No one intends to get a DUI. But it happened to you. You thought you were okay to drive after a couple of drinks – maybe you were just heading home from a girl’s night out or a happy hour after work, whatever the case, those blue lights shone behind you and now your life could take a drastic turn. One thing that can help you through this is finding a good DUI lawyer to defend you.
How to find a good lawyer
You could always choose the court appointed lawyer, but if you can afford another one, that may be your best bet. It’s beneficial to have a lawyer experienced in DUI cases. He or she will know what to ask, what to look for and how to fight for you. To begin your search, you’ll want to find a local experienced lawyer. Use a search engine to search things like San Mateo DUI attorneys or what your specific town or city is.
You could ask friends if they know of someone. Maybe they’ve had this same, unfortunate experience and were pleased with their lawyer. Or maybe your neighbor’s sister is a DUI attorney. Make sure you look into their background to make sure the credentials and degrees are legitimate. You may want to ask how many cases they’ve tried and what have been the outcomes. Remember, with a DUI you could have everything from your job, your home, your license, even prison at risk.
Will you be able to drive?
You are probably worrying about your driver’s license and if it will be revoked. Many states have mandatory penalties, and this could be one of them. However, there is some way to get your driver’s license back. You may not get your full privileges back, but some states allow for other licenses, such as provisional, conditional, hardship or temporary. You usually would have to attend an education program and prove why you need your license, like family hardship. Some states will impose an ignition interlock device on your vehicle to make sure you haven’t been drinking before you drive. If this is even your first defense, you will have your license suspended.
What else will happen to me?
Besides having your license suspended, other punishments may occur. The judge or jury will decide, and some of these could be:
- You will probably have to attend a DUI school or alcohol treatment program. A counselor will help decide on this.
- Jail time. Depending on how many convictions you have, your jail time could be a few days or weeks, even more.
- Loss of civil rights. You could lose things like your right to vote or your right to carry a weapon.
- Job loss. Though this probably won’t be court mandated, it’s quite possible that your employer will not want you working there anymore. This could simply be due to the fact that you can no longer get to work because of no license.
- Fines and community service. You may have specified fines or need to complete community service. Some courts mandate that you meet with victims of drunk driving, some who have been hurt or lost loved ones.
What a Lawyer Can Do
A lawyer who specializes in DUI will know what to do in this instance to help your sentence be fair and fitting. And, yes, sometimes they can look at things that can have an effect on your arrest and have the whole case dismissed. Some of these things could be:
- Contributing factors to a compromised breath test, like dental work or acid reflux.
- A distracted or poorly trained officer who didn’t follow protocol.
- Improperly calibrated breathalyzers or other equipment that may have shown false results.
- Not enough evidence for showing why the officer pulled you over in the first place.
It’s important that you be open and honest with your lawyer when talking with him. You’ve hired him to defend you; he’s there to help and you’ll have to work with him. DUI is a serious offense with serious penalties, and you want a good outcome – a lawyer can help. Look for a good, experienced, specialized attorney to help you out if this has happened to you.
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