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Yes, and here’s why. I had a case in which one of my clients got a legitimate DUI; he had been drinking and driving. A couple of weeks later the client was coming back from school and they had taken a prescription painkiller and were involved in an accident.
The accident had nothing to do with whether or not this client was impaired. In the accident, he hit his head on the windshield and was bleeding, so they took him to a hospital, where they gave him more painkillers. He was so disoriented, he didn’t know what day it was, and an officer had to remind him. He ran into the officer a couple of days later and didn’t remember him.
While in the hospital, the officer asked him to consent to a blood draw and obtained his blood and charged him with a second DUI. The offer at first was for two first-time DUIs, so that he would do the mandatory minimum, which looked like a great deal at first, since the second DUI wasn’t going to be enhanced.
But then I told the prosecution that I didn’t think the search was valid because he didn’t have the capacity to consent because, due to his head injury and his disorientation from the drugs. If he didn’t realize what day it was, there was no way he could have consented.
That charge was dismissed and he only had one DUI, so suddenly the plea wasn’t so good. Someone who didn’t know what they were doing may have taken it anyway without thinking, but an attorney knows whether or not the officers did things right, and whether the stop was constitutional. An attorney can look at the blood draw and the Intoxilyzer 8000 and know the weaknesses in the case that someone representing themselves will never know.
Attorneys go to court for our clients and we handle things that can make the difference between conviction and dismissal. We also save them time, energy and stress.
For example, when there’s a DUI, there is a civil NBD hearing happening at the same time as the criminal case, and there’s a way for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing to strategize to keep your license as long as possible, take the suspension, avoid SR-22 insurance, and deal with the criminal case. We help time everything so that the impact of the sentence doesn’t hit you all at once, and also keep you from having to spend many hours going to court, because we go for you in many cases.
We help strategize to create minimal impact on your life and to keep you organized so that you are not completely (for lack of better word) screwed.
You should definitely hire an attorney. If it was my sister, my brother or my family member, they ask me whether or not they should hire an attorney, I would 100 percent say yes.