According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 1.5 million people are arrested in a given year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are a part of this statistic, then you should consider hiring a DUI lawyer.
A DUI charge is no joke, so seeking legal help is never a bad idea. Read on to learn more about how a DUI attorney can help you.
An Overview of Georgia’s DUI Laws
In the state of Georgia, your first DUI offense comes with a minimum fine of $300 and can land you in jail for up to one year. A second offense gets your license suspended, a minimum $600 charge, and a mandatory 48 hours in jail with a possibility of extension to 90 days to a year.
Your third offense comes with a five-year license suspension, a minimum $1,000 charge, and a mandatory 15 days of jail time. You will also have your name, photo, and address published in the newspaper.
All DUI offenses in Georgia come with some sort of community service. You may also have to complete a clinical evaluation as well as a substance abuse program.
Why Hire a DUI Lawyer?
There are many reasons why hiring a DUI lawyer is a smart idea. This is why you should absolutely hire an attorney for your case.
1. Legal Expertise
DUI attorneys understand the law better than anyone else. DUI laws are complex and can be difficult for the average person to understand. Your lawyer can help you navigate the tricky legal system and make sense of terms you may not know.
By contacting a lawyer, you will be able to better understand your charges as well as your legal options moving forward. Your lawyer can also help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.
2. Save Money
Hiring a lawyer may seem pricey at first, but you will likely save money in the long run. Many people steer clear of attorneys because of the legal fees, but these fees are put to good use.
A DUI lawyer can help you negotiate a shorter trial time and less time in court, which will save you money in the end. All in all, the lawyer fees are nothing compared to what you might pay without legal help.
3. Talk to Law Enforcement
After being charged with a DUI, law enforcement is typically not on your side. They will want to get as much information out of you as possible, which can sometimes incriminate you and impact your case.
A lawyer knows exactly how to deal with law enforcement. They will make sure you don’t answer any questions that could hurt your case and impact your sentence. Make sure you talk with your DUI lawyer before you speak with any type of law enforcement.
4. Court Experience
Many DUI cases go to court, especially if someone has been injured. The victim will be seeking maximum compensation for their injuries and will likely have a lawyer representing them. If they are armed with legal expertise, then you should be too.
A DUI lawyer knows how to handle cases in court, which is important when you are facing serious charges or jail. Your best bet for avoiding jail time is to hire an experienced DUI attorney to represent you in court.
5. Get Your License Back
Many DUI charges lead to a suspended or even revoked license, especially if it is not your first offense. While it is not guaranteed that a lawyer can prevent your license from being taken away, they may be able to advocate for you to get your license back sooner and regain your freedom.
6. Reduced Sentence
If you have been given a guilty verdict, then you are likely facing some sort of jail time. A lawyer can work with the court to negotiate your sentence.
DUI offenses are often very complex, so the amount of jail time served varies from case to case. A knowledgeable attorney understands all of the current laws, regulations, and precedents surrounding DUI cases, and therefore may be able to negotiate a lighter sentence or no jail time at all.
What to Look for When Hiring a DUI Lawyer
Once you have decided to hire a DUI lawyer, you need to know how to choose the best one. These are the steps you should take when seeking legal help.
Ask for Referrals
The first thing you should do is ask your friends and family for referrals. If they have gone through a similar experience, then they may have an attorney to recommend.
If your friends or family do not have recommendations, then you can ask other lawyers or attorneys you may know. Even if they don’t work with DUI cases, they may know someone who does.
If you don’t get any suggestions from people you know, then it’s time to move to the internet. Search for DUI lawyers in your area and check Google reviews. Also, take a look at the website and search for statistics such as how long they have been in business, their success rate, and how many cases they have handled.
Meet With Attorneys and Ask Questions
Once you have a list of attorneys, choose a few of your favorites and meet with them. Many lawyers will give you a free consultation to ask questions and see if they are a good fit for you.
Ask your potential attorney these questions:
- Do you specialize in DUI law?
- How many DUI cases have you defended (and how many have you won)?
- For how many years have you practiced DUI law?
- What percentage of your DUI cases go to trial?
- How do you think you can help me?
Asking these questions will help you get a better idea of whether a lawyer is qualified to handle your case.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer Today
If you are ready to hire a DUI lawyer, then look no further than Cook and Toley. Our experienced lawyers are here to help you every step of the way. Feel free to contact us today to request a consultation.
Cook & Tolley, LLP
304 E Washington St
Athens, GA 30601