Calling a criminal defense attorney might not be something you would like to do, but it is often the right course of action. If you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges for a DUII in Oregon and you are under the age of 21, then it is almost always the right course of action. Because drunk driving is such a stigmatized criminal offense in our society, you will need to put your best foot forward in forming your defense. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicants; your DUII conviction could affect you personally, financially, socially, and professionally.
For young people just starting their careers, this conviction can affect the course of their entire life. When 17% of all fatal car crashes involve an under 21-year-old intoxicated driver, but only 10% of licensed drivers are under 21, it is easy to see why so many judges, juries, and prosecutors take these crimes so seriously. Even if no one was injured in your case, and even if this is your first offense, the consequences can be severe.
What should you know and do if you are an underage driver facing DUII charges? While only your criminal defense attorney can provide specific legal advice about your situation, there are some important things to consider.
Call a criminal defense attorney.
This is the number one action to take following an arrest for drunk driving. Ideally, this should take place before talking to any police officers, but rarely does. Be aware, if you cannot afford a criminal defense attorney, you still have the right to representation.; public defenders often handle many cases at once, which is why most people choose to hire a private criminal defense lawyer whenever possible.
Your attorney will not only make sure that your constitutional rights are protected during every step of the legal process, but they will also advocate for you. For first offenders, it is sometimes possible to have charges dropped if the defendant agrees to certain conditions. A criminal defense attorney will be able to request alternatives to jail time such as the DUII diversion program.
Tell your attorney everything.
Criminal defense lawyers are there to help you. They are bound by law to maintain confidentiality and privilege. It is important to be completely honest with your attorney about your situation, so that they are better able to represent you. Honesty will help with anticipating the questions the prosecutor will raise at trial, and it will also help determine whether or not it is a good idea to go to trial or to negotiate a plea deal.
Your lawyer has likely handled dozens of cases like this before. When you are given legal advice by your attorney, remember they are an expert. Advice and guidance are some of the most important things an attorney can give you involving your legal troubles.
While facing a DUII charge as an underage driver can be terrifying, remember that you really are innocent until proven guilty. To stay that way, call a criminal defense attorney as your first line of defense for DUII cases. With legal assistance, a DUII arrest does not have to change the course of your life.