If in the course of a traffic stop the police decide that you are showing signs of impairment, you could be charged with DUI. Unlike other traffic infractions, a DUI charge is a criminal penalty that could lead to jail time and a loss of your driving privileges. Therefore, a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles could be beneficial as your case goes through the legal process.
You Are Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty
It is important to understand that a criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. The charge merely represents the fact that the police officer who interacted with you felt that you were a danger to yourself and others on the road. You will still get your day in court to explain what happened at the time of the stop and why you are not guilty of the charge. Your lawyer understands the law and will know if the officer made any mistakes or otherwise violated your rights in a manner that could get your charge dropped.
An Attorney May Help You Negotiate a Plea
It may be possible for your attorney to help negotiate a plea deal on your behalf. For a first-time offender, this may mean that you attend traffic school instead of lose your license or spend time on probation instead of in jail. While you are required to plead guilty if a plea deal is agreed to, the judge in your case may allow the charge to be expunged if you stay out of trouble for a certain period of time. A plea deal may even allow you to plea to lesser charges, which means that you won’t have to tell future employers that you have been been involved in a DUI case when you apply for work.
Your Attorney May Get the Charge Dropped Entirely
If there is no compelling evidence that you were impaired at the time of a traffic stop, it could be possible to have your charge dismissed. For instance, it may be possible to prove that the traffic stop that led to the charge was not legal or that you were stopped at an illegal checkpoint. Police officers who make errors while conducting a blood or breath test or make errors while handling the test could be cross-examined at your trial. A prosecutor who thinks that evidence is likely to be thrown out may simply drop the charge because it would be harder or impossible to prove without it in a court of law.
You Should Never Handle Your Own Case
While you may have the right to handle your own defense, this is rarely a good idea. Even if you have legal experience or have been in a courtroom before, you are too close to the case to try it from a legal perspective. You may make mistakes presenting evidence or questioning witnesses that a judge may not have time or patience for. These mistakes could cost you your ability to drive, your freedom and your ability to earn a living in the future. Instead of taking that gamble, it is always better and generally less expensive to hire a professional to handle your case.
Although it is always better to refrain from driving after having too much to drink, you shouldn’t have to fend for yourself if you are charged with DUI. A DUI lawyer may be able to help you get the charge dropped or negotiate a favorable plea deal in your case. This may enable you to stay out of jail, keep your license and allow you to move on without a conviction on your record for the rest of your life.