Many people tend to underestimate the gravity of what they consider to be minor criminal charges. After all, they reason, this is just a DUI and nobody got hurt. They feel finding and retaining a highly qualified defense attorney could be a waste of time and money.
This line of thinking can ultimately land you in more trouble than you think. A conviction can have many ramifications most people do not know to anticipate.
The case against you may not be as good as you think
Some people believe they should not invest in fighting DUI charges because they think the prosecutor has a strong case against them. However, serious legal expertise is necessary to accurately assess the weight of the evidence in a particular case.
People often assume that failing a chemical test or a field sobriety test is enough for a conviction. Experienced attorneys know the various ways in which these tests may yield incorrect results. A consultation can help you better understand what your options are.
Underestimating the consequences
In other cases, people see a low potential penalty and think it is easier to just pay the fine than to go through various legal procedures and maybe even a trial. However, even a first-time DUI may turn out to be more than “just” a fine. Penalties may include jail time of up to six months and license suspension. Both of these can significantly disrupt your personal life, employment or schooling.
In addition to the legal penalties, the collateral consequences of a conviction can continue to haunt you for many years. You may miss out on opportunities for employment, education and housing; licensed professionals may have to report the arrest to their boards and potentially face discipline. In the event of any future charges, penalties may be harsher and prosecutors may feel less inclined to offer favorable deals. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a criminal record may also affect your status.
Discuss your case with a reputable lawyer
Trying to handle your DUI case on your own is generally penny wise and pound foolish, creating far more problems than it solves. A strong defense attorney can explain your situation clearly and propose the course of action that would be best for you.