If you have been charged with a DUI, one of your first steps will need to be meeting with a DUI attorney. For most people, this is the first time they have been charged with a crime, and perhaps even the first time they have met with a lawyer for any reason. As such, the whole situation may seem a bit intimidating and unfamiliar. To help you feel more comfortable, keep reading to learn what you can expect as you work with a DUI attorney.
1. Your Attorney Will Defend You, Regardless of Guilt
You may feel embarrassed and ashamed that you have been charged with a DUI. You may feel that a lawyer shouldn't have to or can't possibly defend you because you did do what you are being charged with. You were driving drunk. In reality, that is beside the point. Your DUI attorney's job is to defend you and ensure that even if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, you are only convicted after being given a fair trial. You do deserve a proper defense, even if you are guilty. The US legal system has been designed to allow for this; it is your right.
2. You Can Be Honest With Your Lawyer
You don't have to hide any details of the incident from your lawyer. In fact, you should be as honest as possible with your attorney. The more he or she knows about what really happened, the better the defense that will be formulated on your behalf. Your lawyer will be better prepared for the potential arguments made by the plaintiffs if your lawyer knows the whole story. So open up and share the dirty details as openly as you would with a best friend. Don't worry—your lawyer has heard a lot worse, and it is not their job to judge you.
3. Your Lawyer Will Try to Get the Charges Dropped or Reduced
In many cases, even if you are guilty, your lawyer's primary goal will be to have your charges reduced. For example, they may convince the judge that you only drove drunk because you were depressed or angered due to the divorce you're going through—and that because of this, you deserve to have your charges reduced. The judge may agree to drop the DUI charge if you plead guilty to a lower charge of reckless driving.
Lawyers are not always successful in getting charges dropped, and they will generally be honest with you about the changes of success in your case. Before you even head to court, your lawyer should give you an idea of the possible outcomes. For instance, they may tell you there's about a 75% chance of having your charges being dropped if you agree to 6 months of volunteer work.
4. Your Lawyer Will Do the Talking For You
When you actually go to court, you can expect your lawyer to do most of the talking for you. When the judge asks a question, your lawyer will generally answer the question on your behalf. The only time you will actually have to talk is when you are called to the stand. And your lawyer will go over with you in detail beforehand what is likely to be asked of you on the stand and how you should reply.
Working with a DUI attorney is meant to make the experience of having been charged with a DUI easier on you, not harder. Remember, your attorney defends people in your situation day in and day out. If you have any questions about their process, don't be afraid to ask.