The decision of whether to hire a lawyer for a drink driving matter isn’t always an easy one. There’s no one size fits all answer.
Whether you will benefit from having a lawyer represent you or not depends on how comfortable you are speaking in court, the outcome you’re hoping to achieve, how serious your drink driving charge is and whether you would feel more comfortable knowing you have someone who knows what they’re doing guiding you.
We’re realistic too that the decision to hire a lawyer is also an economic one. There is a cost associated with hiring a good drink driving lawyer, but there is also a lot of value they can add to your matter. I often encourage clients to consider whether this cost and value fit into your economic situation and the value you place on your driver’s licence.
If you drive for a living, then hiring a lawyer is a no brainer. If your matter is a bit more complicated, perhaps because of an accident or a prior criminal or traffic record, then the expertise a lawyer can bring to your matter would be particularly valuable. And even in more straightforward cases, the security of knowing you have a professional handling everything can be well worth it.
A good drink driving lawyer will:
- Check all the details of the charge, including the police facts and your criminal and traffic records to make sure that everything is fair and accurate. There are a few rules around drink driving, such as the one that says that you can’t be breath tested if you make it home safe, which could be relevant to your matter. Engaging someone who knows and can apply all the rules can make a big difference to your outcome.
- Explain what to expect. If you have been charged with drink driving, no doubt you have a lot of questions: How long will the process take? Can I get my licence back in the meantime? What is my likely penalty? Will I go to jail? Will I get a criminal record? Will I have to speak to the magistrate?… Part of a lawyer’s job is answering your questions and helping you to understand what to expect for the journey ahead. This takes the uncertainty out of your matter and enables you to focus on preparation.
- Help you prepare. Most drivers charged with drink driving will be pleading guilty. But that doesn’t mean that they all get the same outcome. It is up to each driver to place evidence before the Court that tells the driver’s story beyond the bare facts of the charge. This helps the Court to decide the appropriate sentence in each case. Lawyers are experienced in gathering evidence and presenting it in ways that can help to avoid criminal records and reduce disqualification periods.
- Support you on the day. Court is an intimidating place, particularly if you have never been before and there is a lot on the line. Generally, all local court matters are listed at 9:30 am, and the Court takes the whole day to get through them. A good lawyer will feel at ease in this space, will likely know the magistrate and police prosecutors, will meet you before court starts and will often be able to guide you through in the first part of the day – so there should be limited waiting and no time when you don’t know what to expect. They also do all the talking for you, standing between you and the Court and advocating on your behalf.
The decision of whether or not to engage a lawyer can be a hard one. What I would say you do need, is an initial consultation with a lawyer to identify any complicating factors in your matter, point you in the right direction and outline the value that lawyer can add to your specific situation. That’s why at Ainsley Law we offer this for free. We believe this empowers our clients to choose the next steps in their matters better.
If you would like to speak to an experienced drink driving lawyer about your particular case, our team at Ainsley Law are more than happy to chat with you.
Please call us today at 0416 224 601 or leave an enquiry.