If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), and you have never before been involved in the criminal justice system, you probably have a number of questions relating to your situation. If you were released from custody, your primary concern should be to retain an attorney to represent you. You may, however, be hesitant to do that because you may question the need for an attorney. Before you make the mistake of underestimating the need for legal representation, consider the following reasons why you do need a DUI attorney.
Dangerous Myths about DUI
As a first-time defendant, you are understandably a bit overwhelmed and probably inclined to turn to other people for guidance. While this is certainly a normal response, the problem is that some of the “advice” people give you amounts to nothing more than myth – and some of them are dangerous myths at that. For example:
- You may be told that there is no point in hiring a lawyer because there is no defense to a DUI, meaning you will get convicted either way. In reality, there are several common defenses to a DUI charge that could prevent you from being convicted if they apply in your case.
- You might also be told that all DUI plea agreements are the same, so there is no point in hiring a lawyer to help negotiate a more favorable agreement for you. Once again, this is simply not the case. Like all agreements, many of the terms in a plea agreement are negotiable.
- You will undoubtedly hear the most popular myth of all — that hiring a DUI lawyer is a waste of money. When you take into consideration the fact that the average DUI conviction can easily cost over $10,000 when all the judicial penalties and non-judicial consequences are considered, hiring a lawyer who may be able to prevent a conviction hardly seems a waste of your money.
Why You Need a DUI Attorney
Now that you know why you should not listen to some of the well-meaning “advice” offered by friends, family, and co-workers, consider the following reasons why you do need a DUI attorney:
- The consequences of a conviction are worse than you realize. The penalties you may face for a DUI conviction include non-judicial penalties as well as the actual judicial sentence handed down by the judge. Furthermore, there may be more to the judicial penalties than you realize. For example, if you are convicted of DUI and are sentenced to a term of probation, the judge may impose a number of special conditions that must be completed while on probation. Those conditions may be costly and time-consuming. In addition, your insurance rates will almost certainly increase, you could face professional discipline, you might be disqualified to apply for a change of status if you are not a U.S. citizen, and it could even interfere with custody or visitation with minor children.
- The prosecuting attorney is not your friend. The prosecuting attorney may act like he/she just wants to help you out and resolve your case as quickly as possible for your benefit; however, the reality is that it is his/her job to secure as many convictions as possible. The prosecutor is not your friend. On the contrary, he/she will take advantage of your naivete.
- A conviction is not a foregone conclusion. One of the most common reasons defendants give for proceeding without an attorney is the belief that they will be convicted anyway so what is the point in hiring a lawyer. A conviction is not a foregone conclusion though; however, it is if you choose to give up and not even try to avoid a conviction, which is exactly what you are doing if you proceed without an attorney.
Contact a DUI Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you are currently facing DUI charges in Omaha, Nebraska, take the time to consult with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact the Omaha DUI defense attorneys at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced defense lawyer.