it is imperative that you know and understands how being convicted of this particular crime can impact both your finances and wellbeing.
Is it Worth Getting a Lawyer for a DUI?
Driving under the influence is a crime in most states. This means that DUI charges will be handled in a criminal court. Even though you have the right to represent yourself, it is always a great idea to hire an experienced attorney.
This is because if DUI law is extremely complex and therefore, it can be quite difficult for an untrained individual with no legal expertise to assess both the weaknesses and strengths of a DUI case. The lack of trial skills and legal knowledge will likely put you in a bad place in court.
So, getting the assistance of a qualified and experienced DUI lawyer can be highly valuable. Having an attorney by your side will ultimately result in better outcomes, including relatively shorter license-suspension periods among other things. A skilled lawyer will know how to navigate your case to ensure you get a favorable outcome.
What Can a Lawyer do for a DUI?
Just like any other type of criminal offense, a DUI conviction will involve a spectrum of criminal punishments. The specific punishments the court will impose for your DUI conviction will depend on many factors such as the laws and regulations within your state, your age, and whether you have had any prior DUI convictions among others.
In general, each state criminalizes DUI offenses and this enables courts to impose fines, jail terms, driving restrictions, probation, alcohol assessment and treatment, installation of Ignition Interlock Device, vehicle confiscation and other penalties as sentences for convicted individuals.
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense, below are some of the things your criminal defense lawyer will do for you.
You will get reliable and useful advice: It is imperative to note that even if you have been arrested for drunk driving charges, you still have certain legal rights. However, you may not be able to identify some of these legal details on your own, and this is why you want to have an experienced DUI attorney at your disposal. A great lawyer will not only help you to make the right decisions but will equally protect you legally.
He will negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf: You already know that DUI lawyers are professionals who work closely with local prosecutors to execute plea bargains for DUI offenders. These professionals boast years of trust, goodwill as well as negotiation skills that will enable them to persuade the judge to potentially decrease the charges against you or even dismiss DUI charges altogether!
He will help expunge your conviction, if possible: If you are convicted, an experienced DUI lawyer will do everything within his knowledge and power to ensure the conviction gets expunged so that it may not impact either your future employment or credit. Expungement requirements usually vary from one state to another, and your DUI attorney is the one who may know how to negotiate them.
He will help you to meet legal filings and deadlines: If you didn't know, there are lots of legal procedures in a DUI case with deadlines that need to be met. What's more, you will need to file numerous motions during your DUI case, and your lawyer is the only expert qualified enough to file and submit all these important filings on time. He will also represent you during all the necessary court trials and appearances.
Depending on the attorney as well as your location, you may have to pay between $300 and $500 per hour. The main advantage here is that if your case can be resolved quickly, you won't pay significant costs because you'll only be charged for the length of time your DUI attorney worked on your case. If a DUI lawyer opts for an hourly rate, your case is likely complex or unique in one way or another.
In simple terms, a flat rate fee will cover the entire course of your DUI case. On average, a flat fee cost arrangement usually costs between $3,000 and $4,000. It is imperative to note that flat fees usually depend on your attorney's perception of the total amount of effort and time your case may take. What's more, your lawyer will take into account the likelihood of a favorable agreement being reached. This implies that when a DUI lawyer decides to charge a flat fee, the chances are high that he may have determined that he can successfully negotiate a favorable plea agreement and avoid a somewhat longer and expensive trial.
Can a Lawyer get You Out of a DUI Conviction?
A competent attorney will surely have lots of options to get you out of a DUI by identifying legal flaws in your case such as police report errors, incorrect BAC breathalyzer tests, improper police procedure, and existing medical conditions, and use them to successfully get you out of a DUI. However, even if your DUI attorney may not be able to free you from the grips of a DUI, he will significantly boost your chances of having a relatively favorable plea bargain.