A DUI is a serious crime that carries potentially life-altering consequences. Aside from court-imposed penalties, a DUI can affect your work, your ability to drive, your school, and any professional license you may have. An experienced DUI lawyer will fight for your rights and can be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
Why should you hire a DUI lawyer for your case?
You can read a lot online about DUIs, DUI law, and the process. We encourage clients to educate themselves so that they can make an informed decision. However, there is an old saying that the person that represents themselves has a fool for a client. We cannot stress enough that you should not go at it alone and try to handle you DUI case on your own.
Every DUI case is unique and has its own facts and issues. Spotting, isolating and exploiting these issues is a skill that take years of school, training, and experience to hone.
Should you hire a DUI lawyer if you just want to accept a plea?
You may want to accept a plea bargain and not fight your case. Accepting a plea bargain may be the right outcome for your case, but it may not be the best outcome. It is the role of your attorney to advise you of the best possible outcome based upon your input and the DUI lawyer's experience. Even if you want to accept a plea bargain, your attorney may be able to negotiate better by fighting your case.
There is a difference between a negotiated plea and a plea to the court. A negotiated plea is a known joint agreement between the defense and the prosecutor. A plea to the court is when you plead guilty or no contest and the judge determines the outcome. An experienced DUI lawyer who regularly practices in front of your judge will be able to advise you if they think a negotiated plea or a plea to the court is a better option for your case.
How do you decide which DUI lawyer to hire?
We encourage clients to meet their potential attorney before they make such an important decision. When you speak to a DUI lawyer, you should find out how many DUI cases they have handled, how many DUI trials they have had, and how much of their law practice is devoted to DUI defense. This will give you a good idea of how much experience the lawyer has handling DUI cases. If there is something unique about your case, ask the attorney if they have handled a similar issue. Ask how many times the lawyer has handled the issue. You want an attorney that is well-versed and experienced in DUI law.
You should also ask how often the lawyer has dealt with the prosecutor and the judge on your case. It can only help your case if your attorney has a good working relationship with both the prosecutor and judge. By handling DUI cases regularly and in front of your judge and prosecutor, they will know that your lawyer is ready, willing, and able to go to trial on your case to fight for you.
You should have a case review with the lawyer and inquire into what the lawyer would do on your case. We believe that a lawyer should be able to present themselves and articulate their analysis of your case so that you feel comfortable with their legal representation. At the end of the day, the legal field is not your area of expertise—it is ours. We have the knowledge and experience to know in a DUI case what legal motions and strategy needs to be taken. Let our knowledge and experience work for you.
What can a DUI lawyer do on your case?
There are numerous legal issues with DUI crimes that are inapplicable to other crimes. An experienced DUI lawyer looks for certain legal issues and additional factual defenses that you may have in your case. When a DUI lawyer discovers legal issues in your case, they can file a motion to suppress to exclude evidence. This can give you an advantage at trial because the state has less evidence, or it can provide you with leverage with plea negotiations. In some cases, prevailing on a motion to suppress will result in the entire case being dropped. DUI cases are extremely technical and nuanced. As such, there can be several motions to suppress in your case.
Some examples of issues for a motion to suppress are as follows:
- What was the reason for the initial traffic stop? Did the officer have an ulterior motive or was the stop pretextual? There may be an illegal stop. If the initial stop is illegal, then all of the evidence in the case will be thrown out.
- Did the officer read you your Miranda rights on the side of the road? If Miranda was required to be read on the side of the road, then answers to a police officer's questions may be thrown out.
- Did the police officer advise you what would happen if you refused the field sobriety tests? Your refusal to perform the field sobriety exercises may be thrown out if so.
- Did the police officer improperly say something to get you to perform the field sobriety exercises? If so, your performance on the field sobriety tests or any video of it will be thrown out.
- Did the police officer read you implied consent if you refused to blow? Your refusal to give a breath sample may be thrown out if the officer did not read you implied consent.
- Did the police officer improperly say something to get you to blow? If so, then your breath alcohol ready will be thrown out and cannot be used against you.
Why should you hire Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh to handle your DUI case?
We have three former prosecutors who have handled thousands of DUI cases and have had numerous DUI trials. One attorney at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh is a former supervisor of all DUI prosecutions in Palm Beach County. Our experience handling DUI cases is second to none.
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we are not a volume firm. We do not take on every potential case that calls into the firm. Each attorney has a set case load that we do not allow to get too large by design. We do not believe in the one-size-fits-all approach. We handle each client and case individually. This gives our clients the best representation, which results in the best outcome for the client.
Our communication with our clients is of the utmost importance. We have an online client portal so that we can regularly communicate with our clients. One of the biggest complaints that a client has with a lawyer is the lack of communication. While it is true that lawyers can get very busy, at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we have made it a priority to an open line of communication with our clients and our online client portal furthers this goal.
Call us for a free consultation and case evaluation to see if we are the right fit for you.