DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. In California, there are two types. You can be arrested for DUI if your blood-alcohol level is .08% or more. This is known as per se DUI. You can also be arrested for the offense if an officer stops you and has reason to believe by observing you that you are under the influence. If you are arrested, it is crucial that you retain a DUI attorney to represent your best interests.
Why You Need a DUI Attorney
Not only are the laws regarding driving under the influence very strict in California, but they can be complicated for someone who is not experienced in dealing with legal matters. If you do not have an experienced DUI attorney, you could end up with a long jail sentence as well as losing your driver’s license, your job, and have to pay hefty fines.
Getting a Reduced Sentence
Attorneys are also very experienced when it comes to plea bargaining for lesser sentences. If it is a first offense, you may be able to avoid going to jail with the help of a DUI attorney. Many times skilled lawyers negotiate with prosecutors for a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. This is not something you can do on your own. The services of an experienced DUI attorney are needed for this complicated process.
Getting the Charges Dropped
A DUI attorney may be able to get the charges dropped depending on the circumstances. Even if your blood alcohol level is .08 or above, it can be argued that the reading was not correct. There have been several instances when the tests were not accurate. DUI attorneys know how to analyze these tests and challenge the results.
Sobriety tests given in the field are not always accurate, and this could be grounds for getting the charges against you dropped. Many times a breathalyzer test is given as well as a field sobriety test. This includes balancing on one foot, walking a straight line, and following a moving object with only your eyes. However, there are many people who have not consumed alcohol or drugs that cannot balance on one foot or walk a straight line. Breathalyzers also must be legally certified and maintenance records kept up to date. Both of these can be situations where the help of a DUI attorney can be invaluable.
Multiple DUI Charges
The advice of a lawyer is definitely needed if it is a second offense DUI. The laws get stricter when you are charged with this offense multiple times. You may be considering pleading guilty, thinking that there is nothing you can do, but you should never do so without consulting an attorney. Even if you have another DUI on your record, it is possible that a skilled DUI attorney can negotiate a lighter sentence, so you need to contact one as soon as possible to help with your defense.
Regardless of whether this is your first DUI charge, you have had a previous DUI, or refused to take the breathalyzer or field sobriety test, you should consult with a DUI attorney to protect your rights.