Serving Rhode Island & Southern Massachusetts with Offices in: Newport, Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket & Warwick
If you've been arrested for a DUI or OUI, DUI Lawyer, Sheeley Law will protect your rights and defend your freedom.
A conviction for DUI in Rhode Island or OUI in Massachusetts will dramatically affect your life and your lifestyle. At a minimum, your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked, you will have to pay a fine, and your insurance premiums will increase significantly. You may even have to go to jail. You need a DUI lawyer to help you in a case like this.
Know that a DUI conviction is not a certainty, even if you blew over .08. Before you decide to plead guilty, you should speak with an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer. Ann Sheeley has more than 25 years of experience, including DUI Cases, in the Rhode Island and Massachusetts court systems. Diligent and determined to win, criminal defense attorney Sheeley carefully prepares each case, looking for factual issues or flaws in the prosecutor’s case that could lead to a positive outcome.
If you were arrested for DUI/Drugged Driving because you were under the influence of Marijuana, or another controlled substance, click here.
Q. Is it worth getting a lawyer for a DUI?
A. Yes, a DUI is a serious offense that requires the help of an experienced DUI lawyer for several reasons. First, you will have important questions that need immediate answers. From the moment you get pulled over, you’re likely to experience a range of emotions, including being scared and confused, yet you will be expected to make consequential decisions very quickly. Trying to make these decisions on your own could cost you much more than a lawyer would in the long run. An experienced DUI attorney can answer your questions and help ease your concerns. They will guide you through the entire process, examine the specific details of your case to determine if there are any defense strategies, and importantly, protect your rights.
Second, Rhode Island and federal DUI laws are too complex to navigate on your own and a public defender will not provide you with the strongest representation due to their lack of time and resources. The only way to ensure the best outcome for your case is to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side. In addition, your attorney will make sure that you do not miss important deadlines to pay fines, attend driver retraining school, complete community service or petition for a hardship license. Having a DUI lawyer to present your case to the judge can greatly increases your chances of being awarded limited driving privileges so you can continue to work and live your life.
Third, having a skilled DUI lawyer on your side can positively impact the outcome. A DUI conviction can have life-altering consequences. Current and future employers, landlords, banks, and any anyone that can google your name, will be able to see the arrest on your public record. A competent DUI lawyer will critically examine all the details of your case to see if there is evidence that can be presented to the judge to reduce or dismiss your charges, some of which may be able to be expunged off your record at a later date.
Q. Should I get a lawyer for my first DUI?
A. Even if you have never been arrested before and you have a clean driving record, the answer is still YES, you should get a lawyer for your first DUI arrest. Some people make the mistake of assuming they don’t need an attorney for their first DUI offense and they can fight the charges by themselves. Or, they believe hiring a DUI attorney is too expensive and not worth the cost. The reality is, there are too many issues that can impact your case and the severity of penalties depends on a multitude of factors, including your blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) at the time of the arrest, and if your DUI resulted in any injuries or fatalities. While being a first time-offender does work in your favor, it certainly does not mean you are off the hook. While representing yourself in a DUI is certainly your own constitutional right, you are more likely to have your charges reduced or your case dismissed on your first offense if you are represented by an experienced DUI lawyer. Furthermore, if you were to ever get arrested for a second DUI, you’ll want the least number of charges on your record prior to going before the judge as a repeat offender.
Q. What is the first thing I should do after getting arrested for a DUI?
A. The first thing you should do if you are arrested for a DUI is exercise your legal right to make a confidential phone call and contact Rhode Island DUI Attorney Ann Sheeley while you are at the station. The stakes are too high, the consequences can be too severe, and a conviction has the potential to negatively impact your life for many years. A DUI lawyer will guide you through the process and examine your case to see if you were pulled over with probable cause, a field sobriety or chemical test was properly administered by the police, whether your rights were violated at the time of the arrest and evaluate other circumstantial evidence to build your defense strategy with the goal of getting your charges reduced or dismissed.
Q. Can you beat a DUI with a Public Defender?
A. If you are arrested for a DUI, you will be given the option to hire a private attorney to represent you or have the court assign you a public defender if you financially qualify. While a public defender will not cost you any money, the benefits of hiring an experienced DUI lawyer almost always outweigh the cost.
The first issue to consider is that you will not be able to choose which public defender will represent you and your case. The public attorney assigned to represent an individual is usually the same one assigned to the courtroom in which the case will be heard. Another difference to consider is a private DUI lawyer can go to court on your behalf, whereas you will be required to go to court with a public defender. Moreover, a public defender will not appear on your behalf before the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. Almost always a DUI will also bring charges to be heard at the Traffic Tribunal. Consequences at the Traffic Tribunal can have a significant effect on your DUI charge.
