If you’re facing a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s normal to be apprehensive. Both personally and professionally, a lot could be riding on the outcome of your case.
If it’s your first offense, you may be wondering whether it’s wiser to get an attorney or just throw yourself at the mercy of the court. The court isn’t generally interested in being merciful, so getting an attorney is the wisest thing you can do.
Challenging the evidence against you takes knowledge and experience
Breathalyzer-type devices are not foolproof. They can be miscalibrated or damaged, and the tests can be administered incorrectly. Plus, people who have certain medical conditions can get misleading readings. For example, people with poorly controlled diabetes often have false-positive Breathalyzer readings because of the acetone buildup in their bodies, since that’s picked up by the device. It’s entirely possible to challenge this (and other) evidence against you, but the average layperson won’t begin to know where to start. Without fully exploring the possibilities, you may end up missing a chance to have the charges lowered or dismissed.
Getting an Occupational Limited License (OLL) may be possible
If your license is suspended for any length of time, that could prove a serious hardship that could only be mitigated by an OLL. This would permit you to drive your vehicle so that you can get to work, school and medical appointments. However, the process of obtaining an OLL can be difficult to manage on your own, and it requires paperwork that many people find confusing to complete without professional help.
You cannot make a plea bargain on your own
It’s entirely possible that what would ordinarily be a misdemeanor DUI charge could be elevated to a felony under certain aggravating conditions, including things like having a minor child in the car or causing an accident with injuries. In situations like those, you may want to explore the possibility of a plea bargain of some kind that will mitigate the consequences. Unfortunately, prosecutors don’t negotiate plea deals with defendants. It takes experience to know where there is room to negotiate and what is and isn’t possible.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s always better to have experienced legal guidance and someone on your side when you enter a courtroom. Being as proactive as you possibly can is the best way to safeguard your interests to the fullest possible extent.