Drunk driving has taken too many lives, and no amount of remorse or justice can undo the damage. Still, having a beer or two with a friend to celebrate the end of another week isn’t such a bad thing either. People get away with it all the time, but you might not be so lucky. Getting caught with high alcohol blood content can result in a fine, jail time, or a revoked license. That’s why you need a DUI lawyer in Syracuse to help you navigate this potentially life-changing mistake.
Here are some questions to ask your DUI lawyer before signing the dotted line.
Question #1: What Experience Do You Have Taking DUI Cases to Trial?
DUI penalties are becoming increasingly severe, and that’s why you need an experienced lawyer on the case. Unfortunately, most law firms will pool seasoned and graduate attorneys together then slap an impressive combined experience for the team. Don’t fall for it.
Ask how many DUI cases the attorney has handled and the average outcome they get. These statistics should give you a rough idea of what to expect. Also, look out for lawyers who try to tell you the number of law firms they’ve worked for instead of the number of actual DUI cases they’ve handled.
Question #2: Do You Have Experience in My Jurisdiction?
By now, you’ve probably noticed experience is a huge deal when choosing a lawyer. But you also need to make sure their expertise is relevant to your jurisdiction. For example, the laws on DUI may be the same state-wide, but there are usually little nuances that are different depending on your location. That’s why getting a locally experienced lawyer is super important.
A local lawyer has an idea of how a particular prosecutor or judge might approach your case. That allows the attorney to predict the outcome more reliably than when dealing with a new set of people.
Question #3: How Will You Investigate My DUI Case?
Usually, the prosecutor presents a police report, witness statement, and a breathalyzer or blood test result. A good attorney should pour over the evidence, trying to find something that indicates a wrongful conviction and hopefully get you leaner punishment. For example, if you only had a couple of beers that came out as a 0.09 instead of a 0.08 on the alcohol blood test, you might get away with just a fine.
Question #4: What Defense Strategy Can Work for My Case?
While it might be hard for the attorney to know what would work for your case right off the bat, an experienced DUI lawyer should have several ideas at the top of their head.
For example, the lawyer may spot a weakness in the case against you. They can explore that loophole and use it to withhold evidence from the court. That might result in a reduced penalty or dismissed charges.
Question #5: What Are the Possible Outcomes?
Knowing the possible outcomes of a DUI case can help you prepare for what’s to come. This is especially important if you caused a fatal accident while intoxicated. Expect to hear a combination of a fine, jail time, mandatory education programs, license suspension, and more.
Generally, first-time offenders get more lenient punishment than repeat offenders. For example, you might get a fine of up to $2,000 for the first offense, while a second offender gets $4,000.
Question #6: What Steps Can I Take to Improve the Outcome of My Case?
Any DUI attorney will tell you to stay away from drunk driving at all costs. The last thing you want is to get caught again while the first DUI case is still pending in court. On top of that, get an ignition interlock device installed on the car voluntarily and demonstrate family responsibilities. That will show the court there’s no need for incarceration as your dependents would suffer unnecessarily.
Question #7: How Long Will My DUI Case Last?
The duration of your case may vary depending on the situation, but most cases take a few months to close. Still, DUI cases tend to move faster through the system to give space for more serious offenses.
If your DUI case goes to trial due to complexities, it might take considerably longer to complete. That’s because you’ll have to give the lawyer time to research and build a strong case in court. Whether the case ends in a plea or trial, the attorney should hold your hand through the ordeal and get the best possible result.