Frequently Asked Questions regarding DUI

November 15, 2010

Q. Why should I see an attorney about my DUI?
A. A DUI is a felony or misdemeanor, not just a traffic ticket. If you are convicted of DUI, there are mandatory legal penalties. Your driver’s license is automatically suspended unless you fight, and your insurance rates may skyrocket. If you hold a professional license, the conviction must usually be reported to the licensing agency. In short, you have a lot to lose. So it makes good sense to see if you can defend yourself against these charges.

Q. What should I look for in a defense attorney?
A. Most attorneys do not practice criminal law; you need an attorney who specializes in DUI to defend your rights. When you are looking for a criminal attorney, you should evaluate the initial interview carefully. You should feel comfortable with the attorney and confident in his or her ability to handle this type of case. When you have questions, make sure they are answered to your satisfaction. Some firms use paralegals and marketing representatives to interview clients. Be sure you talk directly with a competent criminal defense attorney.

Q. Could I represent myself in court or before the DMV?
A. Do-it-yourself legal work doesn’t make much sense. DUI is a criminal matter and there are stiff penalties, particularly if your case is mishandled. Take it seriously.

Q. What if I can’t, or don’t want to, appear in court?
A. Your attorney can appear for you in court in most cases. You don’t have to be present.

Q. Can I discuss my case with family members, friends, or coworkers?
A. No, don’t. If you discuss your arrest with others, they can be called as witnesses by the prosecution. Your attorney can’t be a witness against you, and everything you tell your attorney, with rare exception, is confidential. Telling people about your arrest can damage your reputation, upset your loved ones, and may jeopardize your job. You should discuss your case only with your lawyer.

Q. Can you guarantee results?

A. Beware of any attorney who guarantees results. Such aggressive advertising is almost always misleading, replete with half-truths, and unbecoming of the legal profession. In the law, as in most areas of life, absolute certainty does not exist. However, the best results in any case always come from a good professional relationship with a competent attorney.

Q. Can I get my driver’s license back?
A. Possibly. Each case has its own special facts, and there are valid legal defenses that can be used at your DMV hearing to protect your driving privileges. One or more defenses may be present in your case.

Q. What is the DMV hearing about?

A. The DMV has the right to suspend or revoke your driving privilege if you don’t challenge the action. To do this, the hearing officer decides whether the police officer had a legal right to stop you and a legal right to arrest you. Then, depending on the test you took, they also decide whether your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. Hearings for test refusal cases are handled in much the same way.