Whether your state calls it DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated), OUI (operating under the influence), or something else, the consequences for a drunk driving conviction can be severe and have long-term consequences. Having the representation of an experienced DUI lawyer through the process is the best way to minimize the negative impact.
At The Legal Helpers, we understand that looking for a lawyer in your time of need can be overwhelming. With limited time to act, it makes sense to take advantage of our free legal matching service. We take the stress out of the equation and match you up with experienced, accomplished attorneys you can trust to zealously represent your rights.
Consequences of DUI
A DUI arrest or conviction can be expensive both in the short term and in the long term. The exact consequences vary by location, but often include:
- Jail time
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Mandatory drunk driving classes
- Required use of an interlock device
- Increased insurance premiums
- Legal fees and court costs
The severity of punishment will likely depend on whether the facts of the case in your jurisdiction warrant a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Factors that can impact how the DUI is charged usually include:
- Concentration of alcohol or other substances in your system
- Prior convictions
- Whether a child was in the car
- Whether someone was injured
The way charges are handled in your jurisdiction may be confusing, so it is best to consult with someone local who has first-hand experience with these types of cases.
Future Impact of DUI in America
Even after you face the immediate consequences of a DUI conviction, it could haunt you for years to come. You can expect to need to report the DUI on job, school, and scholarship applications. It can interfere with housing options. It can drive up your insurance rates. In other words, a DUI conviction can become a heavy weight that impedes your everyday choices and options.
Often a DUI lawyer can minimize, or even eliminate, the impact of a DUI conviction. Depending on the legal options in your jurisdiction, your attorney may be able to:
- Challenge the evidence to have the charges dropped altogether
- Negotiate a lesser charge with fewer consequences or deferred adjudication
- Position your case for an eventual expungement
The steps you take early on can affect your criminal record for years to come.
What to Look for in a DUI Lawyer?
Criminal cases are different from civil cases in a lot of ways, including the speed at which they move. It is important to find a DUI lawyer quickly, but to also make sure the attorney is a good match for you. When you first speak with an attorney, here are some questions to ask while deciding whether he or she is a good match.
- Experience: How long have you been practicing? What percentage of your practice is in criminal law? How much of that is focused on DUI defense? What other types of cases do you handle? How much experience do you have in the courthouse where my case is pending? How often have you faced this prosecutor or judge? How often do reach a plea agreement versus try a case?
- Case Strategy: What do you see as viable options - dismissal, reduction in charges, plea agreement, trial, or something else? What are the strongest and weakest factors in the case? What are the stages of the case and what participation will be required?
- Personal Attention: Will you personally represent me? Who else will work on my case? Who will answer my questions? How quickly will you or they respond? What is the best method to communication? How often will you provide updates?
- Legal Fees and Billing: Do you charge an hourly fee or flat rate? What is included in the rate and what is extra? Can you estimate related expenses? What payment options do you offer? When is a flat fee due? Can I make payments after the case concludes? What portion of the fee is refundable?
What to Bring When You Meet with Your DUI Attorney?
The time you have to meet with a lawyer may sound adequate but the time can fly by when you get into the details of the case. Make the most by doing some prep work and bringing everything that might be necessary. Do not forget:
- Court documents that list the charges against you
- Court notices that list your next court date
- Bail paperwork
- Police report
- Other police paperwork, if any
Hassle-Free Way to Find a DUI Lawyer
A DUI conviction can impact your life for more than a decade to come. Having an experienced DUI attorney on your side is crucial when it comes to making sure your rights are protected.
Try our free claim review today. It only takes a few seconds but it can narrow down your search so you can get on your way to meet attorneys who fit your needs.
- Cheat Sheet, 15 States Where a DUI Offense Might Ruin You
- Money Crashers, Drunk Driving Consequences – Criminal Penalties & Costs of Driving Under the Influence