If you were arrested for a DUI offense and charged, you need the help of a DUI defense attorney in Charleston. There are several benefits to hiring an attorney for a drunk driving charge. However, most unaware people may choose not to hire an attorney.
Those aware may choose not to hire a DUI lawyer because of legal fees or falsities they’ve heard about lawyers. This article looks at the different ways a lawyer can help you when facing a DUI charge. We also discuss the legal fees of DUI attorneys in Charleston.
Should You Hire a DUI Defense Attorney in Charleston?
If you were arrested and charged with driving under the influence, we recommend you get legal representation. Also, you should do so immediately after your arrest before giving a recorded statement to the police. Once you secure the services of a lawyer, they will do the following for you:
Render Legal Advice
The attorney will guide you through the legal process and try to mitigate the punishment you’ll get. A DUI attorney will also provide legal advice during different stages of your case, ensuring that you have an airtight defense.
One of the legal advice your lawyer will render is that you can maintain your right to remain silent as with other criminal cases. Also, your lawyer will advise on what to say and what to avoid to prevent you from self-incrimination. The latter could jeopardize your entire defense and take away your chances of getting a lesser sentence.
Your DUI lawyer will also advise you on how to deal with your insurance carrier. Apart from the criminal charges faced for driving under the influence, there are consequences from your insurance company. Suppose you were arrested for DUI after a motor vehicle collision. Your auto insurance carrier might try to get you to admit liability in such a case.
They do this to increase your insurance premium and avoid paying for the damages to your vehicle. So, in addition to defending the criminal charge against you, your DUI defense lawyer would advise you on how to handle your insurance carrier. They would first advise against admitting liability, especially if you pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge.
If you admit liability to the insurance company, the prosecution can enter such a statement as an admission of guilt in the criminal case. Therefore, always take the advice rendered by your attorney to avoid complicating your defense.
Navigate the Legal Process
Most people who choose self-representation do so because they believe they will better advocate for themselves. However, while you can represent yourself, you may not be great at it. This is because a lot of the knowledge and skills that DUI lawyers have were not taught in class or read in textbooks.
There are several things lawyers learn on the job that they would never acquire from all the legal books in the world. This is why you should hire an attorney with years of experience. One such knowledge is how to navigate the legal process.
A DUI defense attorney in Charleston knows how the South Carolina justice system works. They equally know the criminal court procedures, which is advantageous to you. Therefore, it is always best to have a lawyer with a wealth of experience fighting for you.
File Court Documents Within Time
There are rules of court that you must adhere to, whether in a criminal or civil trial. One of them is when to file processes and how to do so. Just as the prosecution must commence a case before the Statute of Limitations elapse, you must file your defense documents within the time stipulated in the court rules.
A DUI lawyer knows all the deadlines and will file your defense documents and other court processes within the allotted time. Also, an attorney knows all the crucial evidence to help your case and will ensure they are entered into the court record during discovery.
Most people mistakenly believe that negotiations happen only in civil cases, but this is not true. Prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers negotiate all the time to find common ground. Usually, the prosecutor offers plea deals to save the court’s time and taxpayers’ money while the defense lawyer does it to reduce the client’s punishment.
A lawyer knows when you have a strong case and when you don’t. Therefore, they know the type of agreement to agree to. For example, if you were facing a DUI charge and another criminal offense and the evidence is stacked against you, your lawyer would negotiate for you to consent to a lesser charge and get a reduced sentence.
Finally, if you have a prior DUI conviction that might affect your current sentencing, your lawyer may attempt to delete the record in exchange for a plea deal. Overall, it is more beneficial to hire an attorney than to not get one.
What Happens if You Don’t Hire a DUI Lawyer?
If you choose not to hire a DUI attorney after an arrest for driving under the influence, you may harm your case and serve a lengthy punishment. The ultimate risk of not hiring a lawyer is your freedom.
Also, a DUI trial can be long and difficult. If you were arrested without bail, preparing for your trial from jail might be too challenging for you. Therefore, it is best to get a lawyer to handle the process on your behalf.
How Much Does a DUI Defense Lawyer in Charleston Cost?
As mentioned earlier, most people shy away from hiring a DUI attorney because of legal fees. Criminal defense lawyers get paid with retainer fees, hourly fees, or a flat rate. What these fees amount to depends on the complexity of the DUI case, whether the case ends with a plea deal or goes to trial.
However, keep in mind that your lawyer will not give you an exorbitant fee, and sometimes, they might accept payment on a contingency fee basis. But this is quite rare in criminal cases.
Are You Facing a DUI Charge? Let Charleston Criminal Defense Lawyers Help You
Getting arrested, charged, and convicted for a drunk driving offense has several consequences. It affects your relationship with your family, prevents you from getting jobs, and tags you as an ex-convict. Therefore, it is best to do all you can to avoid these consequences.
Your best bet is to hire a Charleston, SC, criminal defense lawyer. Our lawyers have the experience to help you mitigate the fallout while protecting your rights. Contact us today for an initial consultation and to learn how we can help you.