Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime that often involves facing several consequences. For example, not only does an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge involve time behind bars, but a driver's license can be suspended or revoked as well. The sentence set by a judge is based on several things, including the number of OWI crimes a defendant committed in the past. If you were charged with an OWI, you have the right to defend yourself whether it be via help from a public defender or by hiring your own lawyer. Due to the seriousness of an OWI charge and possible consequences, it is wise to hire your own lawyer.
What Does Your Criminal Record Look Like?
An important aspect of being worthy of the minimum sentence is your overall criminal history, as everything will be considered when dealing with a criminal case. If you have committed multiple OWI crimes in the past, your chance of getting the minimum sentence is less likely without help from a lawyer. When you have a legal consultation, your criminal background will be discussed, and being honest is the wisest thing to do. The reason is that lying or exaggerating the crimes you have committed in the past will interfere with how well a lawyer can defend you regarding the OWI charge. Honesty gives a lawyer the information he or she needs to intelligently respond to accusations made against you in court.
Is the OWI Charge the Only Crime in Question?
When you were driving under the influence of alcohol, any crimes that were committed during the incident must be considered in the fight for the minimum sentence. For example, were you speeding and putting the lives of other drivers at risk while you were driving under the influence? Did you cause a collision that left someone injured or in a life-threatening condition? If you were caught driving under the influence of alcohol but did not commit other crimes, it is easier to get a lighter sentence. Sometimes for even the most minor OWI offense, the maximum sentence is given, which is why you need to hire a lawyer.
Are You Planning to Accept a Plea Deal?
If you intend to accept a plea deal, it might not be in your best interest. For example, the deal might seem appealing considering the legal trouble you are in, but you can possibly get a lighter sentence. A lawyer can assess the overall crime that was committed and the plea deal offered, and let you know if accepting the deal is wise. If a lawyer does not believe the deal is in your best interest, he or she can fight for a lighter sentence or request a different plea deal.
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