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What can a DUI lawyer do for you? An experienced attorney can do many things well that most DUI defendants would struggle to do passably.
And we aren't talking about mundane things like changing the oil in your car. In a DUI case, your freedom could be on the line.
To press this point further, here are five things a DUI lawyer can do that you probably can't do (or wouldn't know how to do) on your own:
1. Advise You to Keep Quiet When It Counts.
One of the perks of having someone represent you other than yourself is that a good DUI attorney can tell you when to keep your mouth shut. A competent DUI lawyer may also advise you against taking the stand in your own defense, which may open you up to being grilled by prosecutors.
2. Know the Local Courts Inside and Out.
Unless you spend a lot of time in and out of criminal court -- and we hope you don't -- a local DUI attorney will be much more familiar and experienced in the courtroom than you. And though your DUI attorney may not face a judge as much as a public defender might, you can choose an attorney who has a comfortable amount of experience with local judges, juries, and local rules of court.
3. Keep Track of Legal Deadlines, Filings.
Many steps in a DUI case have deadlines which may elude you. For example, if you fail to request police dashcam footage in time, then key evidence of possible police misconduct may be near impossible to get. There may be any number of motions that need to be filed in your DUI case, and your attorney is equipped to submit these filings before their deadlines.
4. Negotiate With Tough Prosecutors.
DUI attorneys work with local prosecutors often to hammer out plea bargains or alternatives to jail for drunken driving offenders. These attorneys have years of goodwill, trust, and negotiating know-how that you lack. Many prosecutors in practice will not even attempt to negotiate with a defendant representing him or herself.
5. Help to Expunge Your Conviction.
Even if you have a conviction, a DUI attorney can potentially help you get the conviction expunged so that it will not affect your credit or future employment. Expungement procedures are incredibly specific to state and local courts, and an experienced attorney will know how to navigate them.
If you're still on the fence about hiring a DUI lawyer, consider this: Many DUI attorneys offer free consultations. Just click on FindLaw's DUI Lawyer Directory to find one near you.