Did you know that driving under the influence accounts for 10% of all criminal arrests in the United States, more than all violent crimes combined? If you’ve recently been pulled over and arrested for your first DUI, you may be feeling embarrassed, scared, and unsure of what to expect.
Being convicted of a DUI can affect nearly every aspect of your life, including your job, housing, and social relationships. You may be wondering if you even need an attorney to represent you. Actually, it’s in your best interest to seek legal counsel to deal with the consequences of a DUI arrest.
Overview of a DUI Charge
To be convicted of DUI, the prosecution must prove that you were driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. This can be done in two ways. First, the prosecution can show that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the legal limit.
The second way to be convicted of DUI is if the prosecution can show that your ability to drive was impaired, even if your BAC was below the legal limit. Factors that can contribute to this include swerving, speeding, and failing to obey traffic laws.
Here are ten reasons why having an attorney by your side is essential if you’ve been arrested for your first DUI offense:
1. Avoid Jail Time
Florida law states that for a first time DUI offense, the offender will receive jail time of up to 6 months. However, a first-time DUI offender in most states may not be sentenced to jail time if they have an attorney. This is because an attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for a lighter sentence, such as probation or community service. It means that you might not have to spend any time in jail and you will only have to pay a fine. In this situation, it is worthwhile to hire an attorney.
2. Protect Your Record
If you are convicted of DUI, you will have a criminal record that can impact your life in many ways. A DUI conviction can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or obtain a professional license. An attorney may be able to help you get the charges reduced or dismissed so that they do not go on your record.
3. Keep Your Driver’s License
When you are facing a DUI charge, you may be worried about whether or not you will lose your driver’s license. This can be a major inconvenience, as losing your license can make it difficult to get to work or school, run errands, and take care of your family. An attorney can help you keep your license by challenging the evidence against you and fighting for a lesser charge.
4. Save Money
You may be thinking that you cannot afford to hire an attorney. However, the cost of a DUI conviction is much higher than the cost of hiring an attorney. Being a first-time offender, you will likely be charged a fine of $500 to $1,000. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
5. Get Expert Advice
DUI laws are complex and ever-changing. An experienced DUI attorney will be up-to-date on the latest changes in the law and know how to use them to your advantage. They will also be familiar with the prosecution’s tactics and how to counter them. You should not try to navigate the legal system alone, especially when so much is at stake.
6. Avoid Insurance Rate Increases
Your insurance rates will go up if you are convicted of DUI. The average national rate increase in auto insurance for drivers with a DUI is 74%. This shows that even first-time offenders will have their rates increased. You need an attorney to keep this from happening.
7. Understand Your Options
When you are facing a DUI charge, you may feel like you have no options and that you are automatically going to be convicted. This is not the case. An attorney can explain all of the options available to you and help you choose the best course of action for your particular situation.
8. Protect Your Rights
You have constitutional rights that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a trial by jury. An experienced DUI attorney will know how to protect your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly by the legal system. They will also know when your rights have been violated and how to file a complaint.
9. Assist in Getting into a Diversion Program
If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a diversion program. This is a program that allows you to avoid a DUI conviction if you complete certain requirements, such as attending alcohol education classes. An attorney can help you get into a diversion program and ensure that you meet the requirements. This is a much better outcome than a DUI conviction.
10. Get the Best Possible Outcome
The goal of hiring an attorney is to get the best possible outcome in your case. An attorney will fight for a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. They will also know what evidence to look for and how to use it to your advantage. With an attorney on your side, you have a much better chance of getting the outcome you want.
What To Do If You Have Been Charged With DUI
A DUI charge is a serious offense that can have long-lasting repercussions. Therefore, it is important to seek professional legal help as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney can help you understand the charges against you and build a strong defense. With the right help, you may be able to avoid a conviction and protect your future.
Do you have any additional questions? Don’t hesitate to contact Hanlon Law to schedule a consultation. We can review the facts of your case and help you decide what to do next.
Call us today for a free consultation if you are convicted of your first DUI charge.
210 N Pierce St
Tampa, FL 33602