When you have an ailment or unusual symptom that causes concern, you go to a doctor and ask for advice. If the doctor's advice does not satisfy your concerns or leave you feeling better, you probably make an appointment for another doctor and perhaps another until you find a medical professional who will take your concerns seriously.
The same should be true for the advice you seek following your recent DUI arrest. Too often, legal professionals who have little experience defending drivers facing DUI charges have misconceptions about these cases that may leave your rights dangerously unprotected.
How strong is the evidence?
If the results of your blood alcohol content test were .08 or higher, many will conclude that you are guilty of drunk driving. After all, to get to the BAC test, the arresting officer likely administered roadside sobriety tests, which you must have failed, or you would not have been arrested. The best-case scenario is to accept a plea and reduced charges.
There are many flaws with this argument, beginning with the subjective and unreliable nature of roadside sobriety tests. Studies show that field sobriety tests are not scientifically valid, and a dedicated attorney may be able to have them excluded from your case. There is also the very real possibility that the equipment used to test your BAC was poorly calibrated and the officer administering the test was inadequately trained. An experienced defense attorney may challenge all these factors.
Why your case should deserve serious consideration
An attorney who recommends accepting a plea and considering it a win may be doing you a disservice unless the lawyer has already explored every option for excluding the tenuous and damaging evidence against you. A plea deal still leaves you with a conviction on your record for the rest of your life. Any conviction, even a first-offense misdemeanor, can change the direction of your life dramatically. Some of the consequences you may face include:
- License suspension
- Mandatory alcohol counseling at your expense
- Ignition interlock at your expense
- Community service
- Soaring car insurance rates
- Damage to your credit rating
The financial toll of a DUI can be brutal, especially since many employers or potential employers will not consider someone who has a DUI conviction, especially if the job involves driving or use of a company car. If you are unable to find or keep your job, it is only a matter of time before your finances begin to spiral.
You can see that the long-term results of a DUI conviction are far too serious to shrug off without making considerable effort at building a strong defense against the charges. If your Wisconsin attorney is not taking your charges seriously, you may need to look for new representation.