In 2014, 111 million Americans admitted to recently driving when they may have had too much to drink.
Regardless of the circumstances that led to getting behind the wheel, when you’re facing a DUI, it’s important to know what to do.
One of the biggest questions you must ask is if you need a DUI attorney.
While attorneys are helpful in any legal circumstance, there are clear times when they are advisable in DUI cases. Other times, you might want to save your money.
Read our article to find which is the best avenue for your situation.
When You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Understanding when you don’t need a DUI attorney is straightforward.
If the following apply, it’s best to avoid spending your money:
- You agree you were intoxicated
- You tested over the legal limit
- No one was hurt or injured
As you’ve probably guessed, most DUIs don’t require an attorney because most are clear-cut cases. Instead, individuals should focus their efforts and money on preventing future alcohol use.
However, always keep in mind that attorneys provide knowledge and support. If you have the extra money, they are helpful even in cases like these.
Why Shouldn’t You Bother in “Open and Shut” Cases?
The reason you might want to save your money is because of recent laws passed within states. Almost all states follow the per se laws.
Even if you showed no signs of being drunk, the per se laws categorize you as intoxicated if you tested over the blood alcohol limit. Because the state categorizes you as intoxicated, you immediately face repercussions of driving while under the influence.
Some consequences include:
- License suspension
- Jail time
- Alcohol awareness classes
Prior to the per se laws, lawyers had a chance of reducing punishments. Now, the state needs no other evidence to prove intoxication.
Even with a lawyer, these punishments are almost definite.
When You Need a DUI Attorney
However, there are instances when an attorney is a huge asset. We’ll discuss the most common here.
False Breathalyzer Readings
Breathalyzers aren’t perfect. Sometimes, they provide false positives. If you believe you weren’t drunk, it’s advisable you get an attorney.
Although there are a number of ways false readings occur, several are common:
- The breathalyzer wasn’t calibrated correctly.
- Sanitation supplies created a false reading.
- The tested individual takes medicines or has a condition that creates inaccurate results. Examples include acid reflux and gastrointestinal reflux disease.
The time frame in which the officer took the sample also matters. If your test occurred fewer than 15 minutes from the time the officer pulled you over, it is invalid.
Likewise, being tested between one and three hours after alcohol consumption might create false readings because the alcohol isn’t completely absorbed.
If your BAC was close to the legal limit, consider getting a lawyer.
There are many factors to consider that might affect the breathalyzer’s reading, and it’s common for individuals who are tested twice to give very different readings.
Even using too much hand sanitizer over several days affects readings, so it’s advisable to discuss options with an attorney.
Have you gotten a DUI before? If so, it’s best to seek the help of an attorney.
Individuals facing DUIs beyond the first face strict and expensive repercussions. Jail time is mandatory and individuals lose their license for anywhere from three months to three years.
An attorney knows the ins and outs of DUI charges. He or she might find ways to reduce your punishments. For example, jail time could be converted to house arrest.
Often, the prosecution reduces sentences in exchange for a guilty plea. A lawyer helps with this process.
The Accident Involved Other Drugs
Illegal and legal drugs account for 16% of automobile crashes. Sometimes, drugs and alcohol are involved in DUI cases.
New legislation applying per se laws and other regulations make such cases complex, and the penalties are stiff. You can read more about the potential consequences at this article.
Attorneys are helpful because they may reduce sentences involving the use of other drugs.
There Were Injuries or Fatalities
Excessive alcohol use impacts our mental health. Even recreational use acts as a depressant, slowing reaction times and focus.
As a result, crashes involving DUIs may come with tragic results. Individuals are hurt or even killed.
In such scenarios, it’s important to hire an attorney. Defendants are faced with much more serious grievances, including manslaughter in cases involving fatalities.
In most of these situations, negligence is a prime factor in deciding the individual’s fate. DUI attorneys work to disprove negligence and reduce sentences.
The Driver Is a Commercial Driver
Irresponsible decisions might impact our careers. If you are a commercial driver or you require a license for work, it’s best to hire an attorney.
Consequences for commercial drivers are far-reaching. In fact, these drivers are subject to rules set forth by the federal government. Therefore, they face federal prosecution.
Consequences of obtaining a DUI when you also have a CDL may cost you your job and CDL license. Because of the situation’s gravity and impact on your future, an attorney helps.
The Driver Is Underage
Underage drinking and driving is a serious offense. Even if an underage driver is below the blood alcohol limit, he or she faces severe punishments:
- License suspension
- Mandatory alcohol classes
- Vehicle impoundment
- Jail time
- Community service
Perhaps even more devastating are the after-effects of such a charge, which follow youth into their adulthood. This is why it’s important to seek the counsel of a DUI attorney if the accused is underage.
If other charges accompany the DUI, such as child endangerment or property damages, hire an attorney.
Coupled with a DUI, extra charges may lead to an enhanced sentence. Enhanced sentences increase the penalties of the DUI even more.
With their knowledge and experience, attorneys work to lessen these charges.
Change the Game
The simple truth is that driving under the influence puts you and others in danger. Regardless of the case, a DUI attorney always helps by lessening stress and supplying expertise.
DUI cases are stress-filled. Take a breather with these eight tips for relaxation, and then forge forward.
Learn from past mistakes and create a healthier, safer tomorrow. Help change the game.