Being arrested for a DUI or other criminal offense is a painful and dramatic experience. For most people, it is one of the worst experiences of their life. Regardless of guilt or innocence, the loss of your personal freedom, being taken away in handcuffs in the back seat of a police car is nothing short of awful.
As the days go by after one’s arrest, people start to realize that unfortunately that’s not the end of their legal problem. The common feeling of confusion mixed with fear of the unknown, starts to set in. What should I do? Who should I call? Do I need an attorney? Where do I find an attorney? Can I afford an attorney? Can an attorney help me?. These legitimate questions and concerns begin the process of figuring out what is the best decision for me to each of these questions.
Being arrested for a DUI or Criminal offense should be distinguished from the more common experience that drivers have of getting a moving violation or traffic ticket. The major difference between these two types of cases is that a traffic ticket is a simple infraction. The only punishment is paying a monetary fine. There is no possibility that one can lose their freedom and serve time in jail.
A DUI or other criminal offense is substantially more serious, because it is either a misdemeanor or felony. Both of these categories of offenses carry with it not only monetary fines, but a chance of potential jail time, if convicted. Getting arrested is certainly much worse than signing a traffic ticket.
Hiring an attorney is the most important decision one can make when faced with a serious legal problem. The obvious reason is that the legal system is complicated, and laden with numerous options which can be negotiated to your benefit with the prosecutor and/or judge. An attorney is your advocate. Lawyers are trained and specialize in the type of problem that you face and have very often had years of experience representing clients just like you and your circumstances. Although not a free pass, having a skilled and experienced courtroom lawyer can navigate the treacherous waters of the legal system to your benefit.
An attorney can change the perception of the judge or prosecutor by bringing out all of the favorable information about your background, family, good work history, church affiliation, and any other positive attributes which make you shine.
Anyone who has been arrested should immediately consult with an attorney experienced with handling the type of legal problem that you are faced with. You should question the attorney as to his experience in handling this type of matter, and his familiarity with the Court were your case is being heard.
Many established law firms, like Hoffman and Associates, offer potential clients a complementary case evaluation. At this consultation, the attorney will review the facts of your case and advise you on the legal defenses and other options available to you. The attorney will tell you whether he feels that you have legal or technical defenses to obtain a dismissal or plea bargain reducing the charges or potential penalties.
Getting an attorney involved early, will guarantee that you will not miss any legal deadlines, or other opportunities to protect yourself against any harsh potential penalties if you are found guilty. It is always valuable to know your options.