While many public defenders are competent in the areas of DUI law, they often carry heavy caseloads and work multiple cases simultaneously. Unfortunately, due to their lack of time and resources, you may not receive personalized attention and may encourage you to enter a guilty plea in order to push your case through the legal system faster. If you hire an experienced DUI lawyer, like Attorney Ann Sheeley, they will be completely invested in your case, ensure your rights are protected and work hard to achieve the most favorable outcome.
The odds of you getting your charges reduced or dismissed will be far better with an experienced DUI attorney than with a public defender, and the ultimate costs can be less expensive if you hire a private attorney versus a public defender.
Q. How much does a DUI lawyer cost?
A. Each and every DUI case is different and there are a lot of factors that determine how much a DUI lawyer will charge for your case, including whether or not it is your first offense, if your DUI resulted in an accident, or caused any injuries or death, and even how much you can afford. Most criminal defense attorneys charge a flat fee that is based on their estimation of the amount of time your DUI case will take and the effort that will go into building a solid defense strategy. This fee arrangement also takes into consideration the likelihood of an agreement, or plea bargain, being reached. On average, the cost to hire an experienced DUI lawyer can fall in the range of $2,000–$5,000. The single most common reason why someone who was arrested for a DUI hesitates to hire an experienced DUI attorney is the fear of not being able to afford quality legal representation. However, you must consider that hiring an attorney can help get your fines reduced, which in the end, may actually cost you less than if you did not hire an attorney.
Q. How long does a DUI case take?
A. There are many factors that can impact the amount of time necessary to resolve a DUI case, including the amount of time needed to investigate a case, gather all the sufficient documents like the police report, lab results from a chemical or blood test, any witness statements, etc. Then, your DUI lawyer will need sufficient time to build a solid defense strategy. Where you got arrested can also be a factor. Some courts have more cases per judge than others. The wheels of justice are slow to turn and a DUI case can awhile to be fully resolved, meaning the case has been either been dismissed or the judge has issued a sentence. For routine cases, a DUI case can take four to six months to fully resolved. However, if you have a complicated case, it could take a year or longer before you know the final outcome.
Q. Should you plead not guilty to a DUI?
A. A reputable DUI attorney will almost always insist that you plead not guilty in your DUI case. In fact, there is usually no benefit for a driver arrested on a DUI charge to plead guilty to a judge during their first court appearance. The prosecution bears the burden of proving its case in a court of law. By pleading not guilty, you buy valuable time for your DUI lawyer to critically evaluate all the circumstances surrounding your arrest in order to build an effective defense strategy that could result in your charges getting reduced or dismissed. If you decide to plead guilty, you will have no opportunity to argue your case and will likely hand down the maximum penalty for your criminal offense.
Q. Can a lawyer get you out of a DUI or can a DUI case be reduced or dismissed?
A. Yes, it is possible to have your charge reduced or dismissed. However, NO lawyer can or should guarantee you that your case can be reduced or dismissed. It is unethical for lawyers to promise you a favorable outcome just to obtain your business.
An experienced DUI lawyer will spend a considerable amount of time reviewing and investigating the evidence in order to prepare an effective DUI defense. Remember, you have rights under both Rhode Island and federal law that need to be protected. It is not uncommon for the police to use improper protocol to obtain evidence illegally or for the police to violate your constitutional rights. If you were pulled over only because an officer observed you leaving a bar, or you were out driving late at night, for example, that does not constitute probable cause and your attorney should insist that the judge prohibit the use of all evidence the officer obtained, which can result in the reduction or dismissal of charges.
In addition, how the officer determined you were driving over the legal limit can have a major impact on your case. Police officers have strict rules they must adhere to. For example, requiring a driver to walk in a straight line or to stand on one leg are tests that require flat ground surfaces. Furthermore, arresting officers are required to explain and model the exercises before they administer the test to the driver. Their failure to do so can have a major impact on a conviction. Your DUI attorney may be able to argue that the arresting officer did not properly administer the field sobriety exercises, resulting in a false positive test.
A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can argue various circumstances surrounding their client’s arrest with the goal of having the charges dismissed or reduced.
DUI/OUI Defense Strategies
When you choose our law firm, attorney Ann Sheeley will thoroughly review the events leading to your arrest. Ann Sheeley will look for issues that could lead to a dismissal of the charge or reduction to a non-alcohol driving offense.
Some of these issues include the following:
Lack of reasonable suspicion for the police to stop you
Improperly conducted field sobriety tests
Lack of probable cause to arrest you
Inadmissible breath or blood test results
Denial of your constitutional rights
Police officers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts sometimes make mistakes when investigating drivers for drunk driving offenses. Ann Sheeley will review dash cam videos, the post-arrest police report, police station videos and other evidence looking for mistakes that could form the basis for an effective defense. When results matter, turn to Sheeley Law for results.
Find Out If You Qualify for a Hardship License
Rhode Island now has a conditional Hardship License which may allow you to continue driving to and from work, school or medical appointments. Call Sheeley Law to see if this might apply to you.