Do you need an attorney for your first DUI? Not only is the answer to that question a resounding yes, but it also applies to everyone -- civilians and officers alike. For narcotics officer Levaun Rudisill, after failing a field sobriety test and being charged with DUI, this means that he may have to look into lawyering-up soon, Philadelphia's KYW-TV reports.
Rudisill, 42, was leaving an Eagles game when he allegedly collided head-on with another vehicle. The 18-year-old driver had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. Rudisill is currently waiting to face his charges at a preliminary hearing in late October.
In the meantime, however, should he look into getting an attorney?
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
If you've been arrested or charged with a DUI, it is going to be a very, very difficult process to face the charge(s) on your own. A good DUI attorney will not only represent you, but in doing so, he or she may be able to minimize your possible sentence and penalties. Here are some factors you should look for when hiring a DUI attorney:
- Experience. You'll want to look for an attorney who is experienced -- if anything, at least in the type of DUI that you were involved in. The more experience a lawyer has had with your type of case, the more familiar they are with certain intricacies that may make all the difference in getting you a better outcome.
- Local. It's not only for the sake of convenience that you should definitely only look at local attorneys. Local attorneys are a huge plus because DUI laws will vary, often significantly, by location. So, even if your friend in another county or state recommended an excellent attorney, the out-of-town attorney may not be able to help you with your DUI if he or she is unfamiliar with the local DUI laws.
- Commitment. Of course, it's important to not only have a skilled, local attorney, but one that will be committed to you. If the attorney you seek out seems to be overloaded with cases already, you may want to consider shopping around a bit more.
Obtaining a Court-Appointed Lawyer
If you find that you are unable to afford a private criminal defense attorney for your DUI, you might be able to qualify for a court-appointed lawyer.
You may, however, have to prove your financial status before getting one. In Philadelphia, for example, you'll need to bring documents which verify your income or some proof of how you support yourself, and you'll have to sit through an interview to determine your eligibility for a court-appointed defense attorney.