If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), you can expect to see your case proceed to criminal court. What happens after that varies dramatically based on a number of factors, including whether you are represented by an attorney during the process. While hiring a lawyer may seem unnecessary in some DWI cases, there are more than a few things that a DWI attorney can do to improve your case. Take a look at just three of the biggest ones below.
A DWI charge should not be taken lightly. Prosecuting attorneys may be eager to impose substantial fines and harsh penalties, including jail time, for those who drive under the influence. Without any representation in court, it is difficult to know the range of penalties, and if your sentence is too severe compared to similar cases. An experienced attorney, on the other hand, can work to reduce particularly unfair penalties by providing legal context and precedent. While attorneys can't automatically make charges disappear, they can certainly argue on your behalf to get the best possible outcome.
Reviewing a Plea Deal
Don't be caught off guard if a prosecutor offers you a boilerplate plea deal at the outset of your case. In states where court systems are overwhelmed and annual DWI cases number in the thousands, there will be little time for prosecutors to pore over the details of each and every incident. While a plea deal may be perfectly agreeable to you, there are many instances in which having an attorney present to review the deal is hugely beneficial. For instance, if you have what you feel are viable defenses that may result in the DWI charge being dismissed or reduced, an attorney can advise you going forward.
Challenging the Charge
In many cases, defendants may not even know that they can challenge their DWI charge at all. The reality, however, is that defendants may have several avenues of recourse available to them. Attorneys may present challenges to the chemical tests administered at the time of the incident, arguing that a flawed measurement or procedure resulted in a false arrest. They may also be able to bring in unbiased witnesses who can present a different point of view. In extreme cases, attorneys may even challenge the basis of the arresting officer's testimony. All of these challenges are highly unlikely to be successful without a legal expert behind them.