If someone has been drinking alcohol or using drugs, and chooses to drive a car, she runs the risk of being pulled over by a police officer. If she cannot pass a set of tests, called sobriety tests, or if she does not pass a breathalyzer test to determine the amount of alcohol that is her bloodstream, she may be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). In that situation, she will need to hire a DUI lawyer to handle her case.
This type of lawyer represents a person who has been charged with using drugs or drinking alcohol in excess of the amounts set by the laws of the state while driving a motor vehicle. As the attorney of the person charged with the crime, the lawyer can handle all aspects of the case from start to finish.
A good DUI lawyer will consult with his client and explain the possible scenarios if she is convicted: a suspended or revoked driving license, fees, fines, and/or jail-time. Typically, an experienced DUI lawyer will challenge the arrest, try to convince the Court to lower the charges, or attempt to reduce the sentence against the defendant. Oftentimes the lawyer will dispute whether the police officer was within his constitutional rights to stop the car and he may question, in court, whether the testing was accurate.
A DUI lawyer will clarify legal issues and make sure his client understands what is happening and what will happen in the months to come. For example, he can give details on what sentence can be expected for a first time conviction versus a person who has been previously convicted. There are usually several hearings, starting with a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and ending with the County or State Court. DUI attorneys will attend and advocate for the defendant at each hearing.
Choosing a good DUI lawyer can be an overwhelming task. In most cities, the phone book is overrun with lawyers who specialize in driving under the influence cases. Word of mouth is often a great way to find a reputable attorney.
Research your choices and see who can best work your case. Consider his fees and experience. Some DUI lawyers charge a flat fee for handling a defendant’s case. Others charge by the hour, charging for each minute spent working on the case and for any office supplies used to prepare for a hearing.