Being booked for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a daunting and scary situation to find yourself in, especially if it’s your first-time offender. You run the risk of facing harsh penalties if you avoid getting a lawyer for a DUI.
You’ll be read your Miranda rights and advised that you are entitled to talk to a lawyer before talking to the police. But how important is hiring a lawyer for a DUI? Will he or she be able to reduce your sentence and save you money?
Below is everything you need to know about being arrested for a DUI and what the potential upside of hiring a lawyer is.
How Serious a Charge Is a DUI?
Being booked on a DUI is a serious situation. Obviously, there are more serious crimes, but the implications of a DUI are very serious and can affect your quality of life.
Outside of the potential punishments, you must face up to the fact that you were involved in a potentially fatal situation.
By driving under the influence, your reaction time, perception of distance, and ability to drive to a safe standard is compromised. You’re putting yourself, and other road users at risk.
The three main punishment outcomes include:
- Loss of driving license – Even for first-time offenses you’re going to have to face a license suspension.
- Fines – It’s going to cost you. Part of your sentence will include a fine, there are court costs, lawyer fees, and potentially some other costs to pick up.
- Jail time – This is the one that scares people the most. No one wants to spend time behind bars.
Should You Represent Yourself in a DUI Case?
A lot of people decide to represent themselves when they are arrested for a DUI, especially if it’s their first arrest, as they think they will get off with a light sentence.
This is often a big mistake, though. Judges may show lenience to first-time offenders, but the leniency can only go so far.
All aspects of criminal law are complicated, and DUI has some complex areas that are best left to lawyers with experience in this area of law.
Just think about the possible sentences—there is a lot on the line. Sure, a lawyer may cost you for taking a plea or more if your case goes to trial. However, you can cost yourself more in fines, a longer license suspension, and even jail time by not understanding how to navigate your case.
Most lawyers offer some form of free consultation. Consider at least scheduling a consultation to discuss your case with a lawyer. You are under no obligation to move forward with the firm.
What Are the Common Mistakes People Make When Representing Themselves?
There is a long list of mistakes people make when representing themselves. Most revolve around not knowing the intricacies of DUI laws, because, if you have no law experience there is going to be a lot that of which you are not aware.
The most common mistake is thinking the police and District Attorney (DA) are there to help you. They will be forthcoming with advice and will answer questions for you if they are able to, but their goal is to get a conviction, make no mistake about that.
A DUI is not a crime the police can take lightly. DUIs are frowned upon by the general public as well as law enforcement. No one is going to be doing you any favors if you’re going at it alone.
Should You Consider Getting a Lawyer for a DUI Case?
Without evaluating every individual case, the general answer to this question is – yes. You should hire a lawyer in a DUI case, and a good lawyer with experience handling DUI cases is preferable.
A lawyer will have the skills and experience to plead a case down to a lesser offense. If this means helping you escape jail time or decreasing the proposed suspension of your license, it’s almost certainly going to be worth the lawyer’s fees.
The least you can do is hear out a lawyer with a free consultation. While they shouldn’t be making you any concrete promises, they can open your eyes to the potential punishments you are facing and ways they can help.
Start the Process
If you are facing DUI charges in New Jersey, speak to the Law office of Douglas Herring. The legal team can discuss your case and the options you have. As a former state prosecutor, Mr. Herring understands both sides, and has experience with the incumbent strategies. Do not take your DUI charge lightly. With the consequences and potential outcomes looming, your best course of action is to understand every possible conclusion. Get a free consultation by calling (609) 201-0155 today. Learn more about how the team can serve and defend your rights.