A Helpful Guide On How To Choose A Lawyer After You Have Been Charged With Drink Driving
Why it's important to hire a lawyer when facing a drink driving charge
If you have been pulled over with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.05, then this is considered a criminal offence. You will be charged and given a notice to appear in court. If you are a probationary, learner or professional driver, your BAC is zero so, anything over that is over the limit. First-time offenders with a low range BAC will usually incur less harsh penalties than someone who is a previous offender or has a mid to high range BAC. Many factors can affect the outcome of your charge, and there is no hard and fast rule, it depends on the Magistrate and the circumstances surrounding the offence.
Drink driving charges can have lasting repercussions such as criminal charges and impacting your ability to work and travel overseas. Serious charges and repeat offenders face the prospect of a term in prison. It’s simply not worth risking your future going at it alone. A good traffic lawyer can help you to avoid the harshest penalties. The Magistrate will see that you are taking your charge seriously by appointing a lawyer to represent you.
What to look for in a drink driving lawyer
Experienced and specialises in traffic law
Most often, lawyers will specialise in one jurisdiction. To give you an example, family lawyers are unlikely to take on drink driving cases as they don’t work nor specialise in this area of the law. Experienced traffic lawyers handle drink driving cases daily, and this is the area that they have expertise in. They are up to date with the ever-changing traffic laws and rules and know exactly what needs to be done and said in the lead up to your court date and while at court. They can decipher legal jargon and go through your paperwork to ensure the charges laid against you are lawful and just. Your lawyer can help you obtain a work licence for you to maintain employment if needed.
All lawyers must undergo extensive training to be able to legally practice here in Australia. Ensure that the firm you choose has an experienced traffic lawyer handling your case, not offloading you to a paralegal.
You should be able to ask your lawyer questions without hesitation, it is essential that they are approachable and explain the process to you. You should understand your rights, what to expect on the day and the options available to you given your situation. There should be no uncertainties or unanswered questions. When you are choosing a lawyer, their willingness to answer your questions on the initial communication should give you an idea of what they will be like during the process.
Local to your area
Reputable traffic lawyers that are local to your area, will have extensive experience representing people in the court where your matter is to be heard. They know the Magistrates and where everything is. Not only that, but they are easier to get to for you when you have an appointment. It can save you driving a long way to see them.
Offers an obligation-free consultation
It is helpful if the traffic lawyer offers an obligation-free consultation, this way, you can choose whichever you feel most comfortable with without having to spend a fortune.
Has a high success rate of obtaining work licences for their clients
For a lot of people, one of their biggest concerns is losing their licence and not being able to drive to and from work, and rightfully so, employment is a primary source of income, and we all have bills. If you are eligible, your traffic lawyer will help you with the application and can fight for you to keep your licence on the day. Check what kind of success rate they have with helping to keep people on the road if this is something that is important to you.
How soon after I have been charged should I seek advice from a traffic lawyer?
We always recommend seeking legal advice as soon as you can after you have been charged. This will give your lawyer adequate time to meet with you and work out the specifics of your case. In the time from being charged to your court date, they can advise you of the steps you should be taking to put your best put forward on the day.