If you have been charged with a DUI offense, then you need to read this article before you go to court. If you are thinking of representing yourself, stop and think again. DUI defense is not a “do it yourself” project. Instead, you need to find a lawyer that specializes in DUI defense.
Sure, a DUI attorney costs more, but you are also getting more expertise and competence in this area; and, he will expect to be paid for his efforts. So, take some time and read this short guide to selecting a DUI attorney. You might just save yourself a lot of time and money.
DUI Is A Serious Criminal Offense
DWI is a serious offense even though it is a misdemeanor. Every time an innocent person is killed by a drunk driver the media sensationalizes the event. As a result, juries have become much less tolerant or drunk drivers and are more likely to give the offender a heavier sentence. I do not know whether or not you are guilty of the offense as charged.
Assuming you are, then we both know that you already made one serious mistake in judgment. Do not make another mistake by attempting to represent yourself. Going to court by yourself is a ridiculous move that will only cost you lots of time and money. Worse, it could cost you your job, freedom, family or loved ones. Under the best outcome, the fines, fees and costs assessed by the court can cripple you financially. Do not be the fool that represents himself. Get a DUI attorney you can trust.
DUI Attorneys Are Criminal Specialists
All DUI lawyers practice criminal law, but not all criminal attorneys can try a DUI case. DWI attorneys engage in a specialized practice. You are not in a position to trust your defense to just any criminal attorney. Instead, try to find an attorney that has a DUI specialization or certification, if your state bar has such as designation.
If not, try to determine if your prospective lawyer is familiar with those issues that are peculiar to DUI defense. Some of these issues include the use of an intoxilyzer, diabetes and hypoglycemia, horizontal gaze and nystagmus, and other such tests. You will pay more for a DUI attorney with this sort of specialized knowledge, but are you really in a position to mount a defense “on the cheap?”
Paying Your DUI Attorney
An attorney that specializes in DUI defense is going to charge a higher fee than a general practitioner or criminal attorney. They have specialized knowledge that you need and they know that their services command a higher rate of compensation. Do not hesitate to discuss the matter of attorney’s fees early in the conversation with your attorney. You will probably be quoted one of two types of fee arrangements. Either the attorney will agree to take the case for a flat fee or an hourly rate.
In either case, you will be required to post a retainer (or down payment) for your lawyer’s services. The balance of the fee is due before trial and you will owe it regardless of the outcome.
Drunk Drivers Have No Business Representing Themselves
DWI litigation is complex. You probably understand that when it comes to a DWI, your defense is not “do it yourself” project. Instead, you need to find a competent DUI attorney that is going to make the state prove their case. He will have the knowledge and expertise to challenge the evidence and raise all likely and legitimate defenses.
Yes, he will charge more. But, when you are charged with a serious criminal offense, you cannot afford to be cheap.
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