4 reasons you need an attorney after a DUI arrest
After getting arrested for a DUI, an attorney may be able to help a person make it through the process by explaining plea options and trial techniques.
Over the course of a single year, alcohol played a role in 7,591 crashes in Virginia according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. In the same year, there were 20,768 DUI convictions in the state. With so many drivers getting in trouble for driving under the influence, it is important to look at the benefits an attorney can have on this type of case.
1. Decide how to plead
Those accused of drinking and driving have the choice to plead either guilty or not guilty at an arraignment. Because most people have never gone through this process before, it can be challenging to know what plea is the best. An attorney will be able to help each person choose what to say at the arraignment based on his or her unique situation. For example, someone who failed a field sobriety test may have too much evidence against him or her to plead not guilty, but someone who has witnesses who will attest to his or her sobriety may have enough evidence to dispute the charges.
2. Go to trial
If a person chooses to plead not guilty, he or she will need to gather evidence in order to make a case. Doing this without the help of an attorney can be close to impossible. A lawyer will know where to look for information that can help a person win or at least make his or her case. An attorney will also know what protocols to follow as the charges are fought before a judge and jury.
3. Get a plea bargain
If a person is convicted of a DUI, he or she may have to pay a fine, spend time in jail or complete community service. A lawyer can, in some cases, help reduce the sentence. Depending on the situation, an attorney may even be able to help change the sentence completely to a moving traffic violation, such as reckless driving, rather than driving under the influence. Of course, getting a bargain may not be possible if the blood-alcohol content level was above the legal driving limit of 0.08.
4. Learn more about the options
One major benefit an attorney can have on a DUI case is helping the accused learn about his or her options. The lawyer may even be able to prepare the person for the court case by explaining what the judge will expect. With this guidance, it may be easier to make it through the legal process that takes place after being arrested for a DUI.
When a person is arrested for drunken driving in Virginia, it can be hard to know exactly what to do through every step of the process. When a person needs advice or is thinking about pleading not guilty, working with an attorney familiar with DUI cases can be very beneficial.