Mesa, AZ criminal law attorney Keith R. Nelson talks about the benefits of meeting with a lawyer when facing a DUI charge.
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The first thing anyone needs to know who’s been charged with a DUI is that Arizona has some of if not the harshest laws in the nation for a conviction of a DUI offense. It behooves or frankly, it makes sense to meet with a DUI attorney even if you decide not to hire one. The state has a pretty low burden in proving a DUI. They have to show that they had reason. That law enforcement had a reason to pull you over. That law enforcement had a reason to conduct an investigation. That a valid toxicology test was taken either blood or breath. And that either your blood was over the legal limit, you have some type of drug in your system, or you were impaired to the slightest degree.
I’ve met with many people before where I’ve reviewed the police report, I’ve talked with them, and I’ve let them know that the plea offer that they have is likely the best offer they’re going to get and they may not hire me. On the other hand, I’ve gone through discovery and found places where we can help individuals who’ve been charged with a DUI.
And frankly, sometimes people have said, “Keith, even though I’ve been charged and I want to go in and plead guilty I want someone there who understands what I should be offered and in essence, holds my hand to go through the process.” Someone that they feel comfortable with to help them get through a difficult time. So even if someone understands that they were over the legal limit and they broke the law, it’s good to have a second set of eyes look at all of the evidence to make sure the state can prove their case and someone who can explain to you what your rights are as you go through the process of accepting a plea deal.
On the other hand, there are times where fighting this and taking it to trial is a great decision because the state has either violated one of your constitutional rights or frankly, can’t meet the burden that’s placed upon them to prove a DUI.