Short answer: Yes
So you’ve been pulled over and charged with a DUI. You know you were drunk, so you figure you’ll just plea guilty and deal with it. Since you know you’re guilty you figure that there’s nothing a lawyer can help you with. Well, you’re wrong. Get a lawyer.
Sometimes you do the one thing I tell people not to do over and again and flat out tell the officer that you’re drunk. Even then your lawyer can help you.
When you hire a lawyer you get several benefits.
Firstly, you get the piece of mind of hiring a lawyer, then just forgetting the matter unless you have to show up for a sentencing. You don’t have to show up at 8:30 to make your first appearance. Rather your attorney fills out paperwork with the court, and then you don’t deal with the state again. Your lawyer makes every meeting with the prosecutor. All the paperwork goes through him. You get to sit around and get back to your life.
Your lawyer knows the procedure. If you look at your citation, you can see that you’re actually dealing with 2 issues. The first is criminal, and the second is civil, with the Department of Transportation. Most people who don’t get a lawyer, don’t know that they have to request that hearing or else they automatically have their license suspended. You gotta read the fine print.
Why do you want that hearing? Well, for starters, depending on how you do things, you can affect the dates of any suspension you do receive. This might be really important if you REALLY need to drive. Secondly, having a suspension hearing that hasn’t yet happened is a great bargaining chip to bring in to the prosecutor when you’re dealing with the criminal side of things. Finally, the license suspension hearing results can give you a great first look at what the strengths and weaknesses of your case are.
Next, your lawyer is going to know the right rules and the right procedure to give you the best outcome. He’ll know to demand a pretrial (though in Moscow they are very good and will give you one even if you don’t ask). Your lawyer will make certain you can get a jury trial, because you have to ask for one. Your lawyer will file the right papers at the right time to make sure you have plenty of time to go over the evidence against you. This is called the “discovery process”.
When the prosecutor provides all of the evidence against you, you get the biggest benefit of hiring a lawyer. This is when you get a legal mind to pick through all of that evidence. Your lawyer will see the cracks that most people miss. He will be able to see if there if there was probable cause for the stop. He will see if you were given proper warnings. He will see if you were given your roadside sobriety tests properly. He will see if your breathalyzer was properly calibrated.
When your lawyer finds these weaknesses he knows how to file the paperwork to attempt to get that evidence suppressed. Even if he fails to get the evidence suppressed, oftentimes all it takes is the very possibility that the evidence against you will be thrown out to get the prosecutor to agree to offer a lesser offense.
Prior to trial your lawyer will go in to see the prosecutor in a pretrial conference. This is when your lawyer and the prosecutor discuss your case together and decide what to do about you, you troublemaker you. Your lawyer works with the prosecutor. They know each other. Your lawyer will always be taken more seriously by the prosecutor than you when he says that the prosecutor has weaknesses in their case. Your lawyer will always be able to bargain better than you.
Sometimes your lawyer bargains better simply because most people don’t even know what to ask for. Are you familiar with a Withheld Judgment? Ask a lawyer what that is. Do you know DUIs can be lowered from a second time DUI (with heavier penalties) to a first time DUI? Do you know the difference between an “excessive” DUI with enhanced penalties and a regular DUI? Do you know when to get an alcohol evaluation? Do you know when it helps you and when it hurts you?
Finally, assuming that you are in fact dealing with a sentencing date, you want a lawyer with you. He will advise you what to tell the judge. If you’re looking at jail time, your lawyer will be able to make sure to ask for days that work with you. He’ll make sure you have time to pay any fine. And when it’s all said and down, your lawyer is there to let you know exactly what happened when you’re done. Quite often people get out of the courtroom not understanding exactly what happened. These mistakes and misunderstandings are the kinds of things that get you in trouble months later.
So get a lawyer. When your liberty and property are on the line you need a specialist to protect you.
I love this song.