A DUI arrest can have very serious consequences, even on a first offense. Competent legal representation is important to protect your rights, keep your driver's license, and possibly poke holes in the evidence against you. Subsequent charges can result in a felony charge which will carry with it harsh jail time, penalties and a felony charge on your criminal record which will stay with you for many years and may affect your chances of getting a job, a house, or any kind of loan.
DUI laws vary from state to state and can be very complicated. The defenses used in DUI cases are also complicated and an experience attorney will be more familiar with equipment failures or weaknesses in the evidence gathered. A DUI attorney should know the latest news on chemical tests and should be familiar with the prosecutors in the city where you face charges. Having someone on your side who knows the law, knows the weaknesses of arrest process, and who knows the people and process involved is critical for getting your best chance of a strong defense.
An attorney can fight to protect your future by:
Many DUI attorneys provide a free consultation to discuss your case and your options and you should absolutely take advantage of a free consultation before deciding whether you need legal representation. Some DUI attorneys will bill for this initial consultation, so be sure to ask when you make an appointment. DUI attorneys may charge a flat fee or an hourly fee. If you are facing your first DUI offense, the process should not take much time from an attorney. If you have a criminal record, or if you face multiple charges, your defense will take more time and cost more money. An attorney should be able to give you an estimate of time at the initial consultation, although no attorney will be able to guarantee how much time he will spend on your case. There may be additional costs if you need expert witnesses to challenge evidence or chemical test results.
When you contact an attorney, you should know the exact charges brought against you and your court dates. You can find a DUI attorney by asking people you know for referrals or by contacting your local state bar association. An attorney should give you a detailed written fee agreement which you should read carefully and understand completely before you sign it.