The short answer is yes. Even a first offense DWI carries a potential punishment range of up to 180 days in the County Jail and a fine. Even if you are sure you are factually “guilty” you should still seriously consider an experienced DWI lawyer who knows the law, the science, and the ins and outs of the court system.
Your attorney will always force the State’s Attorney’s to turn over ALL of the evidence. The evidence should include, at a minimum, all of the police generated documents, the DVD or video of both the roadside and Intoxilyzer room, and witness statements, the Intoxilyzer breath testing slip or a lab report in blood test cases. Only when all of the evidence is available can you make intelligent decision about how to proceed. Even if you feel you were intoxicated, an experienced DWI attorney should be looking at issues such as:
- How do you look on video?
- Was the breath or blood evidence obtained lawfully?
- Was the breath or blood evidence obtained in such a way that it’s validity may be compromised?
- Was the stop of your car by police lawful?
- Did the police officer administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests correctly?
- Does the police report contain internal contradictions, or is it contradicted by the video?
- Will the State be able to locate and secure the attendance of the witnesses at trial?
So, even if you think you are guilty, do yourself a favor and hire an experienced DWI attorney who can analyze your case for weaknesses that may benefit you.