A criminal conviction for operating while intoxicated can have serious consequences, even when you are just facing first offense DWI charges. If you have been arrested and you are being prosecuted, it can be difficult to know where to turn or what to do next. For many people, their arrest for impaired driving is their first involvement with the justice system and it becomes especially hard to know exactly what to do to protect their interests.
Whenever you are charged with a crime, you need to ensure you do everything you can in order to avoid conviction or reduce penalties.
This means defendants faced with first DWI charges cannot afford errors which could end up making the outcome of their criminal case worse. Some of the common mistakes made by people who are charged for the first time include:
- Assuming they'll be convicted because their BAC was above .08. You do not have to give up hope of an acquittal, or even getting charges dropped, just because a prosecutor has some scientific evidence which can be used against you. There are ways to make the jury doubt whether the results of a breath, blood, or urine test conclusively prove you were over the legal limit. All you have to do is introduce reasonable doubt, and you can present experts and make legal arguments which may make this possible.
- Agreeing to plead guilty right away. You may believe the best option is to take a guilty plea and get the entire case over with. This is especially true if you are intimidated by your involvement with the criminal justice system. It is also a bad idea. While a guilty plea may sometimes end up being the best course of action, you need to explore all options first. You also need to negotiate with the prosecutor to try to get the best deal possible if you do decide you are going to try to plead guilty.
- Not hiring a lawyer or waiting too long to hire one. The sooner you get legal help, the more likely it is you will be able to raise doubts about the prosecutor's evidence, find your own evidence, or even get the prosecutor's evidence suppressed. An attorney can begin working on legal defense strategies right away so you have the best chance from day one of avoiding being convicted. Your attorney can also help you to meet all deadlines for fighting to protect your license and can begin investigating right away to explore ways to raise doubts.
Getting help from a lawyer allows you to avoid mistakes which can make a conviction more likely. You need to have a strong advocate on your side when your future is at stake due to the threat of conviction for a first DWI defense.