Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in every state. People who are charged with this crime face punishments ranging from months to years in jail. They can also be subject to expensive fines and probation.
The punishment that you face as a DUI defendant will depend in part on the quality of your legal counsel. However, when you do not have much if any money to hire a lawyer of your own, you need to find one who can take your case for free. You can hire a pro bono DUI lawyer by knowing how to find one and what kinds of services that you can expect as a client.
Finding a Pro Bono DUI Lawyer
When you are charged with a DUI, you have the right to hire an attorney to represent you. You technically can represent yourself in court. However, if you are not well-versed in the DUI laws in your state, you do not want to risk the outcome of your case on your own legal inexperience.
To get the best outcome for your DUI case, you need an experienced DUI attorney to represent you. Even so, you may not have hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on hiring a lawyer. You may not even have enough money to put down for the lawyer’s retainer.
Rather than go into massive debt to beat a DUI charge, you can instead get the legal help that you need by finding a pro bono DUI lawyer. Many lawyers will not readily advertise the fact that they are willing to work for free. You have to know what resources are available in your city or state that can help you locate a pro bono DUI attorney.
One of the best ways to find a DUI lawyer willing to work pro bono involves calling your state bar association. This association governs the entire legal profession in your state. It also keeps track of what lawyers take cases for pro bono in the city in which you live.
You can contact the state bar association to ask for a referral to a pro bono attorney who takes DUI cases. The referral should come at no cost to you.
You also can find a pro bono DUI attorney by contacting legal aid in your city. Every state has legal aid programs that assist the low income, indigent and at-risk in obtaining legal help.
The services readily offer help to people whose freedom is threatened with criminal punishments like jail time for offenses like DUI. Depending on the timeline of your case and upcoming court appearances, you can be paired with an attorney who can begin working your case immediately and appear before the judge with you at your next court date.
Your last option for getting a pro bono DUI attorney is to ask for a public defender to represent you. When you are arrested for driving under the influence, the arresting officer will read you your Miranda rights. These rights under the Constitution entitle you to an attorney to represent you.
If you cannot afford to hire one of your own, the court will appoint a public defender to take your case. You must inform the officer who arrests or processes you into jail that you cannot afford an attorney and need one to be appointed to you.
Your attorney can be on hand during police questioning. He or she can also appear at your arraignment hearing when bail or bond will be set for you.
You are not entitled to an attorney to be with you if you are subjected to a blood or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content, however. You are subject to this testing because of the terms of your arrest and being suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Reasons to Hire a Pro Bono DUI Lawyer
You are not obligated to hire a DUI lawyer to represent you. However, you are highly encouraged to do so if you want the best outcome in court. Your pro bono lawyer can handle important matters that you can prove your innocence in court or help you avoid going to jail and having to pay expensive fines.
One of the first things that your DUI attorney can take care involves making sure that your traffic stop and field sobriety testing were lawful. He or she can review the arrest record and dash or vest camera footage to ensure that your rights as a defendant were not violated and that you actually failed the field sobriety test before you were arrested.
Your lawyer can also have your blood or urine sample tested at a third-party lab that is not affiliated with the police department or court. This testing will ensure that your BAC was actually over the legal limit and that you were rightfully charged with a DUI.
Your counsel will also appear with you every time that you go to court. Your lawyer will argue for you to have little to no bail set for your release, for example.
He or she can also argue in court for why you do not warrant the most extreme punishments for your offense. The arguments will be based on your prior driving record and criminal history. With a good lawyer’s help, you could pay a small fine or have to complete alcohol or drug awareness classes or complete community service for your offense.
A pro bono lawyer, regardless of how you obtain him or her to represent you, is obligated to give you the same high-quality legal services as he or she would to a privately paying client. You could win your case or avoid the harshest penalties of driving under the influence in your state by having a pro bono DUI attorney by your side during the case.
Hiring a DUI lawyer can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. When you do not have this money on hand, you need to find a lawyer to take your case for free. You can use available resources in your city or state to locate an experienced pro bono DUI attorney to represent you at no cost.