When you are accused of driving while impaired (DWI) you have the right to act as your own attorney. It is not uncommon for a person facing a DWI to forgo hiring an attorney and represent themselves. Regardless of their reasoning, taking on a DWI defense without legal counsel is risky. If you’re asking do I need a lawyer for a DWI in Minnesota, please weigh your options carefully. Cases that could otherwise result in an acquittal or dismissal might lead to a conviction without the guidance of skilled legal counsel.
Do not put yourself at unnecessary risk. Let a skilled DWI defense lawyer from Gerald Miller, P.A. help you maximize your chances of a favorable outcome in your DWI case. Call now to get started.
Misconceptions Regarding Minnesota DWI Attorneys
There are a variety of reasons why a person might choose not to seek the guidance of an attorney following a DWI arrest. Unfortunately, these reasons are often based on misconceptions regarding defense attorneys or an individual’s chances of success at trial.
One of the common reasons some people refuse to seek legal counsel is concern about the cost. While hiring a private defense attorney costs money, it is best to consider this expenditure as an investment. The money saved and hardship avoided by beating a DWI charge could be substantial.
Other individuals erroneously believe it is impossible to beat a DWI charge. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, people that feel this way are at risk of pleading guilty to a DWI charge that could have been beaten at trial.
Finally, other people go into a DWI case convinced they are best served by representing themselves at trial. If you’re wondering do I need a lawyer for a DWI in Minnesota, do not overestimate your skill. The reality is there are substantial risks associated with serving as your own attorney.
The Risk of Representing Yourself in Minnesota
There are countless pitfalls during the defense of a DWI case in Minnesota. If you take up your defense without the help of legal counsel, you are at risk of running into all of them. Some of the dangers that come with self-representation include:
- Lack of legal knowledge. The law is complex. There are a tremendous number of rules regarding he admission of evidence or the offense of DWI in general. Without a legal background or years of experience actively trying these cases, you could put your case at risk based on the things you do not know.
- Waiver of rights. You are protected by many rights when facing criminal charges. However, it is possible to waive some of these rights entirely. If you are unfamiliar with the legal system or lack training in the law, you could waive constitutional rights in your case without even realizing it.
- High stakes. The stakes for a DWI case are high. Even first-time offenders are risking a lifetime with a DWI on their record. Even if you feel you can adequately represent yourself at trial, it is in your best interest to give yourself every available advantage at trial. This starts with hiring a skilled DWI defense attorney.
- Knowledge of local custom. The process of defending a DWI can vary significantly from one court to another. Every judge and prosecutor are different, and only first-hand experience can show you what to expect from them. For example, some judges are far more likely to convict at trial than others. Understanding these differences between courts is impossible if you do not actively practice law in each of them.
- Division of time. Even if you believe you have the skill to take on the state and win, the amount of time needed to build a successful DWI defense is significant. Every minute you spend on your defense is a minute away from your work or personal life. Putting your case in the hands of an attorney allows you to rely on a profession while focusing your time on your personal life.
How a Minneapolis DWI Defense Attorney Could Help
Hiring an attorney to advocate for you during your DWI case is about more than just avoiding the risks of serving as your own attorney. The attorneys of Gerald Miller can actively improve your chances of an acquittal during your DWI case. Some of the ways an attorney could help include:
Negotiations are an important part of most DWI cases. Your attorney could negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair plea bargain or to negotiate your charges to a lower offense.
Negotiating is a skill that is obtained through experience and practice. The attorneys of Gerald Miller have extensive experience negotiating with the prosecution on behalf of our clients. What’s more, state prosecutors understand that we will not be bullied or pushed into an unreasonable plea bargain. The state frequently uses these aggressive tactics against defendants that represent themselves in court. These efforts are not successful when the attorneys of Gerald Miller are on the case.
Defense attorneys are not psychologists or trained to provide emotional support. However, in many cases a defense attorney will make up the only support structure a person accused of a crime has to rely on.
DWI charges carry a social stigma. The social consequences of merely being charged with DWI can lead to depression, stress, and embarrassment. Having an attorney by your side could provide you with a support structure that you can rely on during the course of your criminal trial.
Providing a Reality Check
Many people facing criminal charges—especially first-time offenders—do not have realistic expectations of the criminal justice system. It is not unusual for a person to assume their preferred defense is a surefire strategy for avoiding a conviction.
An attorney could provide a person charged with a DWI with a reality check. This could involve providing insight into the severity of a charge, the potential penalties a judge might hand down, or the likelihood of a conviction following a jury trial. Often, an attorney is the only person in a defendant’s life prepared to give them an honest assessment of their chances at trial.
An Understanding of the Criminal System
Insight into the law is one of the most valuable assets a defense attorney could offer a person accused of DWI. This involves more than just knowledge of the law itself. Knowledge of the local criminal justice system is impossible to learn without extensive hands-on experience in a courtroom.
Court customs and sentencing norms can vary not only from one city to another but also between different judges in the same jurisdiction. An experienced attorney could provide useful insight into a specific judge overseeing a DWI case.
Evaluate Your DWI Case in Minnesota
The strength or weakness of your defense might not be immediately apparent. One of the benefits of hiring an experienced DWI defense attorney is that your legal counsel could investigate every aspect of your arrest.
A thorough investigation could represent your best opportunity to build a winning defense strategy. For example, an investigation could determine if your traffic stop was illegal or if the state mishandled your blood sample.
Develop a DWI Defense Strategy
The defense strategy you rely on could make or break your DWI case. There are many different defense strategies to choose from, and your attorney will have the best insight into the right strategy for your case.
The right strategy in your case will depend on the facts. The investigation into your arrest will likely shape the defense strategy your attorney suggests for you. Some common defense strategies involve attacking the legality of the traffic stop. Others are focused on the impropriety involved in collecting a breath, blood, or urine sample. Sometimes, the best defense strategy is to simply focus on the lack of evidence offered by the state. The attorneys of Gerald Miller can work with you to determine the right strategy in your DWI case.
Discuss Your Case with a Minneapolis DWI Defense Lawyer
There are serious consequences that follow anyone convicted of a DWI. Even first-time offenders could face penalties with the potential to alter their life forever. Despite these risks, many people choose to serve as their own attorney in an effort to avoid the cost of hiring legal counsel. These risks could be reduced by hiring an experienced attorney.
You may be asking yourself, Do I need a lawyer for a DWI in Minnesota? Before you enter a plea bargain or attempt to represent yourself at trial, consider a discussion with an experienced DWI defense attorney. You could be surprised at the benefits that come with hiring skilled legal counsel. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are always ready to talk to you about your defense options. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
This blog was originally published on February 8, 2021 and updated on July 14, 2021.