A DUI charge is scary. They bring about long-term repercussions, and you might not know where to turn next. In serious situations, a DUI can lead to long-term suspension of your license, and even the loss of your job. Having a felony like a DUI on your record can hinder your ability to purchase a car, obtain a new job, or even rent a home in the future, so it’s important that you do everything you can to avoid having a full DUI conviction on your record. Whether this is your first or second charge, an experienced DUI attorney can go a long way to reducing your charges or your sentencing. Here are six different ways a DUI lawyer can help reduce your penalties:
Plea Bargain – Depending on the particulars and the relative severity of your case, an experienced DUI attorney could be able to help you negotiate a plea bargain. In many cases, and especially if this is your first offense, the prosecutor may offer reduced charges or sentencing in return for a guilty plea. In some situations, your charge could be reduced from a DUI to reckless driving. While this is a lesser offense, in some states it has harsher penalties, so it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer to see what your best option is. A DUI attorney will be able to weigh all of the possibilities, their pros and cons, and then let you know which will help you out the most in both the short, and long-term.
Expungement – Depending on your case, it may also be possible to have a DUI charge expunged, or completely erased from your record. If your DUI sentence involved no prison time, and only probation, you have the potential to expunge the charge, especially if it was a first-time offense. If you’re hoping for expungement, an experienced DUI attorney is necessary for two reasons:
- They can attempt to reduce your sentence through a plea bargain or reduced sentence so that expungement may be possible in the future.
- After your probation period expires without incident, they can assist you in the expungement process. Following an expungement, which is difficult to obtain without legal assistance, only the authorities will be able to see your conviction.
Depending on your situation, your DUI doesn’t have to have life-altering negative consequences. You may be able to find help, and get the charge removed from your record.
Dismissal of the case – In some extreme cases, DUI attorneys can have DUI charges dismissed. In a DUI case, the prosecutor has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were under the influence while driving. That means that every element of your case must be proven. If all elements of the case cannot be proven, then the case has to be dismissed. If there were any technical issues or defects in the motor-vehicle stop, the officer didn’t have reasonable probable cause, or your chemical tests were in some way compromised, your case could be dismissed. In order to find these case defects however, you need an experienced attorney who will be able to identify flaws in the prosecutor’s defense.
Your Job – When you’re charged with a DUI, you have to consider how any repercussion will affect your job. If you’re convicted, you could face jail time, which means lost wages. More importantly, there are employers who will not hire, or continue to employ those who have been convicted of a DUI or any other felony. If you feel your job is in jeopardy, or you’re afraid of the time you’ll have to spend away from your job if you serve jail time, you’ll want to consult an experienced DUI attorney. While there is never a guarantee that an attorney can help you get out of jail time altogether, it’s likely that a DUI attorney can help negotiate a plea bargain that results in a lesser sentencing.
Increased or Lost Insurance – Something that not many people initially consider when faced with a DUI charge, is the effect of a conviction on your insurance costs. If you are convicted of a DUI, your insurance premium will skyrocket. It could quadruple, and in some cases your insurance company might drop your coverage altogether. Without insurance, you won’t be able to drive, which can make getting to work awfully difficult. Even more importantly, some employers require employees to carry coverage, you could lose your job entirely following a DUI conviction if you have to drive for work. In this situation, an attorney is very helpful, as they’ll understand what measures can be taken to avoid a DUI conviction. An attorney will increase the likelihood that your charges are reduced, or they will be able to negotiate a plea bargain that can help you avoid a costly insurance hike.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI and need help, call the Epstein Law Firm. We’re a trusted Chicago law firm that’s been handling DUI cases for years. Jack Epstein and his associates have the knowledge and the experience to help you in your DUI case. To see how we can help, give our office a call at 773-522-7000, or schedule your free initial consultation online today!
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