Most DUI cases result in a conviction or plea bargain because the accused is guilty. The evidence for driving under the influence is easy for the authorities to obtain. The results of a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test are almost irrefutable in a court of law. This leads many people to have to make the decision as to whether or not to seek legal counsel.
If it is your first driving offense, an attorney may not be able to help. Why? Fighting a DUI charge makes little sense for the first offense if the arrest was legitimate. A good DUI lawyer will almost always advise his client to plead guilty if the evidence against him is overwhelming.
Another reason why an attorney will advise his client to plead guilty is because the penalties for a first offense are lax compared to a second or a third. A conviction will result in the suspension of driving privileges, a heavy fine, and state-mandated classes for alcohol or drug reduction.
Penalties for Repeat Offenders
No matter the judge or jurisdiction, a first conviction for drunk driving rarely results in a prison sentence. But what about for repeat offenders? In most states, there is mandatory prison time for those convicted more than once. That is why it almost always pays to fight the charges – or at least to explore legal options.
An attorney may recommend different strategies rather than advocating a plea of guilt. He may, for example, suggest the accused fight the charges in court if the blood alcohol content (BAC) was near the legal limit, as Breathalyzer readings are not 100 percent accurate. A conviction is less likely to occur if the reading was between.08 and.11. This uncertainty also makes it more likely that the prosecutor will be willing to accept a favorable plea arrangement.
If facing years in prison because of prior drunk driving charges, a good DUI lawyer will be able to help with sentence bargaining. This means he may be able to talk to the judge to get the charges reduced or the sentence shortened. This is a privilege afforded to those that have legal counsel since attorneys rarely engage in sentence bargaining with defendants that have no legal training.
For all of these reasons and more, it is imperative that you contact a DUI lawyer if you have been charged with drunk driving more than once.