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Oct 6, 2023

Why You Should Retain a Lawyer for a First-Time DUI Charge

Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving

You may think that a first-time DUI charge is “no big deal,” given the number of people who are accused of DUI each year. The truth is the exact opposite. Not only is there a possible threat to your freedom, but you will also face a number of other consequences. Any time that you are in the criminal justice system, you need an experienced attorney on your side. 

You May Have Legal Defenses

Although prosecutors like to win easy convictions in DUI cases, many apprehended drivers may get caught up in a rush to judgment. The prosecutor may treat these cases like they are an assembly line, but you are anything but a cog. Each case stands on its own, and yours is no different.

Despite what any other perception says, you are innocent until proven guilty. You may have defenses that you can use to fight the charges against you that include:

  • The police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your car in the first place
  • The Breathalyzer or chemical test used was faulty
  • Police otherwise violated your rights during the arrest or afterward

A lawyer could at least review your case to determine whether you have an opening to defend yourself in court. 

Your Potential Punishment May Vary

Whether you plead guilty in a deal with the prosecutor or you are convicted of the charges, there is a wide range of punishments that you may face. First-time DUI convictions in Missouri can impose a sentence of up to six months in prison for a first offense. However, you could receive a suspended sentence or probation. Your case could even be moved to a diversion program (although that is rare in Missouri). The sentence that you receive could also determine whether you have a lasting criminal record. Your attorney could negotiate a deal with the prosecutor on more favorable terms than you may have received on your own. 

You Need to Understand What You Are Facing

Resolving your DUI case is not as simple as pleading guilty and serving the terms of your sentence. You could face other consequences. Depending on what you do for a living (for example, if you are a truck driver), a conviction could cost you the ability to earn a living. You may have other impacts on your future. You should at least know the ramifications of a conviction at the outset of the legal process to know how to proceed effectively. An attorney can review your case and your situation to let you know what you may be facing. You will have more information and knowledge than if you chose to proceed independently.

Contact a St. Louis DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI in St. Louis, and you are facing legal uncertainty, the attorneys at Richard H. Sindel, Inc. can help. Call us today at 314-866-2048 or contact us online to discuss your case.