If someone is facing their first DUI charge in the District of Columbia then the first thing a DC DUI lawyer is going to try and do is get the prosecution to offer diversion.
If diversion is offered and we can work out an appropriate diversion or deferred sentencing agreement, then an attorney will often recommend that their clients accept that. If that’s not available, then we would be looking at ways to challenge aspects of the government case, especially the police officer’s DUI investigation, starting with the basis of stop of my client, looking at the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and the way that they were administered. This includes aspects including: if a breathalyzer was taken, how it was administered, and seeing if the client has any health or medical issues that would have precluded them from performing the standardized field sobriety test in a successful way or that would adversely affect the breath test.
An attorney will then do a standard investigation of the scene. This involves taking pictures, walking the scene with our client, seeing where they were stopped, and if there were any conditions in the area that would have affected the SFSTs. We’ll also request a video from the police to show the police station where our client was taken, he or she being booked, and taking a breath test.
First of all, it’s important that people who are charged with DUI for the first time take it very seriously because judges and prosecutors take them very seriously. It is a very serious charge and it can have an effect on your driving privileges, on your potential employment, and have other broad implications on your life.
One mistake people charged sometimes make is tending to treat their charges a little more casually than they would other potential charges, which overall is a poor choice.
Additionally, in selecting an attorney people sometimes think that since it is only their first time being charged for DUI that they are going to try and save as much money as possible on an attorney to represent them. However, in these situations what you get is what you pay for. You want to have someone representing you who’s going to litigate aggressively and zealously for you, and you want someone with experience. That, however, is typically going to cost more.
Typically, the cheapest lawyer is not going to give you the best results. The most expensive lawyer will not necessarily give you the best results either, but you need to understand that this is going to take time, energy, and money on your part, even for a first time DUI offense.
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