It is important to decide whether you should retain the services of a professional DUI lawyer to represent yourself in court. In case of a first offence DUI charge, you might be able to consider self-representation. Even so, you have to be prepared to handle the court system, steer through various administration procedures regarding your case, and identify plea bargain opportunities within your case. It is much safer to hire a professional criminal defense lawyer to help defend a DUI charge. This is especially important if it is a repeat offense case, or there were additional charges of aggravating circumstances such as recklessness while driving, the presence of a minor with the DUI offender in the same vehicle or an extremely high BAC (blood alcohol content). Here are a few reasons why you need the support of a criminal defense lawyer to defend a complicated DUI charge in court.
To decide whether to plead guilty
For a first time DUI charge, pleading guilty might be prudent, especially if there is a more than average certainty of conviction in the case. Such as, the BAC was registered at a much higher count than .12 and the arresting officer is able to testify with regards to reckless driving in addition to the DUI. Your attorney can advise you on proper decisions to help reduce the harshness of the final sentence.
To appeal for a better plea bargain
Under some circumstances, your criminal defense attorney can help you get a better plea bargain. For instance, if your blood alcohol content was registered between 0.08 to 0.12 and there was any confusion regarding the accuracy of the reading, your attorney can plea for reduced sentencing during conviction. In case yours is a first offense with non-injury and no testimony of reckless driving, a judge will most likely hand out a routine sentence, which is quite similar to every other case of the same type. Your attorney might plead for a similarly mild sentence.
To appeal for a reduced sentence in more severe cases
Often a criminal defense attorney might decide to plea bargain to change conviction of the case under a reduced charge. For instance, in a case with first offense DUI and reckless driving the attorney might appeal for their defendant to be charged only under the reckless driving charge in lieu of pleading guilty. However, in some cases pleading guilty might lead to severe incarceration periods, you need a professional counselor to understand the ramifications of pleading guilty in complicated cases. For instance in a case where an injury or loss of life is recorded with the DUI and reckless driving charge, your attorney might advise against pleading guilty until you know what sentence you are most likely to get if you do.
In general, second or repeat offenders under the DUI/DWI charge should definitely seek professional counsel for their cases. First offenders with complications such as reckless driving or injury during the DUI should also have a professional representation.