People charged with drunk driving in Ann Arbor commonly ask whether or not they should represent themselves or hire a drunk driving attorney. Though there are pros and cons to each position, I strongly recommend you obtain counsel such as a public defender or private attorney for legal representation. Self-representation may result in increased penalties and sentencing. Read my tips below for information on why you should hire a drunk driving attorney.
1. Quality Legal Advice & Representation
An experienced Ann Arbor drunk driving attorney can provide you with quality legal advice and representation. For instance, a drunk driving attorney can review your case in depth and recommend an appropriate course of action to take for the specific charges asserted against you. The earlier you consult with an attorney, the more time she will have to prepare a viable defense on your behalf. She will be able to spot minor details in the police report that could mean the difference between you spending time in jail versus serving probation for an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge.
2. Secretary of State Hearing Representation
In addition to providing legal representation for criminal charges, an attorney can also provide you with representation during your driver’s license hearing. Oftentimes, when a person is convicted of drunk driving in Michigan, his or her driver’s license will be suspended or revoked. Individuals may have to attend a hearing in order to petition to have his or her driver’s license reinstated. It may be in your best interest to take an attorney with you to this hearing to challenge any evidence asserted against you.
3. Plea Bargain Negotiation
Depending on the circumstances of your drunk driving case, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a reasonable plea bargain on your behalf. A plea bargain occurs when you, or your attorney, agree to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser drunk driving offense than the one charged. A plea bargain can either be initiated by your OWI attorney, or the prosecutor. Your attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not you should accept or reject a plea deal.
For instance, accepting a plea bargain for a lesser offense can be a good option for you if it allows you to avoid the risk of obtaining a guilty verdict for the higher penalty offense at trial.
4. Trial Experience
Although you have the legal right to represent yourself at a drunk driving trial, I do not recommend such course of action. Self-representation is extremely risky. There are several trial procedures that you may be unaware of that may jeopardize your argument and result in you losing your case. An experienced trial attorney will know which motions and objections to make in order to exclude harmful evidence from the proceeding that may result in a criminal conviction.
If you have been arrested for a drunk driving offense in Ann Arbor, contact Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Stacey Washington for legal advice. Stacey Washington has helped numerous clients mitigate any long-term consequences of OWIs/OWPDs.