Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a DUI in Michigan?
Drinking and driving convictions can carry harsh penalties in the state of Michigan and can have serious and devastating consequences for individuals and families. Punishment for conviction, depending on the circumstances, may include fines, education and treatment assessment, a criminal record, and possible jail time. Moreover, social stigma and current or future employment issues serve as an added burden in DUI cases. In addition, a DUI conviction, whether a felony or misdemeanor, is never cleared from your record and may affect your life in ways you had never imagined, impacting a child custody dispute or your ability to travel abroad.
What Can a DUI Attorney Do for Me?
A DUI attorney with significant experience representing individuals facing DUI charges knows the ins and outs of the court and criminal justice system.
1. You Have Rights
Regardless of whether you are guilty of the offense, there are rights that you are entitled to. Law enforcement officers have a protocol that they must follow. For instances, they must have probable cause before they can pull you over. If the officer did not have a valid reason to stop you, then any evidence obtained, including the results of a breathalizer test, is inadmissible to prove your guilt. In addition, if an arrest is made, you are entitled to Miranda warnings, which means that an officer must inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Failure to do so may be grounds for dismissal.
2. Mistakes Happen
A breathalizer is a complex device that can malfunction or be improperly used. In addition, blood and breath tests can be contaminated, reflecting inaccurate results. Police procedure may not have been followed or evidence may have been mishandled. In any case, a qualified DUI attorney may be able to cast doubt on the evidence presented in your case, and even a minor mistake may mean an acquittal for you.
3. Plan Your Defense
With the help of an attorney, you can prepare a solid defense for your case if it goes to trial. You have to be proven guilty in order to be convicted, and a competent attorney can help you take advantage of any defenses that may be available under Michigan DUI law, including defenses based on improper criminal procedure, such as the conduct of an officer or the way in which evidence was obtained. The right defense may ensure a favorable outcome in your case and help you get on with your life.
4. The Plea Bargain
Even if the charges are not dismissed, it is possible that an experienced attorney who is familiar with Michigan law and the local court system may be able to help lessen your penalties or sentence. An attorney well-versed in DUI defense likely has information and experience that will prove valuable in reaching a plea bargain with prosecution or in arranging for community service in place of fines or jail time.
Dealing with the Fallout
In the unfortunate event that you are convicted of either a felony or misdemeanor offense in your DUI case, a qualified DUI attorney can help you to handle any situations that arise after your conviction. For example, in Michigan, you may qualify for a restricted or occupational license if your license was revoked or suspended following your DUI. An attorney can help explain the process, obtain the restricted license, and help ensure you comply with the restrictions.
Each case is different and an attorney can help you understand the charges you are facing and the potential fines and penalties that may be imposed. Whether or not to hire an attorney is a personal choice, which will depend upon your unique situation. If this is not your first offense or if there are further complications in your case involving reckless driving, an accident, or death, it is highly advisable that you seek competent legal representation. Facing the system alone is a daunting task, particularly when there is a lot at stake.
Superior Legal Representation
Attorney Patrick Chatterton has over 20 years of experience representing individuals facing DUI convictions. He has a commanding presence in the courtroom and is renowned for being a tough and effective advocate on behalf of his clients, demanding the rights to which they are entitled. Contact our office today, and be assured that your case is handled with the competence, skill, and diligence you deserve.