There is no universal agreement among lawyers on whether a DUI (driving under the influence) suspect should show up for their court dates or not. Most DUI lawyers will tell you that it depends on the specific circumstances of your case. However, you can enjoy the following benefits when you make an appearance for your DUI trial:
It Shows Your Interest in the Case
Making a personal appearance in court signals to the judge, and more importantly, the jury, that you are taking the issue of your DUI charges seriously. This is important because the government itself is seriously working to reduce the number of DUIs and DUI-related accidents on the road.
Showing that you are taking the charges seriously may not make much of a difference for a first time DUI. This is especially true if there are no aggravating circumstances. Such DUIs are usually handled in routine ways, so whether you appear or not may not make much of a difference. However, it can be helpful in an aggravated DUI charge.
It Gives You a Chance to Testify
Testifying on your own DUI trial isn't always necessary or beneficial. However, it may be beneficial for you to testify if you (and your lawyer) want to show the court that the police officer who arrested you made a mistake. This is especially true if you truly believe that you weren't drunk or your BAC was below the legal limit at the time of your arrest. In such cases, the defendant's testimony may mean the difference between getting convicted and getting the case dismissed.
It Gives You A Chance To Show Your Character
Lastly, making a court appearance may be beneficial if you are facing an aggravated DUI charges or a DUI plus other related DUIs. Consider a suspect accused of DUI and child endangerment, which means they had a minor passenger at the time of the arrest. In such a case, you need to show to the court that you are a caring person, a good member of the society, and a family person who will never hurt a kid unknowingly. It may even be necessary to have a character witness to testify to these attributes. Making an appearance may boost your chances of winning or reducing the charges if you really are an outstanding member of the society and have the attributes mentioned above.
Your lawyer will advise you on whether it will help your case if you show up. Ultimately, however, it will be up to you to decide whether to show up or not.