You made a mistake, and at this point you just want to make things right. You’re thinking of throwing yourself at the mercy of the court – big mistake. Why? While you want to make amends and see justice done, you also don’t need to be treated like a second-class citizen. You still have rights as an accused individual. Get a lawyer. Here’s why:
Drunk Driving Laws Have Changed
It used to be that hiring a lawyer for this sort of thing would result in you being able to plea to a lesser charge, pay a fine, and be on your way. Not anymore. All 50 states have passed “per se” laws. These laws prevent you from plea-bargaining. If your blood alcohol level is over.08, you’re automatically guilty of DUI. The breathalyser is all the police need to convict you. The court hearing is just a formality.
Your License Will Be Suspended
Your license with almost certainly be revoked. In 41 states, there is an administrative license suspension law which effectively bypasses the need for a judge to convict you to revoke your license. Law enforcement officials can immediately confiscate and suspend your license on the spot if you fail a field sobriety test or your BAC is over the legal limit. Refusing the take the test means that your license is immediately confiscated and revoked. These new laws are harsh, and allow your driver’s license to be suspended as an administrative sanction. This is before you even get to court.
Your BAC Level Is Critical
Your blood alcohol level or “BAC” is the amount of alcohol in your blood at any given time. If the police pull you over, and administer a test, and your BAC is greater or equal to.08, it’s all over.
Were There Any Aggravating Circumstances?
As if driving while drunk wasn’t bad enough, the court may increase your sentence if you have any prior offenses, if you caused any property damage, if you injured someone while drunk, or if you endangered a child. If there were any aggravating circumstances, an attorney might actually be able to help you mitigate the damage here.
What An Attorney Will Do For You
If you really are innocent, a good DUI attorney will most likely be able to get the charges dropped. However, if you did actually fail the sobriety test because you were drunk, an attorney can help you prepare for the court proceedings. He can also help you obtain important documents, like an SR-22 insurance documents. The lawyer can file all of the proper forms on your behalf with the department of motor vehicles.
Finally, your attorney may be able to help you complete an alcohol education and treatment program required by your state in order to regain your driving privileges. Basically, your attorney can’t get your sentence reduced, but he can guide you through the process and help you reestablish your former life – well not exactly your former life. He’ll help you establish a better life. One that doesn’t involve you going back to court.