A DUI charge can be an extremely stressful experience. Your reputation, career and even freedom may be on the line. You may think that you need to hire an attorney by the time your trial date arrives. In fact, to mount the best defense that you possibly can, your best bet is to hire a DUI lawyer immediately. Here’s why it’s important to retain an attorney immediately after being charged with DUI:
Immediately after you’re arrested for DUI, you’re usually placed in jail. You’ll likely have a court appearance where you’ll be released on bond. The court may allow you to be released from jail while you await your court date. However, your release may come with conditions.
Typical conditions of bond include coming to future court appearances and keeping the court informed about changes in your address and phone number. However, other conditions may be more complicated such as a condition that you refrain from consuming alcohol during your bond. You also likely need to deposit some money in order to remain free while you await future dates in court.
Having an attorney on your side can help you ensure that these bond conditions are reasonable and fair from the beginning. If you need to change bond conditions so that you can comply with them while you continue to work or take care of family, your attorney can help you make the request without seeming unreasonable to the judge or coming across like you’re not taking the case seriously. The right bond conditions can allow you to focus on building your case rather than being distracted by trying to comply with a list of bond conditions that you don’t understand or that are unreasonable for you to follow.
The Secretary of State may suspend a driver’s license if the person refuses to take a chemical test. When the police arrest you for drunk driving, the law requires you to take a chemical test at the request of the police officer. Most often, this is a breath test at the police station. The police should inform you of your chemical test rights before you take the test. The information that they give you should include a warning about losing your license if you refuse to take the test.
If you refuse the test, you may lose your driver’s license. The suspension may last as long as a year. However, you have a right to contest the suspension. In order to have a hearing on the suspension, you have to quickly make the request for a hearing. The proceedings regarding the implied consent refusal are handled completely separately from the court proceedings, and you don’t get a hearing unless you specifically ask for it.
The court doesn’t have the authority to override the Secretary of State’s decision to suspend your license. Hiring an attorney immediately after you’re charged can be crucial to making sure that you make a timely request for a hearing. Your attorney can review your case in order to determine whether you refused the chemical test. If you did, they can help you fight the suspension.
It’s important to retain an attorney right after you’re charged because your attorney can get to work immediately to save evidence. There are various types of evidence that may be lost when time passes after your arrest. Some of the evidence is tangible evidence like videos. Other pieces of evidence are intangible like the memories of witnesses.
The police may have cameras that record on their dashboards while they’re on patrol. They may also wear body cameras. Often times, the police don’t save these videos for a long period of time. If you have an attorney on your side right away, they can make the appropriate demand for law enforcement to save this evidence. If law enforcement disposes of evidence that your lawyer has demanded, the court may not look favorably on their actions.
Your attorney can also contact witnesses. A witness may be more eager to talk shortly after the case. An attorney can approach witnesses quickly to gather their contact information and ask them questions about their observations.
The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner their experience can go to work for you. At each stage in the case, you have an opportunity to build your defense. They can help you navigate everything from demanding evidence to ensuring that you know how to comply with your bond conditions. Hiring an attorney right away makes sure that you leave no stone unturned as you try to reach the best possible result in your case and make the legal process as manageable as possible.