Other than the standard allegations of the defendant having “bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and unsteady balance,” the facts of every DUI case are different. Whether you can get out of a DUI turns on many other factors. In just about all cases, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to beat a DUI without an experienced and effective DUI lawyer representing you.
I Don’t Have a Defense and It’s My First DUI
There are plenty of websites on the internet that will tell you that you don’t need an attorney for a DUI. Don’t believe a word of that. You’re going to need a quality DUI lawyer. Here’s an example of why. A DUI defendant approaches the prosecutor during a break in court and tells the prosecutor that he doesn’t want to spend money on an attorney and would like to plead guilty. The prosecutor makes the man a plea offer that he accepts. He doesn’t know that in the long run, what he’s getting into is going to cost him thousands of dollars more in fines, ignition interlock fees and exponentially increased insurance premiums. Then, he inquires about his ability to drive. The prosecutor responds that his office doesn’t get involved with that. It’s highly likely that an effective attorney would have been involved with the licensing issue long before the court date. It’s also highly likely that the increased fines and costs involved in the plea agreement would have been significantly less than an attorney would have charged. The man took the plea and stung himself in the end.
Pleading to a Lesser Offense or a Dismissal
If you believe that you might be able to arrange for a plea negotiation to a lesser offense like a “wet reckless” or a dismissal based on insufficient or inadmissible evidence, that might be possible with an attorney on your behalf, but it’s not going to be done if you’re representing yourself. Lawyers are highly trained in the rules of evidence and procedure. They follow new cases, statutes and regulations, and they know what weaknesses in a case to negotiate and when to negotiate them. A person without the appropriate training and experience simply isn’t qualified to effectively argue the complexities of DUI law. It’s necessary that they retain the services of a respected DUI lawyer for those purposes.
What the Prosecutor Won’t Tell You
If you weren’t technically or statutorily drunk or high, it’s not incumbent for a prosecutor to tell you that. The state will still want to pursue a conviction. An experienced DUI lawyer is going to insist on obtaining a copy of every piece of paper that the police have in connection with your case and scrutinize them, looking for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. There is a multitude of defenses that an effective DUI lawyer looks for that a DUI defendant won’t even know about. Those might involve the validity of the traffic stop, results of field sobriety tests, body cam or dash cam evidence, breathalyzer evidence or even the procedures involved in a blood draw and preservation of that evidence. One or two significant weaknesses in a case can result in an amended charge of “wet reckless” or even a dismissal of the DUI charge. Unrepresented defendants don’t know what to look for or how to lean on the prosecution with weaknesses that a good lawyer picks up on in a DUI case. He or she will know the personality of the presiding judge, and that lawyer will have a good sense of how that judge will respond to arguments in connection with those weaknesses.
Carefully balance the cost of hiring an effective and experienced DUI lawyer against the substantial risks that you take in representing yourself. You’re far more likely to obtain a satisfactory or even optimal result with a knowledgeable and effective DUI lawyer.