Driving while intoxicated, or more commonly known as DWI, is regarded as highly dangerous and is illegal. If you violated any of the laws regarding DWI, then expect fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, among many other penalties that can be imposed on you. But the costs of a DWI can be mitigated with the help of an experienced DWI attorney.
What Are the Penalties When Caught in a DWI?
Penalties for violating DUI vs DWI laws differ from one state to another. However, the common set of penalties for offenders are:
The biggest chunk of the penalty is monetary. Aside from fines, you will be paying for court costs, DWI defense attorney fees, and expenses for programs and other requirements that you need to get like substance abuse treatment and ignition interlock devices.
After paying the penalty, getting back on the road is not automatic. You have to pay for fees to reinstate your license.
Suspension or revocation of license
After monetary costs, the next obvious penalty of a DWI is the suspension or revocation of license. The duration of the suspension will depend on the laws of the state you are in, the degree or number of offenses and the ability of your DWI attorney.
Sometimes, in lieu of jail time, community service is imposed.
Limited driving privileges
When suspension or revocation of license is not yet warranted, the law imposes limitation on the privilege of the driving instead. One example is the use of an ignition interlock device.
Increased car insurance rates.
Because of the risk you pose to the society, part of the penalty is to get a higher insurance coverage. In addition, you might have to file SR 22 for a certain number of years.
The penalties look tedious and if you are a repeat offender, then the above mentioned penalties would be even graver. Luckily, there you can hire a DWI attorney who can help you defend yourself with the end goal of mitigating the penalties or get you acquitted.
What Qualities to Look For in a Good DWI Attorney
Because of the great help that a DWI attorney can give you, it is crucial to get a good one. There are a lot of attorneys out there willing to help a person out of a DWI charge.
It is your task then to determine which one is good for you. Written below are some pointers that you have to go through before searching for the one.
Get a DWI defense attorney who specializes in handling DWI cases
There are a lot of lawyers out there and their experience in handling DWI cases vary. Make sure that whomever you hire is a DWI attorney.
You would want to be with someone who knows the law very well and is an expert in the field. You can ask your potential lawyers what percentage of their practice is dedicated to DWI cases. Also remember that the number of years in the field matters but it is not indispensable. Think quality over quantity.
Choose a hardworking lawyer
It goes without saying but it is a must to be with a lawyer who takes his or her work seriously. Sometimes, mistakes are made when handling DWI cases because the lawyer was lazy or inattentive.
The attorney that you will pick needs to have all the facts about the case, understand and relate to you how the various consequences of a DWI will affect you.
Talk to a DWI attorney with a heart
DWI might not be as grave as other high crimes but still, you need to find an attorney who prioritizes your case and cares for its outcome.
Hire a detail-oriented attorney
Sometimes, the solution that can get you out of a DWI is in the details. Agreements, contracts, and laws have fine prints and loopholes that you can use to your advantage only if your lawyer is keen on the details.
Make the best out of your budget
Choose the best DWI defense attorney within your budget. Do not go too low or too high. It is usually a red flag when a lawyer gives his or her services for a lower price than the average.
It might mean that he or she has no experience yet, among other things. Be wary as well of lawyers who are willing to do everything to get you out of the charge. It might sound good to your ears but if the lawyer is doing something out of the legal bounds, then it might cause more trouble for you than good.
Also, when attorneys break their code of professional conduct, it is usually the clients who end up paying for the transgressions and not the prosecutors.
How to Find a Good DWI Attorney
Now that you have a fair idea of the kind of attorney that you will want to hire, the next step is to actually find and hire one. Go out there and seek the best DWI lawyer for you. As you consider various DWI attorneys for hire, you may want to consider these tips:
Look at the references. First, find out which of your closest friends and relatives already know of a good DWI lawyer. Do not be shy to accept referrals and leads.
Take the time to meet the lawyers you have found. During the first meeting, you should be able to establish the basics like school, experience, and expertise in the field.
Choose a DWI attorney who actually practice in your city or state. When a lawyer is a local, he or she knows the law fairly well and he or she might even know to whom you should go for other requirements.
Do not settle for one lawyer immediately. Talk to at least 5 before making a decision.
Do not be shy to ask for their fees and other expenses that you might incur during the litigation process. It is important to know their rates as these might ultimately affect your decision.