As a Michigan DUI and driver's license restoration lawyer, I handle the whole gamut of drunk driving and driver's license related work, from 1st, 2nd and 3rd (felony) drinking and driving offenses, to restoring driver's licenses for people after those 2nd and 3rd offenses. The name of my site, www.macombduidefense.com is a big a clue regarding my day job. Of all the people that I encounter, however, probably the most emotional and nervous are those facing a 1st DUI offense. Most of the time, these clients present as people who have never been in trouble before, and now they have to hire a lawyer and go to court for what is, at its core, a criminal charge.
My practice is unique in that I generally work with a more cerebral, educated and genteel client base. My clients are usually people with more at stake - meaning more to lose - than the average person. Many of my clients have professional licenses, good jobs, and a high degree of accountability and responsibility. Certainly, there is no one at my level of clients for whom a drunk driving is any kind of badge of honor. To a person, all of my clients want to make this whole DUI thing go away as much as possible. I can certainly make that happen to the extent factually, humanly and legally possible, but all the reassurance in the world won't completely obviate a person's concerns or trepidation as he or she moves through the DUI process.
Therefore, lets' begin this discussion on a positive note: Almost without exception, you do not really face going to jail for a 1st offense DUI. That means you should probably reconsider hiring any lawyer whose primary sales pitch is that he or she will keep you out of jail; that's about as meaningful and skilled as a dentist who tries to lure you in by promising not to drill through your skull when doing a filling. This is worth repeating: No jail in a 1st offense DUI case (the single exception being one Judge in the Bloomfield Hills 48th district court). Since Jail is, far and away, the biggest fear most people have, take a deep breath now that we've cleared that up. How sure am I of this? I have been handling DUI cases for 25 years. Thinking back over the last 10 or so of those years, I honestly cannot count the number of 1st offense cases I have handled, except to put that figure in the thousands. Out of all of them NOT ONE of my clients - meaning ZERO - went to jail. Now, has some of your tension finally dissipated?
Handling the legal side of things is obviously a core function of my job, but part of the whole title "attorney and counselor at law" implies help beyond the courtroom, as well. That calls upon the "counselor" part of the title. This is understandably lacking when a lawyer is young, or has limited experience with DUI cases. One would hope that changes with time. In my case, after a quarter century of working in this field, I have pretty much seen it all. I haven't yet had an astronaut as DUI client, but I've had scores of doctors, lawyers, nurses, endless numbers of engineers, and plenty of people for whom a DUI is not a career booster. In fact, I've had people who depend upon a commercial driver's license (CDL) for a living, and those for whom any criminal conviction requires notification of a licensing authority (usually in Lansing). I am intimately familiar with and know how to help my clients address those concerns that fall outside of the courthouse walls, and I am cognizant that uncertainty about them can often be more stressful than just the outcome of the DUI case itself.