Many people think it is not worth the cost to hire a lawyer to defend them from DUI charges. They tend to mistakenly suppose that these are fairly minor cases, especially if it is the first time they have been charged. It also is often commonly believed that, if the breath test or blood test shows an illegally elevated blood alcohol level, there is no point in fighting the charges anyway.
However, many DUI cases are not as open and shut as they can seem from outside. A qualified attorney has the knowledge you need to make informed decisions at all stages of your case.
Challenging the evidence
The first thing you need to know is that blood and breath tests are not always completely accurate. There are several factors that can affect readings and indicate a higher alcohol level than is actually present. These factors may include human error by the officers who operate the equipment, certain health conditions and your environment. It is especially important to challenge test results if the BAC reading hovers around the legal limit or the limit where aggravated charges may kick in.
Mitigate potential consequences
A DUI conviction can also have long-term repercussions for you, especially if it is not your first or aggravating factors are present. Aggravating factors include having a child in your car at the time, reckless driving or causing an accident that results in property damage, injury or death. In the latter case, pleading guilty to a DUI can make it easier for prosecutors to support the other charges connected with the incident. A DUI conviction can also affect your immigration status in a number of ways if you are not a U.S. citizen. A DUI can also damage your professional standing, as certain professions may suspend you from practice or even take away your license.
Particularly in serious situations where your best options would be to plead guilty, an experienced lawyer can help you get more favorable sentencing. Sentence bargaining is especially important if you are looking at a long prison sentence, as can be the case in an aggravated DUI. Depending on your circumstances, even a relatively minor DUI charge can affect your life. Your lawyer can bargain for a deal that works for you.
Whatever the circumstances of your DUI charges, talking to a knowledgeable attorney can offer vital information about your options that most people would not be aware of. A good defense lawyer may help you get the optimal outcome possible in your case.