A DUI lawyer is an attorney who devotes all or most of their practice to drunk driving, drugged driving, and related cases. DUI is a subset of criminal defense, so any qualified defense attorney can be used. However, these cases are complex enough that some lawyers specialize in DUI defense.
These cases are common and have specific strategies for defense. The penalties for DUI driving can be severe in California, even for first-time offenders. Therefore, DUI lawyers do everything they can to protect their clients unless the state has an airtight case.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer?
It’s not required, but it’s an excellent idea. You have the right to an attorney and the court will give you a public defender if you can’t afford one. Unfortunately, due to the huge caseloads public defenders have, it’s hard for them to have the experience and time to build strong cases against DUI charges.
It’s better to hire one instead, especially since the penalties for conviction are so steep. If you are looking for a lawyer for a DUI case, here is what you should look for:
- The attorney focuses primarily on DUI. They don’t just take any kind of case that walks through the door.
- The attorney has lengthy experience as a DUI attorney, preferably 10 years or more.
- They may have prior experience working as a prosecutor on DUI cases. This gives them an edge in the courtroom.
- They may have taken special classes and seminars on DUI law, or even teach these classes to other lawyers.
- They may hold special certification in DUI defense from the California Bar Association.
Your lawyer does not have to have all of these requirements, but the more knowledgeable they are about DUI defense, the more they can do for you.
If I Know I’m Guilty, Should I Still Get a DUI Lawyer?
It’s still worth hiring a DUI lawyer even if you think you’re guilty. First, you might think you’re guilty, but there may be things you don’t know about. There could be flaws in the evidence that could get it tossed out of your case.
Second, your lawyer can try to persuade the court to give you a lesser sentence. This will depend on your past criminal history and other factors. Going before the court without an advocate means the court could punish you to the full extent of the law.
This can be a problem for alcoholics who really need treatment and education. Merely putting them in jail or prison with no support rarely does anything to fix the underlying problem. Fortunately, there are diversion programs that can help.
When Should I Get a DUI Lawyer?
As soon as you know you’ve been charged with any DUI-related crime, you should get a DUI lawyer on your side. You need immediate defense. The DMV might suspend your license as soon as they get word you’ve been arrested, even before you go to trial. If you get pulled over with a suspended license, you’ll face even more punishment.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us and get your free consultation today.