Why should Alabama drivers hire a lawyer after a DUI arrest?

Following a drunk driving arrest, many choose to represent themselves, but hiring a DUI lawyer may help them protect their rights and limit their penalties.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reports there were 9,107 arrests for driving under the influence across the state in 2014 alone. The costs and other consequences of such arrests can add up quickly, and affect people personally and professionally. While many choose to act as their own representation in such cases, there are benefits to obtaining legal counsel, even for first-time DUI arrests.

Understanding of the laws

Most people are aware that they may be arrested for drunk driving if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .08 percent or higher. However, there are intricacies within the law, which may allow motorists whose BAC is under the legal limit to still be arrested. For example, drivers may be charged with DUI if law enforcement feel they are not able to drive safely and they are under the influence of alcohol and a controlled substance. Having familiarity with the laws, attorneys may be able to discern whether a person was legally stopped or if their rights were otherwise violated. Furthermore, they may help ensure people are not charged with harsher offenses than necessary or appropriate.

Fighting the evidence

With few exceptions, DUI arrests are based on drivers' performance on roadside and chemical tests, as well as law enforcement's observations. There are numerous factors, however, that may affect the results of such tests, and thus result in an unnecessary arrest. For instance, the presence of certain chemicals in the air during testing, some medical conditions or even eating some types of bread prior to a breath test may lead to inaccurate readings. Legal representatives are generally familiar with these potential influences. Moreover, they may know how to explain them to juries or judges in a manner that they will understand.

Dealing with the consequences

Depending on factors, including their prior arrest records, drivers may face a range of penalties if they are convicted of drunk driving in Alabama. For a first conviction, motorists may be sentenced to up to one year in a city or county jail, fined between $500 and $2,000, and subjected to a 90-day driver's license suspension. DUI lawyers are familiar with the state's minimum and maximum penalties, as well as the alternative sentencing options. They may draw on this knowledge to help mitigate the consequences people could face because of a drunk driving conviction.

The effects of an Alabama DUI arrest may last long after drivers pay their fines or serve their time, and touch their professional and personal lives. Thus, it may benefit people who find themselves in such situations to hire an attorney to aid in their defense. A lawyer may help ensure their rights are upheld throughout the process and that their voices are heard.