If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence in the State of Nebraska and this is your first offense, you are probably feeling equal parts worried about the outcome of your case and confused about what to do next. If you have no experience with the criminal justice system, simply figuring out how to navigate the system can be overwhelming. One of the first, and most important, decisions you will need to make is whether or not to hire an attorney to represent you. People often make the mistake of thinking that hiring a DUI attorney is not necessary or is a waste of money because the outcome of their case is a foregone conclusion. To prevent you from making the same mistake, considering the following important reasons why you should hire a DUI attorney to represent you.
Navigating the System
As previously mentioned, for someone who has little, or no, experience with the criminal justice system, simply figuring out how to navigate the system can be time consuming, confusing, and potentially problematic. Everything from figuring out to post bond to knowing when to appear for court can be challenging for a first timer. Making matters worse, your lack of knowledge and/or naiveté can have serious negative consequences. For example, did you know that your attorney can request a bond review if the initial bond was set too high for you (or your loved ones) to pay? Are you aware of the consequences if you miss a court date – even if it was an innocent oversight? One of the most valuable advantages to hiring a DUI attorney is having your own tour guide through the criminal justice system.
Protecting Your Rights
As you are undoubtedly aware, you have a number of important rights that are guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution. Those rights can only help you, however, if you understand what they are and you know when and how to exert them. For instance, you probably know about your right to remain silent; however, what does that really mean? Can you refuse to even speak to the police? Can you change your mind halfway through a conversation? When does the right actually attach? When you have a DUI attorney on your side you don’t have to worry about knowing the answers to those questions because your attorney will make sure your rights are protected.
Recognizing a Defense
Both the arresting officer and the prosecuting attorney will likely make it sound as though a conviction is a foregone conclusion in your case, particularly if you submitted to a chemical test and the results were over the legal limit and/or indicated the presence of a controlled substance in your system. While they would like you to believe that, the truth is that you may have a defense that can prevent a conviction. An experienced Nebraska DUI attorney will analyze the facts of your case and find that defense if there is one.
Negotiating a Plea Agreement
If it turns out that a conviction is, indeed, inevitable, your best option is likely going to be to enter into a plea agreement with the State. Contrary to popular belief, all plea agreements are not the same. Many of the terms in a plea agreement are negotiable which is yet another reason you need an experienced DUI attorney on your side.
Going to Trial
If you do have a viable defense, taking your case to trial may be your best option. In that case, you clearly need an experienced DUI attorney to defend you at trial. Before you get to that point, however, you need an attorney to help you decide if a trial is worth the risk and if it is, whether a bench trial (trial by judge) or a jury trial is the best route to take. Finally, if you are convicted at trial, your DUI attorney can still fight for you at your sentencing by trying to get the judge to hand down the most favorable sentence possible.
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 Cass County DUI attorney.