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Do You Need A Defense Attorney For Drunk Driving Charges?
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Drunk driving is actually a broad term that refers to specific charges such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or even Driving Under the Influence with Marijuana. If you have been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, it's time to think about hiring a skilled defense attorney.
It's important to keep in mind that some Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers will tell you a defense lawyer is required in absolutely all drunk driving charges, but this may not be true. Whether you need to hire a defense lawyer will depend on many things.
Are You Going to Plead Guilty?
If you plan to plead guilty, you do not need to hire a defense lawyer. You will also not need a lawyer if it is your first offense, no one was hurt and you have a very high chance of being convicted, as there is nothing they can do here.
There are two main situations in which you will likely end up pleading guilty: irrefutable evidence you were intoxicated and a high blood alcohol content (BAC). If your mandatory blood test or breath test put you well over 0.08 BAC, there is a very high chance of conviction. If a police officer or witness testifies you were intoxicated and field sobriety tests back up their testimony, you will most likely be convicted, even if your test shows a BAC under 0.08.
When Do I Need a Defense Lawyer?
A skilled Broward criminal lawyer becomes much more helpful as the uncertainty in your case increases. That's because plea bargaining is more possible in these cases. If your blood or breath test showed a BAC under 0.09, or field tests were inconclusive and police officers saw no obvious behavior of intoxication, the prosecutor may be more willing to reduce your charges, possibly to reckless driving. A Broward criminal lawyer can help you in negotiating your case and possibly getting your charges reduced.
Hire an Attorney if You Go to Trial
You have the legal right to represent yourself in any case that goes to trial, but it's not usually a good idea. If your drunk driving case goes to trial, you will want an experienced trial defense attorney by your side. Most of these cases will involve expert witnesses, often times the officer because many receive additional training in this area. Still, there are very few police officers prepared to testify about the machine that determines your BAC or the scientific effect of that precise amount of alcohol on your body. A very good Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer may be able to use this to create reasonable doubt in your case.
If you aren't sure if your case warrants the help of a defense lawyer, ere on the side of caution. A lawyer will help you understand Florida laws about DUI offenses and may even get your charges reduced in some cases.
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