Driving in a state of intoxication is considered a serious offence in every state of the USA. Therefore, the criminal courts deal with the DUI/DWI cases. You are entitled to represent yourself in the court. However, most defendants are represented by a public prosecutor appointed by the court or a private lawyer they hire.
Here is low-down on some important factors you should consider before making up your mind about what kind of representation will suit you most.
A Lawyer’s Opinion
Without any legal training or experience, it is difficult for you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the DWI cases. DWI laws are complicated and constantly evolving. What is more, each DWI case is unique. Therefore, it is better to ask for a lawyer’s help during the legal proceedings.
Most Houston DWI attorneys offer free consultation to their clients. But if you are required to pay a small fee for consultation, it’s worth spending. Submit the police reports and other documents to the lawyer while meeting him for consultation. You may also like to ask him some important questions.
Consultation with an attorney does not necessarily mean that you will hire him. But face-to-face meeting is important to asses if the professional will fit your bill.
Sometimes, You Don’t Need To Hire an Attorney
True it is that sometimes, you may do without a DWI lawyer after being convicted of the charge, especially if it is your first-time offence. Prosecutors usually offer the standard plea deal to the first-time DWI offender and it is usually at the bottom of the first DWI sentence. The ‘standard first DWI’ refers to the cases where the convicted has no record of DWI offenses and his action did not cause accidents and injuries as well as the BAC test does not show a high level of alcohol concentration.
The standard offer is theoretically same, no matter if the defendant is represented by a public prosecutor or a private lawyer. If it is a standard first DWI case, hiring an attorney might not worth your money. It is true in some cases, at least in theory. But practically, the standard offer is often the starting point of a DWI case.
An experienced Houston DWI attorney is able to bring mitigating factors to the prosecutor’s notice or identify weaknesses in the drunk driving case. If the attorney is familiar with the district attorney, judge and local practices, he can negotiate more successfully on the defendant’s behalf.
The defendant should not always jump at the standard offer, especially in the cases where the convicted has strong defences. If the defendant is not represented by an attorney, it is least expected of him to know the defences he/she can exploit. That is why, getting a lawyer’s opinion is important before agreeing to a deal.
Going to a Trial? An Attorney Will Help You
Though self-representation is allowed, it is not a good idea. The learning curve for the lawyers rises upward with valuable experience. Lack of knowledge and expertise in DWI trials will push you in more troubles. The judges give little importance to the self-represented defendants who are not aware of the court rules. The bottom line is you should contact an eminent DWI lawyer to represent you in the court.