Avoiding Legal Trouble

What To Expect From Your DUI Attorney

States mandate strict driving under the influence laws. If drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you're committing a traffic violation. This violation can lead to other criminal charges. If you're facing a DUI charge, you'll need an attorney experienced with DUI and other traffic citations.

Initial Meeting With Your Lawyer

Prepare for your consultation with your attorney by gathering documentation related to your case. This includes police reports, the results of tests you took and witness statements. You'll save your lawyer from research efforts that might cost you time and money. 

  • Get a thorough understanding of your charges and the repercussions

Also, attend the consultation prepared to ask questions that will help you understand your case and the legal process that follows. This thorough exchange of information will give you clarity and help your lawyer give you the best legal advice.

The Retainer Agreement

Signing a retainer agreement is one of the first things you'll do when you select a lawyer.  This agreement outlines the work the lawyer will do for you and the fees associated with that work.  The retainer will state exactly what the fees cover.

  • Know what you're paying for

The retainer agreement also explains the associated fees if there are changes to your case. For example, if your case is closed as a misdemeanor and refilled as a felony, you might need to pay additional fees. 

  • Understand how to contest retainer agreement

Be sure to read the section that discusses disagreements between you and your attorney. This section details how you'll resolve disagreements that might arise.

Representation Strategy

DUI charges come in many degrees. For example, you might receive one or several of the following charges:

  • Misdemeanor DUI
  • Felony DUI
  • Aggravated DUI

Your defense will depend on all circumstances of your case including your specific charges, and these charges, of course, come with varying degrees of repercussions. So, you might receive a misdemeanor charge along with several other charges.

  • Plea agreements are normal

Don't be surprised if your attorney presents you with a plea agreement.  According to the American Bar Association, most criminal cases are resolved through plea agreements. Misdemeanor DUI offenses are often predicate offenses, which means that your initial charge is a misdemeanor, but the subsequent charges are felonies. Your attorney is likely to explore a lessor charge to help you avoid a felony charge.

  • Past driving records might hurt your case

Your lawyer will likely conduct a thorough review of your driving history before discussing a plea with the prosecuting attorney.  This is because your previous record often impacts the outcome of your case and your future driving privileges.  For example, in many states, a previous DUI might result in a mandatory jail sentence. Also, you may already have points on your record, and point accumulation might result in license suspension and insurance premium hikes.

  • Your lawyer represents you

If your case is headed for trial, your lawyer will attempt to get rid of damaging evidence against you -- legally.  For example, your attorney might give reasons why the court should exclude certain evidence, such as alcohol bottles removed from your car. Also, if you had a drug test, your attorney might challenge that test. And, if you made incriminating statements during your arrest, your attorney will work to prevent the jury from hearing these statements. At the trial, your attorney will present opening arguments to defend you and will rebut the prosecuting attorney's assertions.  

Wrapping Up Your Case

Regardless of whether you win your case or are convicted, work with your attorney is not done just because the trial is over.  Your attorney will make sure you understand the outcome of your case and go over your next steps. For example, if the courts require that you get treatment for drug or alcohol use, your lawyer might suggest reputable facilities that can help you.

Facing a DUI is a scary feat. But, an experienced attorney can help you get through the process.  If you have a DUI charge, don't despair. Instead, call a reputable DUI attorney today.