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When Do I Need to Hire a DWI Attorney in Burnsville?

Unsure if you need a DWI attorney following an arrest in Burnsville, MN? There is no law requiring you to hire an attorney to aid in your defense. For some people, proceeding without legal counsel might seem to have its advantages. Chief among those is avoiding the cost of hiring an attorney.

Of course, there are risks associated with acting as your own attorney. The law surrounding DWI offenses is complex, and approaching these cases without a legal background could be risky. Even minor errors at trial could result in an unfair and unfortunate result.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to serve as your DWI attorney. We have years of experience in fighting these charges, and we could put that experience to work for you. Call as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Is there a Good Time to Act as your own DWI Attorney?

The truth is there is no good time to serve as your own DWI attorney. You might not have an obligation to take on legal counsel, but the failure to do so could result in an avoidable conviction.

One of the reasons you could require the assistance of an attorney is that you might lack the perspective or experience to make important decisions in your defense. You are likely to receive a plea offer from the state, but without any context, it is impossible to know if that offer is fair or not. When you hire an attorney, they could advise you if the offer is reasonable or if the prosecutor is pushing you to accept something that is worse than you might get if you take the case to trial.

The benefits of an attorney are especially clear at trial. Trying a DWI case is a complicated affair. You must understand the rules of evidence and know how to prepare witnesses to testify. If you make a mistake while representing yourself at trial, your avoidable error could result in your conviction.

Even if there are times when an attorney is unable to improve your plea bargain offer, the knowledge that it is the best offer available is valuable. Your attorney could also carefully review the records of your arrest and identify potential defenses you were not aware of.


Understanding Your Options for an Attorney in Burnsville

There are different ways to secure the counsel of an attorney. The extent of your options will depend entirely on the circumstances in your case. For example, you will always have the opportunity to hire the defense attorney of your choice. However, you might also be entitled to the services of a public defender.


Public Defenders

When you are charged with a criminal offense in Burnsville, MN, you are entitled to an attorney if you face the potential for incarceration. These rights are provided to you by the U.S. Constitution, and they cannot be taken away from you.

The state provides for defense attorneys known as public defenders. These attorneys are appointed by the court, typically after your arraignment. Because of the sheer volume of criminal arrests, public defenders are only available to those who show financial hardship.

There are some benefits that come with relying on a public defender. These attorneys typically have high caseloads, meaning they have seen a wide range of fact patterns. The odds are good that any public defender assigned to your case is likely to have some experience defending allegations of driving while impaired. This experience goes further, as they have likely spent substantial time in front of the judge that will oversee your case. This type of experience could be invaluable to you.

There are also downsides when it comes to relying on the public defender. Having a high caseload is a two-edged sword, as it also means they might not have as much time to focus on your case. This high caseload could prevent your attorney from spending the time and effort needed to build a winning defense strategy in your case.

It is also important to note that you do not get the chance to select your public defender. Instead, the court appoints someone from a pool of attorneys. That means you will have no say in who actually represents you in your case. Leaving your legal counsel to the luck of the draw is not ideal for many people facing DWI charges.


Private Attorneys

You also have the option to hire your own private attorney to defend you following a DWI arrest. Unlike a public defender, you have an obligation to pay the private attorney’s fee in exchange for their representation. While this is an obvious downside, there are numerous significant benefits that come with relying on a private attorney.

First and foremost, when you hire an attorney you are more likely to get the attention you deserve. Your attorney will have the ability to make time for you and your defense. This could provide you with a better chance of a favorable outcome compared to what an appointed lawyer might do for you.

One of the most important factors is that you have the right to choose your own attorney. You can make the ultimate decision on who to hire based on any qualifications you choose. Unlike having an attorney pointed for you, there is no leaving it to the luck of the draw. Instead, you can select an attorney that is best suited to defend you in your DWI case.


What Defenses Could an Attorney Rely On In My Case?

A key aspect of your defense is developing a strategy. Whether your case ultimately goes to trial or you accept a plea bargain, having a strong defense strategy could be valuable.

A DWI attorney could evaluate the facts of your arrest in order to determine if you have a viable defense. Seemingly minor details in your police report could inform your attorney about a mistake the police or prosecutors made. These errors could serve as the basis of a motion to dismiss or a defense at trial.


Challenges to the Traffic Stop

Challenging the underlying traffic stop is arguably the most common defense in a DWI case. This is because the police do not have the right to stop you for any reason whatsoever. If law enforcement pulled you over without a valid reason, any evidence following the stop could be excluded at trial.


Challenges to the Chemical Test

The crucial evidence in most DWI cases is the result of a blood, breath, or urine test. It goes without saying that excluding the results of these tests from the trial could be a major win for your defense.

There are strict guidelines that come with collecting or testing these samples. Police operating breathalyzer machines must be certified and the machines must be carefully calibrated. Lab technicians must also follow a certain protocol when testing blood or urine. The failure to meet these requirements could taint the results of the test and make it possible to exclude them from evidence.


Lack of Evidence

At the end of the day, the prosecutor has an obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove, operated, or were in actual physical control of a vehicle while you were impaired. There are times when the evidence the state provides is so weak that the best defense is to highlight these deficiencies.

Your attorney could select this strategy if you refused to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. The police usually rely on the results of these tests as they provide the strongest evidence of impairment. Often, the police will have little evidence outside of a minor traffic violation that you were impaired when you were behind the wheel. Focusing on this lack of evidence could help you secure an acquittal.


Let the Attorneys of Gerald Miller Help in Burnsville

You are entitled to a vigorous defense any time you are charged with a crime. However, you also play a part in that defense. Your most important role is to hire the right DWI attorney to handle your case.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you pursue a defense strategy that could avoid serious consequences. Reach out as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation.

About the author

Brodie Hacken

Brodie is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota with 15 years of experience. He is passionate about protecting the rights of his clients and ensuring they receive the best possible representation. When he's not in the courtroom, Brodie enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.

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