Is It Worth Getting A Lawyer For A DUI?

driver with open bottle of alcohol in the seat beside him

Bail Bond for DUI

Florida is a spring break destination, a vacation destination, and a coastal city. These things bring people that want to party, relax, and often just “let it loose”. Meaning drinking and partying, and with that, the law enforcement is on constant watch for drivers’ DUI. Bail bond agents and agencies are always on standby. 

Is jail time mandatory for DUI?

No, a first-time DUI typically doesn’t get sentenced to jail time.  However, it is important to visitors that Pinellas County, Florida has a serious stance on DUI. The prosecution follows a strict zero-tolerance approach, which has earned the county acknowledgment of being one of the strictest counties. Between the years 2011 and 2017, over 90% of those arrested on DUI, bail posted, and court appearances ended up with a conviction or pleaded guilty. 

This doesn’t mean that a first-time DUI arrest in Pinellas County is hopeless with the services of an experienced DUI lawyer. For a first-time DUI arrest, you should request a lawyer, who will post your DUI bail and then guide you through the entire process. An experienced DUI lawyer will have several different strategies in an effort to avoid a DUI conviction or lessen the charges.

Is it better to refuse a DUI test?

With the zero tolerance stance in St. Petersburg, Florida, refusal to take a DUI test, like a breathalyzer, will get your driver’s license suspended for a minimum of 1 year. If it is your 2nd or 3rd DUI arrest, that suspension is a minimum of 18 months and possible jail time. 

After the arrest, you’ll be arraigned before a judge who will determine your DUI bail. With the bail amount set, your lawyer, family member, or friend can post your DUI bail. 

The possible downside to taking a DUI test will be the proof of your BAC (blood alcohol content). If it is over the legal limit, you could be sentenced with the following: 

  • License suspension
  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Required alcohol/drug education program

Possibly required to have an IID (ignition interlock device) installed in your car, at your expense. 

How do I choose a DUI lawyer?

If you are charged with a DUI, bail is going to be the first thing you’ll need to be concerned with. An experienced criminal defense lawyer with DUI expertise is who you need. They will guide you through the process, helping to keep your legal fees affordable and minimize the immediate expenses that typically follow an arrest. 

You should interview several lawyers, never assume the first one you talk to is the best one because they made you comfortable. If this is your first legal counsel encounter, you may easily be awestruck, but the more lawyers you speak to, you’ll begin to realize they are not all the same. You want a lawyer that will be hypervigilant about winning your DUI case. 

How do I choose a good DUI lawyer?

There are several indicators when a DUI lawyer isn’t the best one to choose. The first immediate sign of a bad DUI lawyer is when they urge you to take a fast guilty plea and accept a “DUI supervision”. A bad DUI lawyer will convince you this is a better option because you’ll pay less in fines. 

This plea ‘earns’ the DUI lawyer the retainer fee with a minimum amount of effort to fight for dismissal and minimum effort to communicate with you what is happening. By the time you realize this, it is too late. You are now under court supervision. 

As you interview different DUI lawyers, these are the things that you should follow to get a good DUI lawyer: 

Ask questions – never let a DUI lawyer make you uncomfortable about asking questions. This is a life-changing event for you and a good lawyer will understand your concerns. Not sure what questions should I ask a DUI lawyer? The following questions are recommended: 

  • Can my case be kept off the records? 
  • How many DUI cases have you tried before? 
  • What is your legal defense strategy to win cases like this? 
  • Is DUI  your specialty or do have other types of cases?

Roundabout answers – if the lawyer you’re interviewing never really answers your questions, they are probably going to be vague in court before the judge and jury too. 

Legal costs – a good DUI attorney should be able to tell you what your legal expenses are going to be for this entire process. You don’t need surprise bills when this is all over with, so request a written list of what you should expect to pay and when including starting with your DUI bail. 

Stay informed – good communication is critical in DUI cases. An ethical and honorable  DUI lawyer will be in constant contact with you about your case. They will take your calls or return your calls in a reasonable time. 

What do DUI lawyers look for?

Experienced DUI lawyers will have a variety of legal strategies after your DUI bail has been posted. Many DUI lawyers will immediately recommend you take a DUI/Drug driving course or submit to a counseling session. These are things that are typically conditions a judge will require, if you’ve already completed these, it shines well in your favor. 

After your DUI lawyer completes their review of your arrest record, police report, and any audio/video recordings, they will request an amendment to your charges or a reduction of the charges. A reduction may be a reckless driving charge instead of a DUI charge. 

  • The things a DUI lawyer looks for in this research process are: 
  • Was the stop done with a proper cause?
  • Was the arrest handled properly?
  • Were there problems with the DUI testing?

Each of these can be a defense for your DUI charges that if your lawyer can find an error or fault lead to immediate dismissal or at least a reduction of the DUI charge. 

How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

Your immediate expense will be your DUI bail bond.  Whatever the bail amount the judge rules, your DUI bail bond will typically be 10% of the amount through a bail bond agent or agency. If you pay the court direct, it will be the full amount.

For an experienced DUI lawyer, you can expect the total cost to be around $8,000 to $10,000  for the attorney part only.  There will be court fines to pay, which your DUI lawyer should give in the written statement we mentioned earlier. What if I can’t afford an attorney for DUI? As stated in Miranda Rights upon your arrest, one will be assigned to you. 

Other costs afterward could be loss of job, which can lead to other things, like loss of family and friends. Your community reputation will be affected, and any future employment may be difficult, especially if driving is involved. 

a car key with handcuffs and two glasses of alcohol sitting beside it

How long can a DUI case stay open?

In Florida, a DUI case can take up to six months to get a court date. If you are convicted on the DUI charges, they will stay on your criminal record forever. It will also go on your driving record forever. This will be another expense you can expect – higher insurance premiums. 

If you are in need of a bail bond for a DUI, give us a call at 727-571-9999.