In the past twenty five years of handling driving under the influence (DUI) cases is Los Angeles I am asked all the time by potential clients whether I think they need an attorney. My answer is always yes because if someone is charged with a DUI, then they are potentially facing jail time, loss of their driving privileges and a mark on their criminal record. It makes no sense that someone charged with a DUI would not want to do everything they can to protect themselves and avoid as many of the potential consequences of a DUI as possible.
My attitude when it comes to a DUI is that, if you have to do it, do it once, do it right and never do it again! In my opinion, the way to do it right is to have a seasoned DUI defense attorney represent you and exhaust every legal avenue for you. If you have a solid attorney, then they will do everything they can to get you the best result, and you will know that you did everything you could to end up with a result you can live with. There is nothing worse than looking back on a situation and being angry that you did not do everything you could to get the best result.
First offense DUI’s are probably your best opportunity to attempt to get the DUI dismissed and end up with a lesser charge. If you have a prior DUI and pick up a new one, the prosecutors are a lot less likely to give you any kind of break. In other words, the prosecutors and judges will be more inclined to give you a break on a first offense than if you have a criminal record for DUI’s or any other crimes. Also, if you are close to the legal limit, then a local savvy DUI defense attorney will be in a good position to really do something to help you.
One big thing that I believe makes a difference related to a first time DUI and having an attorney relates to convenience and peace of mind. Many people get very anxious and embarrassed when it comes to going to court and dealing with a scary situation like defending a DUI. The horrible anxiety and worry can be significantly alleviated when you know you have a DUI attorney, who knows what they are doing, guiding you through the process. Once you know what your are realistically facing, you can then rest a little easier knowing that it is not the end of the world and at least your attorney will do damage control for you and the pressure is off you to get a result or figure out how to resolve your case.
I have always noticed in my own life that when I do not understand something that could affect my life in a serious way, I do not feel right until I have educated myself and know that I am doing what I can to make things right. To me, a DUI involves the exact same mental process and feelings. You must put the pieces in motion that make sure that you are properly represented and that your interests are protected. There is nothing worse than being punished and you do not understand why or feel like the punishment is too harsh for what you did. This is where your attorney comes in to strike a balance between what you did and how the judge and prosecutor view you and your actions.
When I meet with clients I make sure that I make it clear from the beginning that they are best served if they tell me the truth and nothing but the truth. I am sure you have heard this old adage before, but it could not be more true for purposes of meeting with your attorney and laying the ground work for their representation of you. If you put a spin on what you did and / or leave out important details that the judge and prosecutor know about and will likely use against you, you do yourself a disservice and you put your attorney behind the eight ball from the very beginning of the case. Especially since everything you say is protected by the attorney client privilege.
Another important point to take a hold of as it relates to DUI’s is that they are not all created equal. In other words, there are those DUI cases that fall at the low end of the spectrum because the person arrested did not have a very high blood alcohol level and was not driving dangerously. And, of course there are those scenarios that fall at the high end of the spectrum, where things like high speed, dangerous driving, high blood alcohol level and an accident are involved, that cause the case to fall into an area where the consequences can be extremely serious.
In either of these scenarios or something in between, having a local skilled attorney on your team is going to give you the best chance of not getting slammed by the judge and prosecutor. They are looking out for the public and if they perceive you as a legitimate danger to the public at large, they are going to come down on you like a ton of bricks and nothing or no one can stop them except for your attorney. Having the right attorney on your team can mean the difference between suffering the most severe consequences available to the judge and being given a break that can have a huge impact on your life.