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Do I Really Need to Hire a DUI Lawyer?

Posted by attorney Todd La Neve

This is one of those questions that numerous people every year end up asking, and, after deciding they don't, inevitably end up contacting us to find out if there's something they can do to get out of the mess they found themselves in by trying to handle their case alone. One of the most common considerations is the cost of hiring a lawyer. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Sure, there are exceptions, but by and large, hiring an experienced lawyer is going to cost you. Compare that, though, to the costs of a negative outcome of your criminal case. Things like a lost driver's license or jail time can, and often do, lead to loss of employment, insurance problems, family problems, and on and on. When compared to the cost of losing a job or something equally important, the cost of hiring a lawyer becomes a much more important investment. Often times, we'll get calls or emails from people who lost a driver's license and have been unable to legally drive for as long as a year or more. They call us and want to know what they can do to get their driving rights back and figure out why they lost them in the first place. We hear about people who had a police officer "try to help them out," only to learn that the officer didn't or couldn't do what he said he would do. In the end, they paid a much stiffer penalty than they might have had they just hired an experienced lawyer to advise them properly in the first place. The bottom line is that far more times per year than I'd like, I talk with people who have been misled, improperly advised, or promised things that couldn't be delivered. Oddly, there have been a handful of times these people consulted with us at one time and said they couldn't afford to hire us. Later, after losing a job or suffering a similarly serious drawback, they come back to us and say they wish they had hired us at the start. There's usually nothing that we can do to undo a license revocation or help get a criminal record cleared so someone can go back to work, and that's truly an unfortunate situation, particularly when their case may have been one that we could have had a good chance of successfully defending. Don't fall prey to the desire to try to save money by handling your own legal defense in any criminal case, let along a DUI case. Hiring an experienced lawyer could make all the difference between an outcome you regret and one that doesn't have the same long lasting penalties. Certainly, hiring a lawyer is not a guarantee that you'll win your case and we can't ethically try to predict the outcome of a case. But we know what to look for and can give assurances to prospective clients that if there's a way to improve your outcome, we'll find it. And in the end, that's often the best insurance you can buy.

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