Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is considered a crime in every state, and therefore criminal courts are generally responsible for handling such cases. However, a first-offence DUI case is viewed as a non-indictable or minor offence, for which many courts hand down a standard sentence.
So, if you were driving while intoxicated, and there is strong evidence suggesting that, such as having a high blood alcohol content, witnesses stating that you were driving carelessly, or failing to pass the field sobriety tests, then there is probably nothing your lawyer can do. Therefore, in this case, you wouldn’t need to hire a lawyer. Instead, you’ll have to plead guilty and complete your sentence.
When Should You Hire A DUI Lawyer?
You should hire a DUI lawyer right away if evidence of your innocence exists or there are any facts about your case that may increase or decrease your sentence.
Factors that can increase your penalty are; having an extremely high blood alcohol content, an accident, refusing to blow into a blood alcohol testing device, and more.
Factors that may help reduce your penalty are procedural issues during your arrest, lack of probable cause for stopping your vehicle, mishandling of evidence and more.
If you’re not sure whether these factors exist, then hiring a criminal defence lawyer will be a wise thing to do. A DUI lawyer can help you recognize these facts and help you develop a plan of action and a defence strategy, including representing you at trial if necessary.
Here are some other reasons why you should hire a lawyer for your DUI charge.
Experience And Training
Someone with no legal training and experience can never assess the strengths and weaknesses of your DUI case. DUI laws are extremely strict and complicated in Canada, and the fact that every DUI case is different makes it necessary for you to get an experienced lawyer’s opinion about your particular case.
Most DUI lawyers give free consultation to their clients. But even if you have to pay a small fee to get an experienced lawyer’s opinion about your case, it will be money well spent. To make the best use of your paid session with your lawyer, make sure you bring your police report and other documents. It will also be helpful to prepare a list of questions you want to ask your lawyer beforehand.
Whether or not a first-time DUI offender will go to jail or not depends mainly on the judge handing down the sentence. However, a good lawyer can plead with the judge to spare the offender from possible jail time and instead head down an alternative sentence.
Moreover, attorneys who specialize in DUI cases have defences that other general lawyers can’t provide. And like we mentioned above, they have in-depth knowledge and understanding of DUI law and their expertise can lead to more satisfactory results. Expert lawyers can propose better plea bargains and may even cause the case to be dismissed altogether.
Alternative sentences for a DUI include:
Going To Trial
Representing yourself in court for a DUI offence is possible, but it isn’t always the best idea. You can represent yourself in plea bargains, but if your case is going to a trial in front of a judge, it is best to consider hiring an expert attorney. This is because trial procedures are way more complex than bargaining procedures, and the judge won’t give you a break for not knowing the correct way. Moreover, a lack of legal knowledge and skills can do you more harm than good.