The term driving whilst intoxicated or DWI is usually used to describe someone who is in control of a vehicle but whose judgment is impaired because of alcohol or drugs or both being present in their system. A vehicle does not necessarily mean a car, but can also refer to motorcycles, boats, buses and trucks. If you are stopped and subsequently charged with DWI then you should look to hire a DWI Lawyer Mineola as soon as possible to represent you.
Because every state in the United States sets their own laws and legislation with regard to DWI offenses, the implications of being charged with this offense can vary from state to state. However, potential penalties include heavy fines, mandatory jail terms, probation periods, community service orders and even an elevated felony charge if you caused serious injury or death by your actions. You should also keep in mind that because every state makes it own laws, you need to hire a DWI lawyer who works within the jurisdiction where the offense took place and where your case will be heard.
You do have the right to represent yourself in court, but those that choose this route are rarely successful and most will end up with a court-appointed lawyer because the presiding judge feels they cannot adequately represent themselves. A court-appointed lawyer is an option for those who cannot afford to hire a private lawyer and someone will be appointed at the pre-trial hearing.
If you have previous convictions for DWI offenses then you can expect the penalties to be far more severe than for someone who is facing a first time offense. If you have previous convictions then you may wish to hire the lawyer who represented you before, that is if the previous offenses took place in the same state. For those on a first time offense finding a good DWI lawyer to represent them requires a little more time and research.
Asking around friends and family is a good way of getting recommendations for good lawyers in your area. The internet can also provide you with several contacts through legal directory websites which allow you to search for lawyers in your area and who meet your needs. You can also check out local press and directories for adverts from DWI lawyers and finally you can ask for a referral from the local bar association, although you may have to pay them a referral fee if you hire the lawyer they put you in touch with.
Your first consultation is usually free of charge and will give you the opportunity to find out more about their experience and qualifications. You also need to ask about those all important fees and find out about their working situation – do work in private practice or are they part of a larger firm of partners? In some cases, lawyers who work for larger firms will pass your case on to someone else, so you need to ask if they will be representing you or if they will pass it on to someone else.