The first days surrounding an arrest for DUI are a flurry of activity that can be overwhelming for anyone, especially first-time offenders. Things happen so quickly that it can be difficult to know when to go with the flow and when to hire an attorney. First things first: you’re not alone. In 2016, the CDC reported over 1 million arrests for driving under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics. And while that number may seem large, it’s nothing in comparison to the staggering 111 million self-reported influences of alcohol-impaired driving, and that number skyrockets surrounding alcohol-heavy holidays such as the 4th of July. If you’re on the fence about hiring a DUI lawyer, here are some things to consider that might help you make your decision.
A Lawyer Can Help Offset Some Aspects of Sentencing
Driving under the influence is a serious offense, one that can result in jail time, suspension of a license, and hefty fines, not to mention the long-term issues like barriers to future career prospects and problems that may arise as a result of a lack of transportation. Knowing that, it’s important to have a competent attorney in your corner who can help you challenge some of these sentences to help strike the balance between showing a judge that you’re ready to be accountable for your actions and over-sentencing that may affect the rest of your career. Lawyers have specialized knowledge in terms of precedent for these matters and can advocate on your behalf for reduction or elimination of certain penalties you may incur, such as ignition interlock devices.
Knowledge Means Advocacy
Not only are DUI attorneys competent negotiators, but their knowledge in this particular area can be invaluable when it comes to advocating for you. This not only includes knowledge of your state’s laws and sentencing regarding alcohol-related offenses, but also knowledge of laws surrounding blood tests, breathalyzers, and traffic laws. This knowledge could mean the difference between jail time and reducing your charge to a lesser offense. You’re facing a specific charge with highly specialized proceedings; it’s important that your attorney be well-versed in this specific field.
Having an Advocate Is Important If the Worst Has Happened
If the unthinkable has happened and someone has been hurt or killed as a result of driving under the influence, you may be dealing with severe psychological distress in addition to your legal worries. Dealing with this stress or grief is a prolonged, complicated process, and having to navigate the two processes simultaneously can make it difficult–even impossible–to do either effectively. If you’re in this position, it’s important to have a competent attorney in your corner to help ensure that you’re not losing access to your ability to advocate for yourself while in the process of dealing with the trauma associated with this event. Moreover, if you have access to the appropriate resources, it’s important to seek out counseling for help in dealing with that grief. Advocacy on both fronts will help ensure that your DUI can be handled with the care and expertise it deserves.
If you’re still reeling from the aftermath of your arrest, it can be easy to get swept up in the proceedings and dealing with the stress that comes along with it. But if you’re able to stop, take a deep breath, and find an advocate who is willing to work for you, you can take the first steps toward the full life that comes afterward. Still have questions about what benefits a good attorney can provide for you? Leave them in the comments below.