If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you need a DUI attorney right away. DUI charges are serious and, if you are found guilty, you will face stiff penalties under current California laws. Regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent, you need an experienced attorney to protect your rights inside and outside of the courtroom. Without an attorney, you may find yourself sitting in jail when you could have avoided jail time by simply hiring qualified representation.
Reasons Why A DUI Defendant Should Hire A Lawyer
There are numerous reasons why you, as a DUI defendant, need to hire a lawyer to represent you on charges of driving under the influence. The first and foremost reason would be that you do not want to risk your freedom. By not hiring an experienced lawyer, you are taking a serious risk with your freedom.
Representing yourself is not advisable when you are facing jail time for a crime. You would not risk your life by performing surgery on yourself so why would you jeopardize your freedom by representing yourself in a court of law.
In addition to protecting your freedom, below are additional reasons why you need to hire a DUI attorney if you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs.
- Trial experience – Lawyers who routinely represent clients charged with this type of criminal offense have significant trial experience. You are not familiar with the court system, court rules or court procedures but your attorney will be and will use that knowledge to your benefit.
- Experience with field sobriety tests – If a law enforcement officer performed a field sobriety test, he or she may have conducted that test improperly. Attorneys are well-versed in field sobriety tests including how those tests are to be administered as well as the problems with those tests. Your attorney can use this knowledge to challenge these tests and possibly have them excluded from evidence.
- Expert witnesses and evidence – Experienced lawyers have access to expert witnesses, if needed. They also have extensive experience in identifying, gathering, and preserving evidence. Furthermore, as a layperson, you will not understand the rules of evidence that govern the type of evidence that can be used in court verses the type of evidence that cannot be used in court.
- Reduction in fines and jail time – Attorneys are great negotiators. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, your counsel has the expertise and knowledge necessary to negotiate a reduction in fines and/or jail time. Most individuals do not know this is possible and, if they do, they do not know how to present a convincing argument to the court as to why a sentence should be reduced.
- Be prepared – The prosecutor will be prepared to use his or her experience and resources to prove that you are guilty of the criminal charge you are facing. Everyone involved in prosecuting the case from the arresting officer through the prosecutor arguing the case at trial will be prepared. If you do not have an attorney, you will likely be unprepared for what will happen. An attorney knows the steps in criminal prosecution and he knows what is necessary to defend you against these serious charges.
Why Not Use A Court Appointed Attorney?
Every person charged with a criminal offense has the right to competent legal counsel. If that person cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney for him or her. Therefore, some people who are charged with DUI will allow the court to appoint an attorney in order to save money; however, this is not advisable.
Court-appointed attorneys seldom specialize in a specific area of law. They may handle a variety of criminal cases ranging from simple possession to petty theft and aggravated assault. Because they handle such a large variety of cases, it is difficult for court-appointed attorneys to gain extensive experience in one specific area of law.
By hiring an experienced DUI attorney, you are giving yourself an advantage over others who accept a court-appointed attorney because you will have counsel that has experience dealing with this specific type of criminal charge. Attorneys who practice in a few chosen areas of law tend to be more efficient and have better results than attorneys who try to learn numerous types of law.
Furthermore, court-appointed attorneys typically handle hundreds of cases at a time. You will simply be another file in a tall stack of files on his or her desk. By hiring your own attorney, you have someone who is working on your behalf that has your best interest at heart. You are also getting the advantage of having the lawyer’s staff working on your behalf as well.
Private law firms have many more resources than public defendants do including, but not limited to, an expanded staff, access to expert witnesses and experienced investigators. These resources all work in your favor as a DUI defendant. Remember, your freedom is at risk. Do not rely on an over-worked public defender when you can hire an attorney who focuses his or her law practice on defending individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs in California.