DUI is a criminal offense and is punishable by law. If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you’ll have the option of representing yourself in criminal court or letting a Winter Park, FL DUI attorney represent you. While both options have their upsides and downsides, working with a lawyer can help you get the most from the process. Keep in mind that criminal lawyers deal with DUI cases every other day – they are not only well informed about the process, they also have experience. Having them in your corner can mean the difference between a smooth operation and a tough one.
Here is a list of five things that a DUI attorney does for you:
Informs you of your rights
You’ve probably heard this line in the movies, or reality, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” But funnily enough, it may skip your mind when you get pulled over, and you start pouring out details that will implicate you. Better yet, you still may be required to share some details, but aren’t sure which information is okay to share, and which one isn’t. A lawyer will tell you when not to speak. A good one will advise you against arguing in your defense, which may expose you to being grilled by prosecutors.
Make full use of discovery
Discovery is the legal mechanism for collecting evidence that may help refute the prosecution’s evidence or exonerate you. Surveillance video, documents, oral testimony, and written statements can all be obtained using different discovery tools like subpoenas, depositions, and interrogatories.
As stated earlier, these attorneys deal with DUI cases frequently, and in their line of work, interact with different law enforcement officers within the industry. If you find a good one, they will have experience with the courtroom where your case will be heard, and sometimes, even the judge. It would be difficult for you to know how to maneuver alone, considering you aren’t as familiar and experienced with the courtroom as the lawyer.
Monitor filings and deadlines
DUI cases have different steps, and some can easily elude you if you aren’t well versed with the process. For instance, you’ll be needed to acquire the police dashcam footage within a specified time, failure to which you may end up losing critical evidence of possible police misconduct. Having an attorney by your side will help ensure that you don’t find yourself in such a situation. They will also submit files for your case before deadlines.
Negotiate on your behalf
Your local lawyer works with prosecutors often to negotiate plea bargains or jail alternatives for DUI offenders. If you find a good one, he or she will have many years of trust, goodwill and negotiation skills that you can leverage to your advantage. Besides, a majority of prosecutors won’t even try to hammer out the charge with a defendant representing him/herself.
If possible, help you expunge
If you plead to a lesser charge or are convicted, a DUI lawyer can help you clear your criminal record through expungement. However, you should note that this isn’t possible for all situations.