Do I Need an Attorney for a DUI?
It’s difficult to “beat” a DUI. A bank robber doesn’t usually stand in front of the bank with a shotgun and a ski mask waiting for the police to come by before he robs the bank. On the other hand, when you get pulled over for a DUI, you can’t very easily suggest that you weren’t the driver. For that reason, people frequently express that don’t need an attorney for a DUI. Although it remains true that a DUI charge is hard to “beat”, there are a number of good reasons to hire an attorney in this situation. When we “beat” a DUI case (have it dismissed or plead down to “non-alcohol”), it is usually based on an aspect of the law that wouldn’t be remotely familiar to a non lawyer. If nothing else, it makes sense to speak to an attorney who specializes in DUI cases prior to simply going into court and pleading guilty without representation.
It is also very useful to have a DUI attorney to help you reduce the severity of the sentence if you are convicted of an alcohol related traffic offense. We frequently recommend that a client enroll in a state certified alcohol education and treatment program and bringing it to the judge’s attention that you have done this at sentencing can be very beneficial in “mitigating” the sentence that the judge imposes. These classes take time to complete and one of the things we do is make sure that you have enough time to complete a meaningful number of classed prior to sentencing so that you can explain to the judge what you have learned in the classes and to assure the judge that you are taking the case seriously.
It might not be necessary for every person that is charged with an alcohol related traffic offense to have an attorney, but it sure makes sense to get a private free consultation before making that important decision.