Have you been arrested on a DUI or DWI charge? There are many steps to take in this case, but the first and the most important involves hiring a competent auto accidents attorney. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can represent yourself. There are a few things to keep in mind, read on to find out how it is best to go about such a charge.
Will you be arraigned for a DUI?
As your accidents attorney will explain, this does a formal arraignment procedure in court. At your arraignment, you will be asked to plead to the charge, either guilty or not guilty. Having an attorney represent you at arraignment is more than necessary. At this stage, you are only entering a plea, and you can plead not guilty. In most states you can also insist on a jury trial. If you’re charged with having prior under-the-influence convictions, you should deny these convictions so that you or your attorney can challenge their validity later.
What happens after you make bail?
There are many alternatives here but the most common include simply pleading guilty as charged, trying to plea bargain down to a reduced charge like reckless driving , asking for a trial before a judge. Generally, the more likely a jury is to find you guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), the more you will want to plea bargain or negotiate a settlement with the prosecutor. One of the most important factors is your blood alcohol level. If higher than .12 %, chances of winning in trial are actually low. All an attorney can do is attempt to shed doubt on the validity of the test results so that the jury either entirely disbelieves them or thinks that, after adjusting for possible errors in your favor, your blood alcohol level might have been lower.
You have more chances of winning if your blood alcohol level is under .11%. Your chances will depend largely on the type of testimony your lawyer can elicit from anyone who was with you either before or while you were driving.
A well seasoned accidents attorney should be able to cross-examine the prosecutor’s expert witnesses to show that the likelihood of one’s driving ability being affected at a blood alcohol level of less than 0.08% is small. Naturally, the farther below 0.08% your blood alcohol was, the better your chances are of being acquitted are.
Should you go for a plea bargain?
This is a process where the defendant and the prosecutor reach a compromise. Plea bargains in DUI situations, however, are no longer as common.
Whether you’d prefer to plea bargain or take your case to trial, think about getting an attorney to represent you. If you cannot afford to pay for a specialized attorney’s full services, you can choose the option of hiring legal help for the limited purpose of fully explaining your options to you or working out a plea bargain with the prosecutor.