Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that carries severe penalties. And there can be long-lasting consequences of having a DUI conviction on your record such as increased insurance rates and employment limitations. So, if you've been arrested for a DUI, there's a lot on the line.
To make sure your rights are protected and you don't end up making matter worse than they already are, it's always a good idea to have a qualified DUI attorney looking out for your interests. The article covers your basic options for legal representation in a DUI case.
Generally, when you're charged with a DUI or any other crime, you'll have three options for legal representation: hiring a private lawyer, requesting a public defender (court-appointed counsel), and representing yourself. Here's a quick rundown of each option.
It's basically never a good idea to represent yourself in a DUI case. When you're facing criminal charges and serious consequences, it's best to have an attorney who knows what they're doing representing you. Although you could potentially save a few dollars representing yourself, the results of doing so can be disastrous.
Anyone who's charged with a criminal offense and can't afford an attorney is eligible for court-appointed counsel. In most areas, the public defender's office is in charge of representing indigent criminal defendants. Public defenders generally have lots of experience handling DUI cases. So, although having court-appointed counsel has its drawbacks (discussed below), the public defender is typically a good option and certainly better than representing yourself.
Hiring a private DUI attorney comes with a number of benefits. Some of the main benefits of hiring a DUI lawyer include:
These are probably the most noteworthy advantages of hiring a private DUI lawyer. However, every situation is different. To some extent, the pluses and minuses of hiring a lawyer depend on your specific circumstances, including financial resources.
The section above covers the basics of the different types of legal representation. However, there are a few more things that are important to know:
If you still have questions about legal representation in a DUI case, get in contact with a local DUI attorney or public defender. Generally, an experienced attorney in your area (whether private or public) will be able to guide you in the right direction.