Do I Really Need a DUI Lawyer
Must you have a DUI lawyer advocating on your behalf when facing charges of drunk driving in Daytona Beach? Will a DUI lawyer truly make a difference in the outcome, or should his or her services be viewed as a luxury or a means to gain moral support? If you are reading this article, these are probably the questions you are asking, especially if you can’t really afford legal fees.
Briefly, a Daytona Beach DUI lawyer is not strictly necessary to render a plea and/or to mount a defense. However, this short answer to the opening questions is too general to apply in all cases. In fact, each instance of driving under the influence should be treated as unique because there are so many variables that come into play in terms of scope of charges, number of prior convictions, particular circumstances, and the array of potential defenses.
Ultimately, only you can determine whether or not you need an attorney. But you should take the time to understand fully the nature of the charges made against you and the consequences of a DUI conviction before you make that determination. If finances are an issue, you may care less about whether you need a lawyer and more about if DUI lawyers are worth the money.
In the rest of this article, we walk through a number of considerations for you to think about. At that point you should be able to arrive at the long answer to all these questions and to make an informed decision.
After You are Arrested on a DUI Charge
In the State of Florida, when you are arrested for driving while intoxicated, two legal cases are opened and filed against you. The main one is the criminal case dealing with the charges themselves. The other case is an administrative hearing regarding whether or not you will be issued a temporary driver’s license allowing you to drive while awaiting the criminal case. This secondary case is necessary because your actual driver’s license will have been confiscated by law enforcement.
Unless you request within ten days a formal review hearing to contest it, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended per Florida DUI code. In addition, there are apt to be other pretrial court hearings at which you or a representative will be expected to appear. Furthermore, though no one may point it out, you have the right (a) to subpoena any and all legal documents that will be used in your pending criminal trial, and (b) to cross-examine prosecution witnesses during the formal review hearing.
Naturally, the average citizen is unfamiliar with these legal intricacies and may feel intimidated trying to exercise his rights granted by law. But all these things are what a DUI lawyer does as a matter of course. So this is the first distinction you should take into consideration.
Minimum DUI and Associated Penalties
The next thing to take into consideration is the nature of the penalties likely to be instituted as your payment to society. If this is your first DUI conviction (blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, > 0.08), you are looking at up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $1,000. However, if your BAC was greater than 0.15 or there was a minor present in your vehicle at time of arrest, jail time is upped to nine months and the fine is doubled.
For repeat offenses, the corresponding penalties increase, including a certain number of days of mandatory incarceration. Your fourth and subsequent DUI convictions are considered felonies, raising your legal troubles to a new, much more serious, level.
Also, the DUI charge may not be the only violation of law you have to face. For example, if your offense resulted in property damage, serious bodily injury, or death, additional charges and penalties come into the picture.
What Will Happen Without a Lawyer?
As implied above, without an attorney representing you and guiding you through the maze of court hearings and other legal challenges, you are apt to flounder and feel intimidated, possibly waiving your rights inadvertently. Good Daytona Beach DUI lawyers not only stay on top of all issues related to your case but they also save their clients from the accumulation of stress and inconvenience. So you may not need a lawyer, but the outcome is apt to be worse without one than having one help you.
If you don’t have legal counsel, expect the prosecution to show you no leniency and to press for maximum penalties. Expect your life to be adversely affected in many ways following a DUI conviction. You may not have legal expenses to pay, but you will have fines and other associated costs that could mount up into the thousands. Your employment opportunities, education, and other life priorities will all be negatively impinged.
By now you should realize the greatly increased risk of forgoing the hiring of a DUI lawyer to advocate on your behalf. If you decide that you do indeed need an attorney, you can now turn your attention to finding out which DUI Lawyer to hire.