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If I plan on pleading guilty to a DUI, do I still need a lawyer?

If I plan on pleading guilty to a DUI, do I still need a lawyer?

Even if you plan to plead guilty to a DUI, seeking the professional advice of a lawyer on your case often makes good sense. The ramifications of a DUI conviction are too consequential to not at least confer with an attorney experienced with DUI cases.  An attorney can review your case and advise you on your various options, including the possibility of proceeding with a guilty plea.

Although you may have reviewed your case thoroughly and believe you understand the law and your options clearly, you do not want to make the mistake of missing something critical that could have helped you toward securing a more favorable outcome. DUI laws vary from state to state and enforcement practices can differ depending on localities, so a lawyer experienced with DUI cases in the locality where the charges occurred, such as in Northern Virginia, can help you sort through the nuances of your particular case and its legal environment. For instance, a lawyer with DUI experience in your locality typically will know the tendencies of the prosecutor and judge assigned to your case.

One scenario that might particularly call for the aid of a lawyer is if your blood alcohol content did not surpass the legal limit by very much, there was no accident or erratic driving and you did not demonstrate clear signs of being impaired in field testing with a police officer. A lawyer can work with you to determine if a guilty plea is really the right move for you in this case or if the door seems open to winning the case or at least negotiating with the prosecutor for a lesser charge.

Another reason to consider working with a lawyer is that law enforcement must follow strict guidelines when determining if someone should be charged with a DUI. In particular, a lawyer with experience on DUI cases would be able to spot if law enforcement made mistakes in the timeline of the testing process that could possibly invalidate any blood alcohol content readings used to charge you, or if they made missteps when deciding there were grounds to suspect you of driving under the influence.  In addition, an experienced DUI lawyer can investigate to determine if the breathalyzer machine was working correctly in your case.  If the machine experienced any malfunctions or glitches, an attorney may be able to use this to your advantage.

In addition to a lawyer possibly being able to help you pursue a not guilty result or a lesser charge, a lawyer also may be able to help you negotiate for a lesser sentence than if you simply go to court and plead guilty. This assistance is especially crucial if you have already been convicted of a DUI previously or if your driving in this case resulted in harm to another person. You will want to work with a lawyer to attempt to avoid the most severe charges and sentencing that could be facing you.

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