First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

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Latest post 07-21-2011 6:46 PM by LynnM. 10 replies.
  • 06-22-2011 4:54 PM

    • timberkat
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    • Joined on 06-22-2011
    • CA
    • Posts 3

    First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    Hi! I have done a pretty bad and stupid thing. 

    Recently I was charged with my first DUI. I was driving home from work late at night and slowly drifted off the road into a parked car, thus flipping mine on its side. I called 911 immediately and the police as well as an ambulance showed up. I didn't have to go to jail that night because they decided to take me to the hospital instead to see if I was ok. Luckily I got away with only a tiny scratch, and thank my lucky stars that I didn't injure anyone or myself to learn this lesson.

    I didn't deny anything, told the truth, and was quite coherent and apologetic. They did two breath tests, the first of which was .14 and the second .12... Then in the ampulance I had my finger pricked, and in the hospital they did a blood test (the resuls of which I do not know). I feel terribly stupid, but these things happen, I guess. My question is, should I hire an attorney since I don't really understand the legal system? I found one that has a good reputation and charges $2500 (assuming there are no hidden fees, which I need to find out). I can pay a third up front and then $200 monthly, which seems reasonable enough. I don't make a lot of money in my profession though, and I am just 22... It will definitely require sacrifice to pay this amount, not to mention the other fees.

    It is possible that I could get a PD, but I like the vibe of the private attorney so far. Should I save the money and try for a public defender? 

    Thank you so much for your time and opinions.

  • 06-22-2011 5:05 PM In reply to

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    If you can afford to hire counsel, you may not qualify for the PD.  This DUI is going to cost you a whole lot more than the cost of counsel.  Your license will be suspended by DMV regardless of what the criminal court does.  If convicted (which it sounds like you already admit guilt), you will have no less than 3 years of probation with jail time to serve, a huge fine to pay, a DUI school to complete and, depending on what county this happened in, you may have to have the ignition interlock installed in your vehicle.  Oh, and of course, your insurance premium is going to skyrocket....You can certainly wait until the arraignment date and ask for the PD to be appointed to see if you qualify.

  • 06-22-2011 5:12 PM In reply to

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    I would say, yes, you should see what you can do to get a lawyer.  I would suggest one the specializes in DUI.  It is a special area, that some lawyers will specialize in.  That would be the one to hire in my opinion.  They do this all day, every day, and will be up on all the latest laws on this.

    I probably don't need to tell you, but this is really something that could effect you for the rest of your life.  I'd do anything in my power, if I were you, to minimize the damage.

    You probably can't get out of this completely, but that's something you need to talk to your lawyer about.

    My suggestion, also, is don't talk to anyone about this except that lawyer.  If and when you get a lawyer, listen to him or her and do exactly what they tell you to do.

    You likely now have a temporary license?  You probably have a certain amount of time to argue that in front of the DMV.  You probably want to talk to your lawyer about that and see what he/she says on it.  You will likely lose your license for some period of time no matter how this works out for you.  You probably need to be making other arrangements to be getting yourself back and forth to work.

    Good Luck!

  • 06-22-2011 5:13 PM In reply to

    • timberkat
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    • Joined on 06-22-2011
    • CA
    • Posts 3

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    It happened in the US, and I don't think the court generally requires an ignition interlock device for the first offense. I believe the fine might be around 1200, and DUI school is around 300. This is very bad, but what you are saying sounds more alarmist with that hyperbole language like "skyrocket." Thanks, I do know I'm screwed. I want to know the reasonable thing to do now.

  • 06-22-2011 5:15 PM In reply to

    • timberkat
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    • Joined on 06-22-2011
    • CA
    • Posts 3

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    Thanks Superman, sounds like some good advice. :)

  • 06-22-2011 5:15 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,286

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    Anything beyond .08 puts you in danger zone.

    I don't know if an attorney can pull a rabbit out of the hat--but I'm sure you cannot w/o an attorney.



  • 06-22-2011 5:25 PM In reply to

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    Here is what I could find for 1st offense in CA

    http://www.kandblaw.com/penalty_chart.html#first

    I am not claiming this as accurate, I just came across it to give you an idea at what you might be looking at.

    Your attorney can tell you better I'm sure.

     

  • 06-22-2011 5:27 PM In reply to

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    timberkat:
    It happened in the US

    Uh, your profile says in you're in CA.  I was referring to which county in CA.  There are pilot counties where the ignition interlock is required for a first offense DUI.  In the other counties, some judges will order the interlock anyway since they have the statutory power to do it.  The fine is closer to $2000 and the DUI school hasn't been $300 in 10 years.  It's closer to $900.  DMV requires proof of SR-22 insurance.  That costs more and the insurance company will charge you additional funds in order to both provide that insurance coverage and to provide proof you've obtained that coverage to DMV. 

  • 06-22-2011 11:46 PM In reply to

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    Drew:
    Anything beyond .08 puts you in danger zone.

    A warning to everyone: the popular notion that if your BAC is under .08 you are "safe" from a DUI conviction is wrong in at least most states. In most states, the DUI statute has two parts to it.

    One part of it says that you are guilty if you operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more. Under that part, the state does not have to prove intoxication, i.e. that your ability to drive was impaired. All it has to prove is that you operated a motor vehicle and your BAC was .08 or more.

    The other part of the DUI statute makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol or drugs in your system if you are intoxicated. In order to make its case under this part, the state needs to prove the alcohol impaired your ability to drive. If you were driving erratically, you fail the field sobriety test, or there is any other indication that you are adversely affected by the alcohol that may be enough to for the state to win conviction under this part.

    As you can see, having a BAC of .08 or more makes the state's case easier because it doesn't have to prove impairment/intoxication. But even if you are under .08 BAC, the state can still make a DUI charge stick if it can show the impairment. This is the part that most people don't seem to know.

    Thus, if you have ANY amount to drink and then drive, you run a risk that you might end up with a DUI arrest and conviction. Of course, the more you drink, the higher the risk is. But don't get in the car after drinking with the false notion that if you are under .08 you are safe from a DUI charge.

  • 07-21-2011 3:02 PM In reply to

    • aziggy44
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 07-21-2011
    • PA
    • Posts 13

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    I am not sure if you have rehabilitative dispositions in your state, but alot of states do have programs which you may be eligible for as a first time dui offender, particularly if you have no other criminal history. Since you are admitting that you are guilty as well as remorseful, it might be your best course. For your sake, I hope they have one of these diversionary programs. You could call the district attorney in the case and inquire about it, get an app. and send it back to them....without the aid of an attorney. Unless you are going to fight the case, I see no reason to spend more money on an attorney.  Good Luck!

    Tammie

     

    OkZiggy

  • 07-21-2011 6:46 PM In reply to

    Re: First DUI, should I hire an attorney? Please help... :/

    I think you are in for a HUGE surprise.

    "As of July 1, 2010 interlocks are required upon a DUI conviction in 4 counties; Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento and Tulare. -AB 91 creates a pilot program for select counties, such as Los Angeles County, that will require all drivers convicted of a DUI offense to install IIDs in their vehicles as a condition to receive restricted driving privileges

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