If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, you do not want to try to handle your case on your own. While this might seem like the best (or cheapest) option, trying to handle your case without a lawyer can end up being extremely costly. Successfully defending against a DUI charge is not easy, and getting convicted can have serious consequences. As a result, it is strongly in your best interests to seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible.
Why You Should Hire a DUI Lawyer in Wisconsin
Were you arrested for driving under the influence in Wisconsin? If so, here are 10 reasons why you should hire a lawyer to handle your DUI case:
Reason #1: You Are Facing Substantial Penalties
Regardless of whether this is your first offense or you are a repeat offender, a DUI conviction can lead to substantial penalties. For first-time offenders, potential penalties include up to a nine-month driver’s license suspension, hundreds of dollars in fines and surcharges, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (if your BAC was 0.15% or above). If you have a prior DUI within the past 10 years, you are facing even greater penalties—including jail time.
Reason #2: You Are Also Facing Serious Collateral Consequences
Along with these penalties, a DUI conviction can have several other serious consequences. For one thing, your auto insurance rates will skyrocket for the next several years. Having a DUI conviction on your record can also make it hard to land a job; and, if you have a professional license, are a member of the military, or are a foreign citizen, you could face consequences in these areas as well.
Reason #3: You May Need to Assert Multiple Defenses to Avoid a Conviction
To successfully fight your DUI charge, you may need to assert multiple defenses in court. Prosecutors may have several forms of evidence against you, and they will be able to secure a conviction by proving that either: (i) your BAC was over the legal limit, or (ii) your driving abilities were impaired. They do not need to prove both. As a result, if you challenge the prosecution’s evidence of impairment but not your BAC (or vice versa), you will still be at risk for a conviction.
Reason #4: Your Lawyer Can Seek to Negotiate a Plea Bargain if Warranted
In some cases, negotiating a plea bargain will be your best option. However, you should not pursue a plea bargain unless you are certain that there are not better options available. While a “wet reckless” carries substantially fewer consequences than a DUI, you should not subject yourself to any consequences unnecessarily.
Reason #5: Your Lawyer Can Help You Enter Into a Diversion Program (if Possible)
One way that you may be able to avoid consequences entirely is by entering into a diversion program. These programs “divert” your case from trial; and, if you complete all of the program’s requirements, your DUI case will be dismissed. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to determine if your case qualifies for diversion; and, if so, your lawyer will be able to help you decide if entering into a diversion program is your best option.
Reason #6: You May Have Several Defenses Available (Even if You Were Drunk)
There are several ways to fight a DUI charge in Wisconsin. If you have grounds to fight your charge, you should not accept a plea or subject yourself to the requirements of a diversion program. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and determine which defenses he or she can assert on your behalf. Based on this evaluation, you can then make an informed decision about how best to handle your case.
Reason #7: Prosecutors Win DUI Convictions All the Time
Despite the fact that there are several defenses to DUI charges in Wisconsin, prosecutors win DUI convictions all the time. Many prosecutors are extremely good at what they do; and, in many respects, the legal system is built in their favor. As a result, avoiding a conviction requires a knowledgeable and strategic approach—and this requires experienced legal representation.
Reason #8: Prosecutors May Not Be Able to Use Their Evidence Against You
Even if prosecutors have enough evidence to secure a conviction (as is often the case), they may not be able to use their evidence against you. For example, if the police stopped you without reasonable suspicion or arrested you without probable cause, this may render the prosecution’s evidence inadmissible. However, to keep the prosecution’s evidence out of court, you must be able to prove that the police violated your constitutional rights. Prosecutors aren’t going to withhold their evidence voluntarily, and it isn’t the judge’s responsibility to protect you.
Reason #9: A Wrongful Conviction or Unjust Sentence is a Very Real Possibility
Given these considerations, a wrongful conviction is a very real possibility. Additionally, even if a conviction is warranted, you could face a far greater sentence than necessary if you try to handle your case on your own. Simply put, hiring an experienced DUI lawyer is the best way to minimize the risks you are facing.
Reason #10: Hiring a Lawyer is Your Least Costly Option
While you will need to pay for your lawyer’s services, hiring a lawyer is ultimately likely to be your least costly option. If your lawyer helps you avoid fines, surcharges, or increased insurance premiums—and if your lawyer protects your driver’s license or keeps you out of jail—your legal representation will more than pay for itself.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a WI DUI Lawyer Today
If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. We provide free initial consultations, and we can help you make smart decisions about your next steps. To discuss your case with an experienced WI DUI lawyer in confidence, please call 608-257-0440 or send us a message online today.