It was pretty stupid, getting behind the wheel after drinking. It's bad enough when a layperson does it, but you're a lawyer -- you know the penalties and you have more at stake.
Fair enough. We came to help Caesar, not to lecture him. Here are a few things you'll need to think about now:
Basic Criminal Penalties
These should be familiar to you, even if you don't practice DUI defense. Though punishments vary by state, first-timers typically walk away with probation and a fine, though depending on the level of intoxication, and whether any people or property were damaged, jail time may be required as well. No need to mention that for loss of life or other types of felony DUI, the repercussions are enormous. We won't even assume that you are foolish and unlucky enough to be facing that.
Driver's License, Ignition Interlock Device
Again, speaking generically due to state-by-state variances, you're probably looking at a license suspension. This is going to wreak havoc on your professional life if you have frequent court dates and out-of-office meetings. You'll probably want to locate a paralegal or associate who has mastered the art of discretion to chauffer you during the suspension.
Speaking of embarrassment, even as a first-timer, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicles. California already requires it (in certain counties), Pennsylvania was recently debating it, and the National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly pushed for it. Again, for the sake of appearances, you'll want to have an associate drive his or her car -- clients and staff won't be impressed otherwise.
Does your state require reporting of misdemeanor offenses? Probably. And while discipline is unlikely for a first-timer, especially one with a clean record, if you are building a rap sheet, or are charged with a felony DUI offense, you could be looking at a temporary or permanent suspension of your license to practice law.
You could represent yourself, but there's a long-standing and wise saying about a lawyer who represents himself having a fool for a client. So, you'll have to find a defense attorney, and if your case is really serious, an attorney that specializes in dealing with professional misconduct and bar discipline.
And don't even think about having a friend represent you. Seriously, it's a bad idea.
If you are facing a DUI and you don't want to be proverbial fool who has himself for a client, then you might want to seek a second opinion. Head to our lawyer directory to find a list of DUI lawyers in your area.
- Drunk Lawyer Hits on Cabbie. You Won't Believe What Happened Next! (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Why Is a Firm With Dozens of Lawyers Seeking Unpaid Labor? (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Ethics 101: This, Folks, is Why We Don't Diddle Our Clients (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)