(STL.News) The answer to the question of is it worth it to hire a specialist attorney when facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges really comes down to whether or not you can afford it and if you are actually innocent of the allegations that have been made towards you.
When do you need to hire a DUI attorney?
Being caught driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a very serious thing that may have an impact on your future life and even your employment status. If you speak to any legal professional out there they will advise that you need to hire a specialist DUI attorney to manage your case for you. This is because, using their knowledge and expertise, they may be able to have the charges that have been brought against you either dismissed or at least reduced, whilst potentially saving your driver’s license at the same time. However, there is, of course, no guarantee that they will actually be able to achieve this outcome.
Prior to all of the states in America agreeing to drunk driving per se and other laws, it used to be the case that a good DUI attorney would be able to have lesser charges like reckless driving brought against you or have you pay a fine for your offense. However, nowadays, all drivers that are found to be intoxicated whilst behind the wheel are automatically charged as a DUI.
Level of blood alcohol for determining guilt
Under the per se laws, if a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is in excess of the national limit, then that individual is breaking the law and will be charged with a DUI offense. As it currently stands, the BAC limit across America is 0.08. At this level, some people can appear to be completely coherent and not intoxicated in the slightest. It is your BAC level that is used to determine your guilt or not.
If charged with a DUI offense it is important that you know what your BAC level was at the time of arrest, as you will be able to pass this on to a DUI attorney. Where your level is 0.08 or greater then you are highly likely to be convicted and be faced with a number of fines. You will also have a DUI put on your official driving record too. In these types of cases, a DUI attorney can do very little to help you.
Driver’s license suspended
There are currently 48 states in America where the administrative license suspension (ALR) laws have been passed. This allows law enforcement officers to quickly suspend and confiscate any individual’s driver’s license if they are unable to pass a field sobriety test or have a BAC that is above the legal limit.
In those small numbers of states where the ALR laws are not in place, an individual’s driver’s license cannot be suspended until their case goes to court. Only after you are either convicted or plead guilty to the charges is your driver’s license suspended. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are the Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL) and Occupational Limited License (OLL) programs instead of the ALR and in the state of Louisiana, there is the ignition interlock for high BAC (0.02 and greater).
In the great majority of states in America, if you refuse to perform a breath test at the side of the road then your driver’s license is immediately revoked and confiscated from you.
Where certain situations exist, then the charges faced for a DUI offense may be enhanced. These may occur if it is a repeat offense if there has been any property damage, if you have injured someone or endangered a child, or if there were any aggravating circumstances.
A good DUI attorney should be able to lessen some of these enhanced charges, although in some states these enhancements come with mandatory penalties. This is especially true for repeat offenders.
How a DUI attorney can help you
A DUI attorney, such as one from the Law Office of Joel M. Mann, can do everything possible to make sure that you are fully prepared for taking your case to trial and have completed everything that is required from you. For instance, a DUI attorney will be able to help you get SR 22 auto insurance and send the correct form to the department of motor vehicles. They are also likely to make you attend some sort of alcohol treatment/education program, which is usually required under state law in order to get your driver’s license back.
What a DUI attorney can be to help you is hold your hand through the legal process. Using their skills and experience this process can be expedited so that you get your driver’s license back as soon as possible.
The bottom line
When charged with a DUI offense, you should do what you can to hire the best DUI attorney that you can. This is especially true if this is your first experience of being in trouble with the law and are not sure how it all works or what is involved. A good DUI attorney will use their skill and experience to guide you through the process, doing what they can to make it all go as smoothly as possible for you.
For those individuals who do not have the budget to hire a high-quality DUI attorney, then there is the option of simply accepting the expenses and fines that come with the conviction. This is especially true for those individuals who have never been convicted for this offense before, as there will likely be no additional charges to pay. Where money is tight, the cost of hiring a DUI attorney is something that can be avoided. That being said, it is always recommended that you get legal counsel if at all possible prior to making your plea in front of a judge.