Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense for operating a vehicle after taking drugs, alcohol, or any other substance that can affect your ability to make rational decisions. Being arrested for DUI charges can be a confusing and scary experience because it may mean serving jail time or paying huge fines. Thus, the first thing to do when arrested is to call legal professionals — such as the Law Offices of Jonathan Steele — instead of saying or doing anything that might affect your case. Below are some reasons why it's necessary to have legal representation when facing DUI charges rather than acting alone.
Help prevent an extended jail time
Depending on the facts surrounding your case, a DUI charge can quickly escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony. Misdemeanors are minor offenses that attract less strict sanctions such as fines, community service, probation, or imprisonment for less than a year. On the other hand, felonies are offenses that the state considers more severe than misdemeanors and attract heavier punishment, such as a long-term jail sentence of more than a year. The prosecution can classify a DUI charge as a felony in an instance where your actions have caused a severe accident, injuries, or even deaths. An attorney's representation helps build a strong defense or mitigate your case before the court to avoid a felony charge. For example, if you're a first-time offender, they can help strike a plea deal that will only see you undergo a mandatory probation period instead of going to jail.
Ensure compliance with legal procedures
One of the problems of DUI arrest is that when presenting evidence in court, it's always about your word against the word of a law enforcement officer. The bad thing about that is that a law enforcement officer's statement has a higher likelihood of admissibility than a presumably drunk person. Calling an attorney immediately after arrest ensures that law enforcement officers follow the proper procedures and don't take advantage of your drunken state to file excessive or exaggerated charges. For example, they will oversee the tests taken to prove intoxication to ensure that the police don't frame you.
Save time and money
Most people avoid hiring because of the fear of the cost of legal fees. However, hiring an attorney for your DUI case ensures value for money in various ways. They help speed up your case as they know the procedural requirements for such offenses. That helps you save the time and money you would have spent in the back-and-forth rescheduling your hearing due to procedural technicalities. They also make compelling arguments, for example, explaining your disadvantaged financial situation to convince the court to set fines at a lower rate. An attorney may also help you get your license back quickly to avoid financial implications, especially if your work revolves around driving.
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