Driving under the influence (DUI) is the offense of driving or operating a motor vehicle while affected by alcohol or other drugs (including recreational drugs or those prescribed by physicians), to a level that deems the driver unable to control a vehicle safely. Driving under the influence is considered a crime in every state due to the dangers it can pose on both the driver and others on the road. Because it is deemed a crime, DUI cases are handled in criminal court. All individuals charged with a DUI have the right to represent themselves, however most defendants hire a lawyer to ensure they get the best outcome possible.
According to USA classifieds, each year about 1.5 million Americans get arrested for a DUI. That is a significant number of people - so if you find yourself among this population for the first time, it is important to make sure the worry and stress you are experiencing doesn’t affect the steps you take following the incident. What you do as you are being charged with a DUI is pivotal to your case and can affect the outcome. At Barfoot & Schoettker we are here to help navigate you through the daunting process and make sure you obtain everything you need to help plead your case to a judge. Below are our essential steps to take after your DUI offense:
Write Down All Details
Similar to a car accident, it’s crucial to document all details about your arrest as this can help a lawyer fight your case. Write down everything you can remember, even if you think it is not important. Details matter in a court of law and they will help you when your court appearance comes. Some questions to help you are listed below:
- When and where were you stopped?
- What date and time were you stopped?
- What reason did the officer give for your stop?
- Specifics about your conversation with the police
- Details about any tests the police had you do
Witnesses are important. They can testify on your behalf in court. Witnesses can come to court willingly on your behalf or be compelled to testify by subpoena. This strengthens your defense and can have a big impact on your case. You should note down names and details for any witnesses - those in your vehicle with you, or any family and friends that saw you shortly before, or right after the incident. Witnesses have the ability to testify about how the situation unfolded if they were present, or vouch for you if they did not believe you were intoxicated.
Hire A Lawyer
Going to court without a lawyer is not advised in a DUI case, ever. You need a lawyer in order to have the best chance of winning the case or avoiding penalties, even for a first offense. Many lawyers are specialists in this field and have the expertise and knowledge to be able to present your case professionally, negotiate where appropriate and understand the system better than someone representing themselves.
Many people hesitate to hire an attorney as they fear they can’t afford the costs associated. But driving under the influence is a criminal charge that has serious ramifications and costs should you be convicted. It is not worth taking the risk of having a criminal record and suffering all the long term repercussions - hiring a lawyer is worth the investment.
A DUI arrest is something to be taken very seriously given the significant consequences that are associated with the offense. The facts and nature of the incident will ultimately affect the final outcome for your case but by having an attorney represent you, you have a much better chance of reducing penalties or dismissing the case completely. Here are just a few reasons to consider hiring a lawyer:
1. A lawyer has the ability to get all DUI charges dismissed before going to court.
2. An attorney has the experience to be able to negotiate and get charges reduced to avoid penalties like the ignition interlock.
3. Lawyers are more familiar with DUI’s and know potential ways to try and save a driver’s license suspension.
4. An attorney has a better chance of winning a dismissal if a case goes to trial.
Even though a person has the right to represent themselves in court, at Barfoot & Schoettker we recommend hiring an attorney that has experience handling DUI cases. A DUI shouldn’t be taken lightly. By engaging an attorney, you will have a much better defense and hopefully the final outcome will be more favorable for you.
We have an excellent team that specializes in DUI cases and we are ready to help guide you through this criminal charge process and represent you to the best of our ability. Learn more here about our services or contact us today at (334) 834-3444.