Written on May 20, 2020 9:00:00 AM
Can a DUI Lawyer Prevent Me from Going to Jail?
More than 1 million drivers were arrested for drinking under the influence in 2016. If you were one of these drivers, whether you were arrested due to causing an accident or for impaired driving, then you may face jail time.
However, there is an emphasis on the “may.” There are many factors that influence a judge’s decision in a DUI case and if you’re convicted, there is a chance you can avoid jail time. DUI cases can be difficult, so representing yourself in court for a DUI charge is not recommended. Instead, relying on the expertise of DUI defense lawyers can bolster your chances of receiving alternative sentences that don’t include jail.
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need After a DUI Charge?
Since driving under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics is a crime in every state, all DUI charges are handled in courts. You can either choose to represent yourself in court, use a public defender, or hire a DUI lawyer.
Hiring a DUI lawyer is encouraged since DUI cases and laws can be complicated, since they may change per state. Since DUI is a serious charge and can affect future employment and your driving privileges, you will want dedicated DUI attorneys as they are familiar with defending these cases. With a DUI attorney, you may be able to reduce the charge or preserve your license.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help Me With My Case?
Lawyers have the legal expertise and experience when handling cases that the average person does not. They know what important information to collect as evidence in a case and assist with legal questions.
A DUI lawyer can be extremely influential in pleading for a lesser charge, such as reckless driving, which would result in only a fine. However, many states have passed “DUI Per Se” laws —which means that all drivers with a BAC of .08% or more are charged with intoxicated driving. The legal limit of BAC, or blood alcohol content, is .08% nation-wide, so it does not matter if you’re in New York or Alaska - if your BAC reaches over that limit, you are impaired in the eyes of the law. This means a DUI Per Se conviction does not rest on whether or not the charged individual was impaired by the alcohol or narcotics, but solely on the content they consumed.
In the face of DUI Per Se laws, a DUI attorney can only do so much if your BAC is over the .08%. Still, experienced DUI attorneys can attempt to defend you and lower your charges.
What Type of Information is Important to Share with My DUI Lawyer?
Some of the most decisive information that determines a DUI case is the number of DUI charges you have had in the past and your BAC level at the time you were pulled over.
If it was your first DUI offense, you may be able to escape some of the consequences given to repeated offenders. Currently, forty-two states and other territories have an administrative license suspension (ALS) for the first DUI offense. However, some states still allow driving privileges with ALS.
Due to the DUI Per Se laws, having a DUI lawyer may not make a difference with your conviction if your BAC was measured at 0.8 or higher. You will still be required to handle the consequences, including losing your license, paying fines, and facing conviction.
Still, hiring a DUI attorney will guide you through the complicated process and prepare you to go to court. They may help speed the process of regaining your driving privileges by having you complete alcohol education or treatment programs required by your state, as well as fill you in on what to expect through the entire court proceedings.
Will I Avoid Jail Time if I Hire a DUI Lawyer?
With a DUI defense attorney’s help, the charged may plea bargain to lower penalties and retain their ability to drive. However, this is not guaranteed. A DUI lawyer “may” be able to reduce your sentences and have you avoid extensive fees or even jail time.
Although it’s likely that you will avoid jail time if it’s your first DUI offense, it depends on the situation. All DUI offenses, whether a first-time misdemeanor or not, can be punishable by jail time. For example, while Florida has no minimum jail time for first DUI offenders, they have the potential penalty for up to 6 months behind bars. Whether or not you will be handed jail time will depend on your state and the judge involved.
Your chances of serving jail time will be less if you are a first-time offender and did not injure or kill someone in an accident. Judges also tend to be more forgiving if you have a clean criminal record and situational factors of your incident.
Although hiring a DUI lawyer will not guarantee no jail time, a skilled and experienced legal representation can help lower your chances of serving time and any other consequences you may face. Their efforts may land you alternative sentences, such as serving community service time or completing an alcohol rehabilitation program.
If you or a loved one was the victim of an intoxicated driver and you feel you haven’t been compensated, choose an expert DUI accident attorney who cares. At Lowman Law Firm, we will give you the attention and expertise you need to present your case. You don’t have to go it alone—we’re on your side.