Criminal Defense Attorney
When faced with a driving under the influence charge, it can be tempting to go it alone and represent yourself. And it’s not a secret that experienced, private defense lawyers are expensive. However, a DUI charge is not something you should take lightly. In this article, we’ll walk through when you could represent yourself and when it’s best to have a defense lawyer.
Type of charge
This is the big variable when determining if you should represent yourself. What type of DUI charge are you facing? Was someone hurt as a result of the accident? Is this your first offense? How high was your blood alcohol content when arrested? These are all factors to consider when deciding if you need an attorney.
When to consider representing yourself
If this is your first offense, you have no prior record, and your blood alcohol content was slightly above the legal limit, you could consider representing yourself. For these types of charges, prosecutors generally have a set penalty or minimum they are willing to go to and as long as this is your first offense, will most likely present that option to you. Because this can potentially be very straight forward it may not make financial sense to pay for an attorney. However, if at any time you feel like the plea bargain offered is unfair or if you experience any other complications, it may be worth it to reach out for legal counsel.
When to consider hiring legal representation
A good rule of thumb for whether or not to hire legal representation is whether your case is going to trial or not. If you have to go to trial, you should consider having legal representation. Now, everyone is entitled to representation through the Fifth Amendment. This means you do not have to hire a private defense lawyer to take on your case. Having a public defender has its pros and cons. Pro: These public defenders take on DUI cases all the time. They know the system as well as the prosecutors. Con: They have a very high caseload and may not be able to give you the one on one attention you would like. If your case is pretty standard, then a public defender may be right for you.
If your case is more complicated, a private defense lawyer is your best bet. This is especially true if you have any aggravating circumstances relating to your case including someone being injured or killed, excessive recklessness, or a having high blood alcohol content. With these types of cases, you could be facing extremely high fines and potentially spending years in prison. You want an expert on your team to help get you the best outcome possible. In these situations, your freedom outweighs the higher cost of a private defense lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on a DUI charge and you are looking for legal representation, reach out to a criminal defense attorney San Francisco, CA relies on today. They will work with you to help create the best defense possible for your case.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Morales Law Firm for their insight into DUI legal services and the benefits of hiring an experienced attorney.