What is a DUI and DWI Lawyer?
Each state has its own laws regarding DUIs and DWIs, but they are criminal offenses in every state. Police can pull you over for suspicion of impaired driving, and if they believe you are impaired, they will arrest and charge you.
A DUI and DWI lawyer specializes in helping people arrested for and charged with DUI offenses. They advise and represent clients as early as the initial arrest and help with bail, arraignment, hearings, and plea bargains.
A person injured during an accident caused by a drunk driver may sue that driver for damages. A lawyer can also defend and represent their clients in these civil lawsuits. They may end in a settlement or go to court.
When Do I Need a DUI and DWI Lawyer?
The justice system does not require you to have legal representation when charged with a DUI or DWI. It’s almost always worth working with a lawyer, as these are serious charges that can result in major penalties, even jail time. You may not need a lawyer for a first-time offense with no accident, but consider hiring a DUI and DWI lawyer in most situations:
- It’s your second or subsequent offense related to drinking or using drugs while driving.
- You caused an accident while under the influence and caused property damage or hurt or killed someone.
- You’re facing stiff penalties, or worry you’ll lose your license or even go to jail.
- Your BAC reached the level that allows for extended penalties.
- You expect your case to go to court.
Why Do I Need a DUI and DWI Lawyer?
While you have a right to represent yourself in the court system, it’s better to have a lawyer representing you. This is especially true for criminal charges that come with significant penalties and jail time.
These are just some of the most important reasons you need a DUI and DWI lawyer if you’re facing these charges:
- DUI laws are complicated
Laws regarding DUIs vary by state and often change. Lawyers specializing in these cases know the laws in detail. They understand the complexities and how they apply to your case. They’ll explain your rights, the laws, and what to expect. Without legal experience, you’ll have a hard time making sense of it all.
- You’re facing serious penalties
The sentence you receive for a DUI may include jail time, fines, license suspension, or a combination of penalties. These will have a serious impact on your life and ability to work and function normally. A lawyer will have a better chance of getting your sentence reduced or getting an alternative sentence.
- You may have aggravating factors
The more aggravating factors involved in your case, the stiffer the penalties. These include a higher BAC, property damage, or repeat offenses. A lawyer may be able to mitigate some of these.
- You could be sued
The worst potential outcome of a DUI offense is causing an accident that injures someone. Not only do you face criminal charges, but the victim could sue you to recover damages. A DUI and DWI lawyer can represent you and try to reduce those damages to a reasonable amount.
- You may be innocent
DUI cases are not always clear cut. It’s possible you failed a field sobriety test but didn’t actually have an elevated blood alcohol concentration. If you are innocent of the charges, an attorney is your best option for proving it.
How to Find and Hire a DUI and DWI Lawyer
Start your search for the right lawyer with a list of possibilities. Talk to trusted friends and family for a recommendation. Many people have had these legal issues and can refer you to an attorney who helped them. If you know a lawyer with another area of specialty, they can also recommend a colleague specializing in DUIs.
Other sources for DUI and DWI lawyers include professional organizations, like your state bar association. Also, try the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Once you have a list assembled, request free initial interviews. Ask questions to help you choose the right lawyer to represent you:
- How long have you been helping clients with DUI charges?
- How much of your time do you spend on DUI cases?
- Can you give me references from past clients?
- What kinds of outcomes have you gotten for past clients?
- Who will be handling my case?
- Do you see any difficulties with my case?
- What kind of outcome do you think you can get, and what strategy will you use?
- What are your fees?
Select a lawyer you feel confident and comfortable with. They can answer all the questions right, but it’s not the right lawyer for you if something feels off. You should feel you can trust them and know that they will communicate with you and keep you up to date on your case.
Working with Your Lawyer
Talking about your mistakes can be embarrassing, but you must be completely upfront with your DUI and DWI lawyer. They need to know everything that happened and everything you said and did. This is how they help you. Without all the information, they are limited.
Bring your lawyer all the documents you have related to the incident, such as the police report. Ask what they need from you, so you are prepared and make the most of your time in the meeting. Take notes and find out what you need to do next. Be communicative and easy to contact. Ask questions and demand regular updates on your case.
Let a DUI and DWI lawyer help you with these serious charges. It’s not a good idea to go it alone, even if it seems like a simple case. Find the right lawyer and work with them for a better outcome.