Seeking DUI Advice
If you are facing DUI charges, you might be looking for advice on how to handle your case. Unfortunately, not all advice is good advice. Family, friends, and even attorneys can give you bad advice about DUI charges. But a good attorney will tell you every case is different, and taking the advice of others might not be a wise decision. Our firm is experienced in DUI defense, and we've had countless clients come to us for guidance after getting bad advice. After talking with them, here's the worst advice we've heard.
Just plead guilty and get it over with.
Pleading guilty to a DUI is like giving up, especially if this is your first offense. You can't just “get over” a DUI. And pleading guilty isn't necessarily the quickest route to moving on. Many DUIs are worth fighting. It's never a good idea to plead guilty to a DUI or any crime without first speaking with a criminal defense attorney. Once you plead guilty, you waive your rights to many protections our forefathers fought hard to protect. And a guilty plea isn't a slap on the wrist. You will face jail time, steep fines, DUI classes, probation, a license suspension, and more. Your insurance rates will stay high for several years, and you could even lose your job. When considering all these consequences, pleading guilty should be the last thing you consider doing. Instead, speak with an attorney about your chances of beating your charges or working out a plea bargain.
Represent yourself to save money.
DUIs are expensive, but many people make the mistake of thinking attorneys are even more so. Representing yourself to save money can increase your chance of being convicted. Saving a few thousand dollars on an attorney is nothing compared to the $10k plus you will shell out for a DUI. At the very least, consult with a DUI attorney before you decide to go it alone. Most provide free or low-cost consultations. After a consultation, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether you can afford to take the risk. There are many hidden costs of a DUI conviction, so, in most cases, self-representation is not worth the risk unless you are an attorney yourself.
A DUI is just a traffic ticket, don't worry about it.
DUI is a criminal offense. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. While a DUI is indeed a vehicle code violation, it is still a serious crime and treated as such by the criminal court system. In reality, a DUI will come with more than just a fine. You could go to jail, will have to attend DUI classes, face several years of probation, and you will lose your license.
If the officer didn't read you your rights, the court would dismiss your case.
This is a false—and risky—assumption. Contrary to popular belief, police officers do not have to read you your rights to make a lawful arrest. In fact, they don't need to tell you anything about your rights when arresting you. So if the arresting officer never read you your rights, don't think you're off the hook.
Officers are only required to read you your rights if they arrest you and question you. You have a right to know that you can refuse to answer any questions and speak with an attorney. You have a right to freedom from self-incrimination, which means you do not have to provide law enforcement with information that could prove your guilt.
If the officer arrested you and questioned you without reading your rights, what you said can't be held against you. If you gave the officer information not knowing you had the right to remain silent, you should speak with an attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can take steps to ensure what you said isn't held against you in court.
These pieces of advice are common. But every DUI case is different, and there are numerous misconceptions about DUI charges and arrests. Thus, never follow advice from someone who isn't an attorney. And consult with more than one attorney when facing DUI charges. There is too much at stake to follow bad advice. A good attorney will be honest with you and explain your rights as they pertain to your case.
If you are facing DUI charges in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you fight your charges and clear your name. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Martens is ready to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.