Likely Consequences of Not Hiring a DUI or DWI Lawyer

Being convicted of a DUI or DWI can have a major impact on your future and your prospects. Aside from losing your license, you will have a criminal record, and that can have consequences that extend into your home, your employments, and most other areas of your life.

DUIorDWIFor laypeople, getting pulled over by a police officer and actually being arrested is something they couldn’t possibly imagine, but with drinking and driving laws changing across the country, it’s a scenario that is becoming more likely. Because most people can’t fathom this scenario, they are far from prepared when it actually comes to pass. Few people know their rights under these circumstances, and your rights may vary state to state. Can you legally refuse a breathalyzer? What is the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC)? Was your stop lawful? What should you say to the arresting officers? Do you have to answer their questions?

It goes without saying that ignorance is no excuse for the law, so it should be a no-brainer that you make yourself aware of your state and local laws, but what about legal advice? The truth is that whenever you find yourself facing charges, you should request a lawyer immediately. Unfortunately, many do not. Why? Well we are taught growing up that the police are our friends, and they are, unless you are on the receiving end of charges. You should always exercise your “right to remain silent,” and contact your lawyer at the earliest possible time.

What happens if you skip the lawyer?

Do you know the law code inside and out? Likely not. A lawyer does. A lawyer will also be able to determine whether or not the stop that resulted in you facing charges was legal, whether proper procedures were followed, and they will be able to determine whether or not the evidence against you is sufficient, or if there are holes in the prosecutor’s case. So what happens if you choose not to call a lawyer after you are arrested for a DUI, or DWI? Chances are you will be the proud new owner of a criminal record, if you don’t already have one.

Consequences

Not having a lawyer in your corner may result in:

Fines: Without someone who possesses legal knowledge arguing your case, you may get slapped with a fine much higher than you may have received otherwise.

Suspension: There are minimum license suspensions for first time offenders, which are impossible to escape, but depending on your state when arrested, the suspension could be extended beyond the minimum.

Jail time: If your actions resulted in the death or injury of a pedestrian or fellow motorist, you could be facing some real prison time. A lawyer is there to help negotiate a fair sentence and without one you could be facing the full-weight of the criminal justice system.

IID: An interlock ignition device may be prescribed by a judge.

An unlawful arrest: A lawyer may be able to prove that the police had no lawful cause to stop your vehicle to begin with, and if this can be proven then your case can be thrown out of court. Without a lawyer you will have a hard time determining the status of your arrest, and whether there was just cause to pull you over in the first place. This is a very important point to consider.

What is a DUI?

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence (http://www.sonoma-county.org/health/services/driving.asp), which often pertains to people who are driving while under the influence of drugs, illicit or prescribed.

What is a DWI?

DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated, which often pertains to driving after consuming alcohol beyond what is legally permitted to operate a motor vehicle.

The important thing to remember is that for a first-time offender a DUI/DWI is a misdemeanor offense that will result in a small fine and a short term license suspension, usually 30 days. Unfortunately, there is a very fine line between a misdemeanor and a felony when it comes to DUI/DWI charges. Mitigating circumstances can easily change the degree of seriousness of the charges you are facing, which is why it is critical to hire a lawyer no matter what.

Ensure you have your best interest in mind and consult an attorney if you are ever arrested for a DUI/DWI, first-time offender or otherwise.