There is little doubt that most of us know someone who has been arrested for a DUI. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one of the more common misdemeanor cases that appear in criminal court. While great strides have been made to reduce the number of alcohol related arrests, there seems to be an increase in the number of drug related DUIs. That being said, do individuals who get arrested for alcohol and drug related DUIs need an attorney?
While it my not be a popular answer to our peers, the best and most honest answer is no. Driving Under the Influence is statutorily driven, meaning the punishment is usually the same for everybody. For first time offenders, unless there are extenuating circumstances, (lack of probable cause for the stop, an accident, high BAC level, or lack of cooperation with law enforcement) there is typically no jail time. In addition there are standard fines and fees for conviction, informal probation, DUI classes on sometimes a MADD class participation. So, if you want to save yourself thousands of dollars on an attorney, you can appear in court and ask the judge for an offer. If you agree to the judges offer, you can accept it on the spot and take a plea. If, you dont like the offer made by the judge, you can always ask the judge for a continuance and seek the advice of an attorney.
Now, when is it a smart idea to hire a criminal defense attorney for a DUI case? If you are charged as a multiple offender, if you are involved in an accident which causes great bodily injury or death to another person or if you are found to be in possession or under the influence of a controlled substance, an attorney will provide immense guidance. In these types of situations, prosecutors routinely seek 30 to 180 days in custody. With the assistance of an attorney, you can challenge the probable cause for the stop, challenge the scientific evidence, provide mitigation material and negotiate with DAs and judges to get you a fair offer. Attorneys can steer you in to rehabilitative services where successful completion may serve as actual jail time.
If you are at risk of losing you job because you got arrested for a DUI or if you are a licensed professional (doctor, nurse, attorney etc.) then hiring an attorney will help ensure you are taking all the necessary steps to protect your career. Oftentimes, California licensing agencies will take action on a professional license if a person is arrested and convicted of driving under the influence.
The law firm of Pilchman & Kay, PLC handles all DUI related cases. If you want a fair and unbiased analysis of your case to see if hiring an attorney will benefit you, call our office today for a free consultation.