First of all, take a deep breath. If you’re looking up ‘DWI lawyers’ online, it’s probably for a reason, so take a step back and think about all the things you have to be thankful for. A DWI is much better than the outcome for many people who get behind the wheel after drinking. But there are still court dates, fines, and classes. Plus, you’ll have to deal with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. It helps to have a friend in this situation. A DWI lawyer isn’t necessarily the friend you want, but if you’ve been arrested recently, they’re the friend you need.
Find an Experienced Practice
DWI lawyers charge vastly different rates. As is true with most things, you get what you pay for. An inexpensive attorney is likely to be inexperienced. Many big firms start young associates out in DWI defense because it’s relatively low-stakes. While youth is no sign of incompetence, you don’t want to be a point along someone’s learning curve. Look for a firm where a partner (someone with their name on the door) delegates to a close-knit team. That way, even if an associate is doing most of the legwork, the close supervision of a more experienced practitioner will help ensure things don’t fall through the cracks. Young or old, it will likely cost a few thousand dollars. But consider the fact that the average cost of a drunk driving charge is about $10,000, and that’s if you didn’t hit anything/one. Having an attorney in your corner can save you money in the long run.
Ways Charges Get Thrown Out
Maybe you’ll get really lucky. In about two percent of cases, there are procedural due process violations that could get your case dismissed. Sometimes there are problems with the chain of custody of your blood sample. There are strict rules for how the blood must be taken, transferred, and tested. In rare instances, law enforcement runs afoul of these rules and the toxicology report, the evidential linchpin of the state’s case, is inadmissible. Other times, they didn’t have probable cause to pull you over. This will have to be proved at trial but if your attorney can convince a judge or jury, you might get off. Legally, if the police don’t follow the law, they can’t convict you. Without an attorney, you’d have a tough time knowing what to look for.
Odds are, you won’t get off on a technicality. That doesn’t mean a lawyer isn’t worth it. For one thing, they can handle all the dealings with the court, which will save you a lot of time and stress. More importantly, even if you don’t get it dismissed, you may be able to get the sentence reduced. Going from drunk driving to “wet and reckless” can be thousands of dollars less. Even something small like getting a 32-hour court-ordered class down to 16 hours makes a difference. If you rely on your car for work or school, your attorney can negotiate a restricted license to maintain your independence. best personal injury lawyer