Many people arrested for DUI for the first time are more than a little confused about the process. They wonder what charges they’ll face, how it could affect their life and whether or not they should hire a lawyer. For the vast majority of individuals facing DUI charges, the question isn’t “Should I hire a lawyer,” it’s “When should I hire a lawyer?” We answer that question and more in today’s blog.
When To Hire A DUI Lawyer
So when in the process should you hire a DUI lawyer? Our best advice is “As soon as possible,” but some people can also wait until after their arraignment (formal reading of charges). The reason you want to retain a lawyer as early as possible during the process is because they can help secure your release and begin gathering evidence to support your innocence. The sooner your lawyer gets working on the case, the more time they’ll have to strengthen your claims. On top of that, they may be able to get you released from jail depending on the circumstances of your arrest. This can help you get back to a normal life while your case plays out.
Although you don’t need a lawyer present at your arraignment, it’s helpful to have one. You will be brought before the judge and formally charged with DUI. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate that you be released on your own recognizance while you’re awaiting trial. Again, this can help prevent the arrest from disrupting your family life or your career.
If you want to go to your arraignment, plead not guilty and ask to be released while trial is pending, you certainly can, but you may have a tougher time getting that request granted on your own. Judges will allow many misdemeanor offenders to go free while trial is pending, but if you have previous charges or are facing an upgraded sentence, consider having a lawyer at your arraignment. But if you go it alone and are released while awaiting trial, now is the time to call around and find an experienced defense attorney.
DUIs are viewed harshly by the state, and it can result in significant fines, increased car insurance premiums, jail time, the loss of your driving privileges and mandated probation or alcohol counseling. And as we alluded to above, it can also put significant strain on your family and your job, two things you can’t ignore while you fight your legal battle.
That’s why you need a lawyer very early on in the process. Let them help guide you from the start and have plenty of time to put together a solid defense. Don’t assume you can handle it on your own, because the consequences for falling short are so severe. For a free case evaluation, or for help if you’ve recently been arrested, pick up the phone and call Appelman Law Firm at (952) 224-2277.