If you're facing DUI charges, it's important that you have accurate information about the DUI laws in your state and the consequences you may be facing. You may have been led to believe that all DUI defendants are offered the same "deal", but it isn't necessarily true. A local DUI lawyer can help you understand your rights and options before you appear in court.
Different DUI Cases End Very Differently
There are many reasons that one DUI case might be treated differently from another. For instance:
- If you've been convicted of DUI in the past, the penalties may be harsher, and the judge may have less flexibility in sentencing;
- If your BAC was particularly high, you may be facing stiffer penalties or even more serious charges;
- There may be flaws in the handling of your case that will allow a DUI lawyer to negotiate a more favorable agreement for you, or even get your charges reduced or dismissed;
- There may be weaknesses in the evidence against you that give your DUI attorney leverage;
- You may face enhanced charges or penalties if there were minor children in the car at the time of your arrest, or if someone was injured.
These are just a few of the variations the might impact your DUI case. You can't be expected to understand all of the possible grounds you might have to fight a DUI charge, and you probably aren't familiar with all of the special circumstances that could lead to more severe penalties. A local DUI lawyer will be able to review your case for those flaws and offer advice about your next steps.
With so much at stake: jail time, probation, fines, costs, mandatory alcohol counseling, community service, driver's license suspension, the possibility of an ignition interlock device or other electronic monitoring system, and increased automobile insurance rates-you owe it to yourself to be fully informed before you make any decisions about your next steps.
Some DUI cases are treated more harshly than others. This may depend upon whether it was a first, second, third or later offense. It may also depend upon your blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of the arrest, upon whether or not anyone was injured, and upon whether or not there were passengers in your vehicle. Generally, prior offenses, very high BACs, and the presence of minor children are aggravating factors that trigger enhanced sentencing requirements or elevation to felony charges. A local DUI lawyer will be able to tell you which of these factors applies in your state and how the possible penalties are affected.
If you've been charged with a DUI, whether it's your first offense or you've had multiple convictions, talk to a DUI lawyer before you make any decisions. Find out whether there were problems with your initial stop, the field sobriety tests, the reliability of breathalyzer test results, or any other discrepancy in the evidence against you. But don't delay! The criminal court system moves swiftly, and if you don't take action now you could be barred from presenting certain defenses.
Schedule a free consultation with a DUI lawyer today and educate yourself about your rights and options before you move forward. And if you've already been convicted of a DUI, talk to an attorney about how you may be able to clear your record.