If you have been arrested for a DUI in Broward County, you are likely feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and have many questions. Some of the most common questions include the following:
Do I need to hire a Broward DUI attorney or can I just represent myself?
While you certainly have a constitutional right to represent yourself in court (also known as representing yourself “pro se”) for your DUI charge, this is not a wise choice. Florida’s DUI laws and court procedures are notoriously complex and difficult to navigate. Reaching a favorably outcome in your DUI case requires experience, specialized legal knowledge, and a high-level of technical skill—as such, there are very few non-attorneys who can competently and successfully represent themselves for their DUI charge.
The stakes are too high to take any chances since even just a first-time DUI conviction carries penalties including: a conviction on your permanent criminal record and on your driving history for 75 years, possible jail time, substantial fines and court costs, driver’s license revocation, mandatory DUI school, 50 mandatory community service hours, social stigmatization, and potential loss of employment. There’s no question about it—if you want the best shot at avoiding these steep penalties and getting your charges reduced or dismissed altogether, you need to hire an experienced Broward DUI attorney such as Yale Galanter and his team of lawyers at the South Florida law firm of Galanter Law.
How do I find a reputable Broward DUI attorney?
Some options for finding a reputable Broward DUI attorney include:
- Get a strong reference from a friend, family member, or colleague who has previously used or referred a Broward DUI lawyer. While word of mouth may not be the only thing you want to rely on, it is often a strong indicator of whether the potential attorney is worth hiring.
- If you can’t get a reference from someone you know, one option is to go to the Broward county courthouse and politely ask the bailiff, the court reporter, and the courtroom deputy which Broward DUI attorney they would hire if they were charged with a DUI and wanted the best chance at winning the case.
- Make sure the Broward DUI attorney you are considering hiring is eligible to practice law in Florida and find out whether he or she has ever been disciplined by the Florida Bar. To do this, go to the Florida Bar website and then click on “Find a Lawyer”. Enter the first and last name of the lawyer and the city, if known, and click on the “Search” button. Click on the attorney’s name to be taken to the attorney’s page, which will display the status of the attorney (e.g., “Member in Good Standing”, “Disbarred-Not eligible to practice”, etc.). On this same page, you’ll also see a “Yes” or “No” written next to the 10-Year Discipline History section. If it says “No”, this means that no disciplinary action has been taken against the attorney in the past 10 years. If it says “Yes”, click on ”Yes” to learn the specific disciplinary sanction, action date, and reference number for the court documents.
When should I hire a Broward DUI attorney?
You should hire a Broward DUI attorney immediately after you are arrested for DUI. The first thing that happens after you are arrested for a DUI in Broward is the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will automatically suspend your driver’s license for up to 18 months. You only have 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest to challenge the suspension in formal review hearing with the DHSMV. If you do nothing, your license will be suspended. Additionally, you’ll want to hire a Broward DUI attorney prior to your arraignment so he or she can advise you on whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or not contest. Contact us at Galanter Law immediately to begin the process