Did you know that at least 25.1% of all Americans aged 18 and over have had at least one heavy drinking spree in the last year?
A recent study further suggests that 1 in every eight Americans now meets the diagnostic criteria for alcohol disorder. If these statistics are anything to go by, then Americans are drinking alcohol today more than any other time in history.
The law is clear on what you can or cannot do when intoxicated. As such, driving under the influence is illegal in the United States. Have you been wondering what a DUI lawyer does?
A DUI defense lawyer can offer unmatched legal support if you end up in trouble for drunk driving. Are you looking for more information about DUI attorneys? Read on to learn more about DUI lawyers.
What Is DUI Law?
The federal and state DUI and DWI laws in the United States categorize drunk driving as a crime. The DUI law criminalizes any motorist’s attempt to operate a vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or other drugs. The term used for this crime may vary from DUI to DWI, depending on the specific state.
The law enforcement teams use Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC) tests to determine the level of impairment. When your BAC test results reach 0.08% and over, the law considers you legally drunk. Even if charged with driving under the influence, a good DUI lawyer can seek to have the case dismissed or push for reduced charges.
Who Is a DUI Lawyer?
Most people wonder if every lawyer can represent them when facing a DUI charge. The fact is that you have plenty of options to consider. However, the positive outcomes depend more on hiring a seasoned DUI defense lawyer.
The DUI conviction rates for motorists who don’t hire a DUI lawyer are high. Most of these cases end up with no contest or guilty pleas. Further, very few unrepresented DUI cases proceed to trial. This means that without a DUI attorney, the possibility of a conviction or a hefty charge is high.
A DUI lawyer represents you during a DUI related case and offers all the necessary legal support. Such lawyers push for case dismissal or a reduced charge on your behalf. Further, the DUI attorneys follow up your case in an appeal if they dispute the interim ruling.
Public Defenders Versus Private DUI Lawyers
Most motorists grapple this question when they are in trouble with DUI laws. The fundamental difference between a public defender and a private lawyer is the funding. Public defenders are either under the government’s payroll or funded by NGOs.
On the other hand, a private DUI lawyer enters into a binding contract with the individual seeking representation. Most people who cannot afford a lawyer consider public defenders as a worthwhile option. When dealing with a DUI charge, it’s important to hire a private DUI lawyer instead of a public defender.
Today one public defender deals with close to 194 felony cases. Such a heavy workload affects your possibility of getting a favorable outcome in a DUI case. It’s better to consider a private DUI lawyer who can dedicate their time to handling your case.
When Don’t You Need a DUI Lawyer?
There’re instances where hiring a DUI attorney may not be necessary. For instance, if it’s your first time facing a DUI offense, you might not need a DUI attorney.
This is because most first time DUI offenders only end up on probation. However, the case may be different if your impairment led to an accident or injuries to others.
Sometimes motorists take chances and opt to represent themselves in a DUI case. Most first time offenders get criminal sentences that revolve around community service, fines, or probation. Even so, you might need to prepare yourself for the eventuality of other charges such as jail terms of hefty fines.
You also might not need a lawyer if your BAC reads 0.08% and below. Most times, the law enforcers will not arrest you if the BAC levels fall below the legal threshold. Such run-ins with the police only attract a warning.
Probable Outcomes of a DUI Case
When facing a DUI case, the ruling might go either way. You could receive a rather favorable sentence or faces some of the worst sanctions. If your BAC reads anything above 0.08%, the following outcomes are likely.
Loss of License
When you are in trouble for drunk driving, there’s no way to avoid license suspension. However, you’ll likely face either of these two types of license suspension. You could either get a license suspension based on the actual criminal conviction or something known as administrative DMV suspension.
The second category of license suspension occurs where the motorist refuses to take a BAC test. The other likely instance is when the driver fails a chemical test. You could one of the two, or in other cases, a driver may be liable to both suspensions for 30-60 days.
The other likely outcome in case of a DUI charge is the possibility of hefty fines. On average, a DUI charge in most states attracts between $500 and $2000 in fines. However, this is often for first-time offenders or where minimal damages/injuries occurred.
You may have to part with thousands of dollars in case of repeat offending. If your DUI charge involves aggravating factors, then you could be up for hefty charges.
Higher Insurance Premiums
When charged with a DUI offense, the cost of insurance shoots upwards. In most states, the average premium may increase by up to 371%. This represents a dollar increase of close to $1,163.
A DUI case has significant altering effects on your insurance premium. In most cases, motorists who have a DUI case end up paying close to $3069 in additional premium costs. This mindboggling increase is a form of deterrence from future indulgence in drunk driving.
Close to 4 million Americans confess to driving under the influence at least once every year. While not every drunk driving case leads to convictions, some unlucky cases attract jail terms that exceed six months. A repeat offender may get a slap in the wrist of up to 6 months in jail.
Most jail terms don’t exceed one year. Nonetheless, you may get more than one year of jail term if you are a repeat offender. In all these situations, a DUI lawyer can help you push for leniency.
Advantages of Getting a DUI Attorney
Now that you understand the dynamics around DUI, is it worth it to hire a DUI lawyer? The answer is an empathic yes. Compared to contacting a public defender or pushing for unrepresented proceedings, it’s better to hire a private DUI lawyer.
Here’re some benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer.
A seasoned DUI lawyer has a wealth of experience handling DUI cases. Such legal minds understand the important legal rules and standards when approaching a DUI case. Lawyers who specialize in DUI law also understand any shifts in the legal context, given their current ability.
The rates of court dismissal or fine reduction for public defenders is dismal. Part of the reason for this problem is the fact that most public defenders have huge backlogs of work. A major advantage when dealing with DUI lawyers is their commitment to represent you.
A good DUI lawyer is keen to push your case to the appeal stage if the initial court outcomes aren’t favorable. Compared to self-representation or public defenders, a DUI lawyer does a better job at representation. These legal minds know what defenses carry more weight in the course of representation.
Chance of Relaxed Convictions
Whether you are dealing with license suspension, hefty fines, or a possible jail term, a DUI lawyer can help you deal with the situation. Compared to public defense attorneys, private DUIs have a chance of getting relaxed court outcomes. Even when the BAC results are more than the legal limit, you still stand the chance of getting a favorable outcome.
A DUI lawyer can help you achieve a bargain down when dealing with a DUI charge. Lawyers understand the dynamics around guilty pleas and pre-bargain processes, making it possible to negotiate for lower sentencing.
Get in Touch With a DUI Lawyer Today
If you’re a motorist and you enjoy a few instances of drunken stupors, then you often stand the risk of facing a DUI charge. Whenever the BAC results indicate anything above 0.08%, the law categorizes this as being in a legal drunken state. When faced with a DUI related offence, it’s important to consider reliable legal counsel.
A DUI lawyer plays an important role in representation during DUI related proceedings. These lawyers can help you make an appeal on a DUI case and ensure relaxed sentencing for you. Get in touch with a DUI lawyer today if you’re in trouble.
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