Should people Handle Their DUI Case Themselves?

Washington, DC DUI CASES

Anyone who tries to handle a DUI case themselves is making a huge mistake, because they have absolutely no idea which possible defenses are available to potentially get them a verdict of not guilty. Even if there is plenty of evidence and the kind of case that even a lawyer could not win, the lawyer could at least properly guide the defendant through the process and prepare them to put on their best face for the judge as he was deciding the proper punishment.

People end up with quite different results based on whether or not they have a lawyer. It is a human process, so a lawyer can guide the person to the right judge. There are good judges, bad judges and okay judges in the court system, which means the same person with the same case can possibly end up with two completely different results in front of two different judges.

Why Should Someone Hire A Defense Attorney Instead Of A Public Defender?

Someone who wants to hire a private attorney has a free market available, so they can shop around for the right lawyer who fit their needs and was the right match for them. A good match does not always happen between lawyers and clients, so someone who gets a free lawyer won’t have the opportunity to choose, and that is probably the biggest difference.

Someone who hires a private firm to defend them will have the entire firm’s resources at their disposal. In my firm, we deal with a lot of clients who are not United States citizens. We have an in-house immigration attorney who can give me, the criminal defense attorney, a very thorough review of the immigration consequences of the case, which is not necessarily something someone would have who was assigned a public defender.

All public defenders and private attorneys in criminal defense are required by law to have some familiarity with immigration consequences, although what that means is not exactly set in stone. Most criminal defense attorneys have minimal knowledge about immigration consequences, but I consider myself more familiar than most other attorneys because of the number of cases I have handled that involved immigration issues, only because I am always speaking with the immigration attorney. I know a lot now, but I still always consult him for the right answer, to make sure I am correct; again, that is something a client won’t usually get with a public defender or free lawyer.

Do You Ever Have Clients Who Want To Give Up Or Try To Plead Guilty In A DUI Case?

Absolutely! Some people are very embarrassed and ashamed of what happened because it may be the first time they have ever been in trouble in their lives, and they believe that, by hiring an attorney to look into possible defenses, it will make it seem as if they were not taking responsibility. I guide people through the process and help them understand that nobody will hold it against them to find out what their options are, although ultimately some may try to take responsibility in the form of a guilty plea.

Sometimes that particular person might tell me from day one that they are guilty and embarrassed about what happened and they want to take responsibility, so in that case I will let the judge know that because it’s something that judges take into consideration. My job is to tell the person whether or not I felt there is a chance to fight or win the case and what might happen if we fought and lost, so that any and all of the client’s concerns are addressed.

How Long Does This Whole Process Take In DC When Someone Has An Attorney?

The court hearing will happen about two weeks after arrest and release in DC, so it’s really important to get a lawyer and not wait. Whether out of fear or embarrassment, maybe wishing it had never happened, some people wait too long and do not request the administrative hearing, which has to be scheduled within 10 days, because they think they have nothing to do until they go to court, which is not the case.

The person should start their preparation right away and an attorney will tell them that preparing the best possible result means they should voluntarily get alcohol treatment and education to ultimately be found not guilty or, if they were found guilty, to show the judge the person deserves a fair sentence.Typically, if a judge finds the person guilty of DUI, they’ll order them to do an Alcohol Education Program, a traffic program, or the MADD victim impact panel or other such things, so if the person did all that before they were even found guilty, in many cases, I could convince the judge to put the person on unsupervised probation, meaning no probation officer or additional appointments or being supervised by a government agency, all of which arrested would be in their best interest.

In terms of the timeline, the first arraignment would occur within a couple weeks, where the attorney and the defendant would request a status hearing that would be set three weeks to a month later. If the case is not resolved at the status hearing, a trial date could be set, possibly several more months out. DC is one of the slowest jurisdictions, so the case might not be resolved for up to 10 months from the day the person was arrested.

I had to go back to court eight times during a recent first-offender DUI. We ultimately won the case but it took a lot of time and the client had to take many days off of work and almost lost her job because of it, although we did ultimately get the result we wanted.

For more information on Hiring A Lawyer For A DUI,please call (202) 770-8006 today to schedule a free initial consultation. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.


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