Getting charged with a DUI can seem like the end of the world. Especially if you had never been pulled over before.
But there’s hope.
With the right representation in court, you’ll be able to handle your DUI charge and start taking the necessary steps to get your license back.
But the right representation means the right lawyer and they are not always easy to find. That’s why we’ve gathered some tips on how to handle your DUI charge and find the best lawyer to help you do that.
Read on for more helpful advice.
Document Everything After Getting Charged with a DUI
The first thing you’ll want to do after getting charged with a DUI is to document everything about when it happened.
Take out a sheet of paper and write every single detail you can remember. This includes:
- Where you were
- What time it was
- How the officer stopped you
- The officer’s name and badge number
This information may be useful to your lawyer in helping make your case. If there were any witnesses around during the time, see if you can get in touch with them. Ask if they would write down their testimony so you will have that information as well.
Also, consider what not to document. Don’t post about getting charged with a DUI or the incident on the internet or social media. Switch all your accounts to private so that prosecutors can’t search for information that may incriminate you.
Request a Hearing
Depending on how you were issued a DUI, you will only have a certain number of days to do this. Usually, the number is 10 days or less after the date under the “Notice of Revocation.”
To request this hearing you’ll have to go to the DMV. If you cannot make it during your time you may be able to request one through fax or the mail. When you make the request you will need to have all of the paperwork that was given to you by the officer.
At this time you will need to hand over your license but you will be issued a temporary one for a certain period of time. After your hearing is requested, you will hear back on when it was scheduled for within 60 days.
Look for a Lawyer
Next, you will need to find someone to represent you. Give yourself a lot of time to do this as you will want someone who you are comfortable with since you will be paying them.
Ask around your area for lawyers who have a good reputation. Go to friends or family members to ask if they know any trustworthy lawyers as well.
If you don’t really know where to start there are resources available to you. You can look up organizations such as the state bar association for lawyers that they recommend. Research the different legal associations in your area and ask them for recommendations as well.
Check Their Qualifications
Once you have gathered a few names you’ll want to start checking their qualifications. Ask to see the lawyer’s license, as this will be a good beginning check to see if they are even qualified to handle cases at all.
Ask the lawyers if they have any experience with DUI cases or training. As your case can be very different from cases involving personal injury or car accidents. You’ll want someone who has already gone through the notions of these cases and knows them by heart.
Look for a lawyer that is local, as they will be most familiar with the court processes in your specific county. They won’t need to do extra work looking into it.
Search for any information on the lawyer’s ethical record. As this can determine how credible and trustworthy they are. A red flag would definitely be a lawyer that was disbarred, which means they have had their law license revoked.
Consider Your Budget
It’s important you consider how much money you have to spend before you hire a lawyer. Once the process gets started, expenses can start to pile up.
When you find a lawyer you want to hire, take time to negotiate expenses to ensure you’re getting the best rates for your case.
Ask for the number of attorney fees you will have as well as how much the lawyer charges hourly. Look into the court fees that you will need to pay for the DUI as well. Lastly, ask your lawyer if they offer payment plans for the fees.
Find out who will be working on your case during this consultation. As different legal professionals will charge different rates.
Set Up a Consultation
During this consultation, you’ll be able to talk to the lawyer about what their thoughts are on your case and what you should expect. Make sure to ask them what their approach would be in court.
Bring all the documentation you have to the consultation. This includes any documents given to you by the police officer or by the court. If you have any questions that the lawyer cannot answer right after ask when they will be able to get back to you.
Use this meeting to really determine if they are the right one for you. Don’t ask questions that are too complex at this time.
Listen to Your Lawyer
Listening to what your lawyer advises you on is extremely important. If you have never gone to court before this experience may be confusing and frightening. But it is so important to do as your lawyer advises.
They will most likely have years of experience navigating the legal system and will know the best strategy to take. If you were to do something against your lawyer’s advice you may make your situation worse.
Learn the Terminology
In order to understand the conversations that will be happening with you and around you you’ll want to know the terminology.
Here are a few key terms and what they mean:
- Plea Deal: an agreement between the prosecutor and defendant on how they will plea
- Arraignment: where the court will read the charges and the defendant will enter a plea
- Motion: when you make a proposal to the court
- Disposition: the judges ruling
- DUI: Driving Under the Influence
- OWI: Operating While Intoxicated
- OUI: Operating Under the Influence
DUI, OWI, and OUI are usually used interchangeably when you are charged with a DUI.
More on Legal Cases
Getting charged with a DUI can be frightening, especially if you’ve never been pulled over before.
Finding a lawyer that is experienced can help take a lot of the weight off your shoulders.
For more information on legal cases and legal advice, check out our blog.