Do I Need an Attorney?

Do I Need an Attorney? Do I Need a San Francisco DUI Attorney?

If you are facing DUI charges, contact your San Francisco DUI attorney for a consultation on your case. Most times if you are facing DUI charges, you may be able to go through the preliminary process on your own. However, it is at this point in your case that you should be considering whether or not hiring a San Francisco DUI attorney will strengthen your case. The following information will help you decide if hiring a San Francisco DUI attorney will be beneficial to your case.

Consulting with a San Francisco DUI Attorney

At any point in your DUI case, consulting with a DUI attorney will only benefit you. An experienced professional can help you with the details of your case. It is likely, if you are not experienced with DUI cases, that there are some important points of the case that you may have missed or even got wrong. These points may be what help to strengthen your defense. Consulting a San Francisco DUI attorney can help you figure out how strong or weak your DUI case is currently.

Pleading Guilty without an Attorney

If you plan on pleading guilty in your DUI case, then you can do so without the assistance of a San Francisco DUI attorney. If this DUI is your first offense, there were no injuries involved in your case, and it seems certain that you will be convicted, then hiring an attorney may not help your case as much. Most that will need to be handled in your DUI case you could likely do by yourself. Pleading guilty does not require the help of an attorney, if that is what you plan on doing. Pleading guilty in a DUI case if fairly common, whether an attorney is representing you or not. Many times the results will be the same. You will likely receive the standard sentence in your state whether you had an attorney or yourself as a representative. In a DUI case, there are two instances where you will almost always give a guilty plea:

  • If your blood alcohol content is high after having a blood or breath test. A high blood alcohol content is considered to be anything over .08 BAC. It is 90% likely that you will be convicted if your BAC is between .08-.11. If it is .20 or higher, then it is pretty much guaranteed you will receive the standard sentence.
  • If there is evidence that you were drunk while you were driving. If law enforcement officials or eyewitnesses testify to your erratic driving, and there is some sort of sobriety test done on you to back up the claim, then it is likely you will receive the standard sentence in your case, even if your test reveals a BAC of .08 or lower.
Plea Bargaining with an Attorney

Plea bargaining can be an option if there is some uncertainty in your case. An example of an uncertainty may be if your blood alcohol content reads .08-.10, but your field sobriety tests were inconclusive and you did not display behavior indicating you were under the influence. In these cases, the prosecution may sometimes strike a deal with you by offering to drop the charges from a DUI to something like reckless driving, which is usually a misdemeanor. You will still receive a sentence for the reckless driving charge, however that sentence will be less harsh than one you would receive if you were convicted of a DUI. Your San Francisco DUI attorney can help you by working with the prosecution to get the charges you are facing lowered. A few states have two types of reckless driving charges: a regular charge of reckless driving and something known as a “wet” reckless driving charge. A wet reckless driving charge will show that alcohol was involved in your case. Being charged with wet reckless driving may not always result in jail time, and probation is a likely punishment as well. You will likely receiving a fine; however that fine will be less than one associated with DUI charges. It is also unlikely that the court will suspend your driver’s license, something that would happen if you were charged with a DUI. One thing to be aware of if you are charged with wet reckless driving, if you are later charged with a DUI the wet reckless charge will count as a prior. Your car insurance company will also view the prior as a DUI charge and your rates will increase. The penalties may seem stiff; however they are not as serious as being charged with an actual DUI.

Wet Reckless Charges in California

What to expect if you are charged with wet reckless driving:

  • A fine of $800 or less
  • A six week DUI class, compared to a 12-week class if you were convicted of a DUI
  • No suspension of your driver’s license if your blood alcohol content is under .08
  • No suspension of a commercial driver’s license

Hiring a DUI attorney can help you plea bargain your charges from a DUI to a wet reckless driving charge better than you can by yourself. It is likely that an experienced attorney will have worked with the prosecutor before and will be able to bargain better based on their preexisting relationship. If you try to bargain alone, the prosecutor may just go ahead and push to bring your case to trial rather than offer a deal to you. If you are unsure of what direction your case is going, consult with a DUI attorney. An experienced attorney will be on the pricier side; however that cost may end up saving you a lot of headache and even more money if you are charged with a DUI.

Taking Your Case to Trial

If you plan on taking your DUI case to trial, you will need to hire an experienced DUI attorney to help you with that process. Having an attorney represent you in court will give you the best outcome possible for your case. You are entitled to represent yourself in court however an attorney will be far ahead of you in the learning curve. They have worked on DUI cases before, know the lingo, and know how to try and get the best outcome for you. Your DUI attorney will know how to handle expert and observer witnesses for both the defense and prosecution, how to make a motion to suppress evidence, how to make a motion to strike something from the record, and coach you to prepare for your testimony in court. Handling your own DUI case in court is not something that is recommended. It is easy to make a rookie mistake and that mistake could end up costing you much more than if you had hired an experienced DUI attorney to represent you during your DUI trial.

Contact a San Francisco DUI Attorney

For an experienced professional, contact your San Francisco DUI attorney today from Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890. Silveira Law has the San Francisco DUI attorney who will help you fight for the best possible outcome in your DUI case.