Your first DUI arrest may come as a shock to you. If you are someone who has never broken the law, the weight of your first arrest may be devastating. When West Palm Beach police arrest a person because they suspect the driver was driving under the influence, they do what they can to ensure that that person pays for his or her crime.
When you face prosecutors and judges who have been putting people away on DUI and related charges for years, the odds are stacked against you without a proper defense. If you’re unsure of hiring an attorney for DUI in West Palm Beach to fight your first DUI charge, learn about when you might need one.
When to Hire a DUI Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Hiring a DUI lawyer empowers you to put up a fight against the criminal charge(s) you face. If there might be any evidence of your innocence or if you might face significant penalties upon a conviction, you should consider working with a private attorney.
All DUI convictions carry a significant risk of penalties, considering that the standard penalties for a first DUI conviction in Florida include:
- A fine of $500 to $1,000
- Up to six months of incarceration
- 50 hours of community service
- The possibility of installing an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Vehicle impoundment for ten (10) days
- Administrative license suspension for 6-12 months
Not everyone convicted of a first DUI will face all of the above penalties. Judges may use discretion when issuing DUI sentences; however, a defendant who has a DUI lawyer working for their interests may receive a better outcome than a defendant who lacks legal representation.
A defendant who seeks legal counsel is more likely to avoid the worst penalties upon a conviction. Depending on the facts of the case, the defendant may be able to plea to a lesser charge or avoid a criminal charge altogether.
Making the Right Choice for Legal Defense
Police issuing DUI arrests in Palm Beach County are well-trained to gather and keep evidence against you when they pull you over and conduct a DUI investigation. Some examples of evidence they might obtain on the night of your arrest are:
- The elevated results of a BAC test
- Witness statements of erratic driving behavior
- Footage of a failed roadside sobriety test
On the other hand, an attorney is highly trained to gather evidence that works in your favor and find mistakes in the case against you that may provide for the dismissal of your charge. After years of defending DUI cases, an experienced lawyer has developed relationships with police officers, prosecutors, and judges that he can use to your advantage.
Attorneys are experienced at creating doubt about DUI charges. Your attorney might find the following evidence upon researching your case.
- Questionable roadside sobriety test results
- BAC results below 0.08%
- Procedural issues (cops not reading your Miranda rights, no cause for the traffic stop, etc.)
Additionally, your lawyer can help you decide whether it makes sense to plea bargain. When you plea bargain, you plead guilty to a lesser charge. If this course of action could benefit you, your lawyer will know what argument to use so that the prosecution will accept the bargain.
If the court ultimately convicts you of DUI or a lesser charge, an attorney can sentence bargain so that you can receive a lesser sentence. You should especially contact a DUI lawyer if there were aggravating circumstances in your case, such as:
- A minor in the vehicle
- A person was injured or killed in the resulting crash
- Elevated BAC (at or above 0.15%)
Your attorney will also tend to administrative matters such as challenging the DMV’s suspension of your driver’s license. Overall, you have a better chance of reducing your plea or sentence with the help of a DUI lawyer than on your own or through a public defender.
Resolving DUI Charges for Over 30 years
Don’t let a DUI stain your reputation. Seek intelligent and resourceful representation from an attorney who will devote personal attention to your case.
Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has worked with individuals throughout Palm Beach County to help them navigate the criminal justice system. His legal practice in West Palm Beach places a strong focus on DUI defense. As a former prosecutor, he understands what it takes to achieve the best outcome.
Tell us a bit about your case when you complete our contact form or call 561-622-5575. We provide free consultations.