Were you recently charged with driving under the influence in the State of Nebraska for the first time? If so, you are undoubtedly worried about how the outcome of your case will impact every aspect of your life from your career to your family life. While these concerns are certainly understandable, you need to focus on damage control at this point. That starts with retaining the services of an experienced Nebraska DUI lawyer. Because you have never needed a DUI lawyer before though, you probably are not sure what to expect from your Nebraska DUI lawyer.
What Should My DUI Lawyer Do for Me?
While every attorney-client relationship and every criminal prosecution is unique, there are a few common things that you should be able to expect from your DUI attorney during his or her representation of you throughout the prosecution of your case. Those things include:
- Information and Guidance – if you have never been arrested before, the entire criminal justice system is a new experienced for you. The sum total of what you know about the prosecution of a criminal case has likely been learned from watching television shows and/or reading books. Unfortunately, the way the criminal justice system is portrayed in books and movies is far from accurate, so assume you are starting from scratch. Your DUI lawyer should explain your situation to you, including details about your charges and the possible penalties if you are convicted. He or she should also provide you with a general outline of what will happen as your case progresses through the legal system. Finally, your attorney should guide you through each step in the prosecution of your case so that you don’t feel alone and confused.
- Protecting Your Rights – as an accused in a criminal case you have a number of rights that are guaranteed to you by the U.S Constitution as well as the Nebraska State Constitution. Those rights are intended to protect you; however, they can only do this if you know they exist and you know when to exercise them. You can expect your DUI lawyer to explain your rights to you and make sure you exercise your rights at appropriate times.
- Acting as Your Voice – once you are represented by an attorney, questioning by the police must stop. Likewise, the prosecuting attorney must go through your attorney with information or requests once you are represented. In essence, your attorney becomes your voice in the criminal justice system.
- Advice and Direction – during the prosecution of your case there will be a number of decisions you need to make. Your attorney does not make these decisions for you but should provide you with advice and guidance when they need to be made. For instance, if a plea agreement is offered to you, only you can decide whether or not to accept the agreement; however, your DUI lawyer should offer you his/her advice as to whether it is a favorable agreement. Likewise, the decision to take your case to trial is a decision only you can make; however, it should only be made after conferring with your attorney.
- Preparing a Defense – finally, we get to what most people think is the primary job of a criminal defense attorney – preparing a defense. Yes, you should expect your DUI lawyer to prepare a defense in your case; however, as you can see, defending you at trial is hardly the only job your attorney has during the prosecution of your case.
- Mitigating damages – if you do go to trial and are convicted, you should expect your DUI lawyer to try and mitigate the damage by arguing for leniency in sentencing. The evidence and argument your attorney presents at your sentencing can, and often does, make a significant difference in the sentence you receive from the judge.
Now that you have a better idea of what you should expect from your Nebraska DUI lawyer, you should feel just a little bit less intimidated by the entire criminal justice system and a bit more prepared for what lies ahead.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in Nebraska contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.