When most people think about facing a DUI charge, they often leap to the worst-case scenario of a full felony criminal charge with hefty fines and possible jail time. While repeat offenders often face harsher punishments, most first-time offenders are viewed with a bit more leniency. In fact, in most states, individuals caught driving under the influence for the first time are charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Though the charge carries fewer consequences and more relaxed punishments, you’ll still need to hire an experienced Denver criminal lawyer to help with your case. Here’s why.
Misdemeanors are Still Serious Charges
Though the term misdemeanor carries with it the connotation of being worth little more than a slap on the wrist, the charges are far more serious. Misdemeanor charges can still earn you significant punishments
like jail time, extensive community service as well as drivers’ license suspension. Without the right attorney backing your case, you’ll be at the mercy of the judicial system. Though some judges understand that the first time can be an accident, others are keen to discourage future incidents by giving the harshest sentence possible.
Crimes Get Placed On Your Record
Even misdemeanors end up on your permanent record. This means that all employers, landlords, and any other party performing a background check will learn about your criminal charges. Anything you’ve been convicted of, whether a misdemeanor or felony, will appear on your record with a list of offenses being made visible to these individuals. For many people, even a first time offense can impact the likelihood of qualifying for a new lease, getting a new job, or even cause your insurance rates to increase. The last thing you want is for unsubstantiated charges to become part of your criminal record, and an experienced defense attorney will work to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Representing Yourself Requires Detailed Knowledge of the Law
When you let an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you in your hearing, you’ll have the benefit of their years of training and expertise to help reduce your sentence and punishments. Without help, you’re on your own arguing which charges are valid, determining if the charges brought against you have any legal basis, and whether or not the proposed sentence is fitting of the crime. Remember, any charges against you must be supported by relevant and legally acquired evidence.
If You Have an Existing Record, Help is Even More Important
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor in the past, getting help from an experienced attorney is even more important. Remember, the longer your record, the more severe the punishment will likely be. Having an experienced attorney fighting on your side will help ensure that the punishment is both fair and appropriate, even if you have an extensive rap sheet.
Whether you’re facing a felony charge or your first misdemeanor, let the team at the Law Office of John L. Buckley help you with your case. Our experienced legal staff believes that no one should have to go it alone in the courtroom. Call (303) 501-1800 or contact us
online to schedule a consultation.