If you have been charged with drunk driving in Pennsylvania, you might wonder whether you need to hire a DUI lawyer or if you can handle the case on your own. There are several reasons why you should seek legal advice from an attorney when you are facing drunk driving charges. An experienced lawyer might help you to minimize the penalties that you might face and to secure a more favorable outcome. Understanding when you should retain a lawyer can help you to avoid jail and could potentially help you to avoid losing your driving privileges. The DUI Defense lawyers at DiCindio Law can help you to understand the options that you have.
Why hiring a DUI lawyer is important
Being arrested for drunk driving is serious. A DUI is a criminal offense that could result in severe penalties and having a criminal record. Depending on whether it is your first offense, a second or subsequent offense, and your blood alcohol concentration, you could face a sentence to jail or prison, lose your driving privilege, be assessed stiff fines, and face other penalties. Being convicted of a DUI can also cause problems with your job and your future ability to find employment. If you caused a DUI accident that injured or killed someone else, you might also have to deal with psychological trauma on top of the penalties.
A DUI charge is not a minor traffic violation. While it is possible for people to handle some types of legal issues on their own, a drunk driving arrest should prompt you to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer who understands how to handle your case. An experienced DUI attorney understands the drunk driving laws and the types of potential defenses that might be raised. He or she might challenge specific aspects of your case because of his or her knowledge about blood or breath testing, DUI stops, standardized field sobriety tests, and others. Because of the knowledge and legal experience of a DUI attorney, he or she might be able to help to protect your driving privileges and to secure a reduction of your charges.
Hiring a DUI lawyer for a first DUI offense
Some people think that they do not need to hire a DUI attorney to represent them for a first DUI offense. They might think that because they do not have criminal records, the courts will be more lenient. However, the DUI laws in Pennsylvania provide for stringent penalties based on your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest. If you are convicted, your penalties will fall within the range given for your BAC level regardless of the fact that you previously had a spotless record.
If you are convicted of a first-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.10% or higher, you will also face an automatic suspension of your license. An experienced lawyer might help you to secure a plea to a lesser offense or assist you with obtaining an occupational limited license so that you can get to your job.
People who hire private DUI attorneys are likelier to secure better outcomes to their charges than people who are represented by public defenders or who try to represent themselves. Public defenders often have huge caseloads and might not have sufficient time to spend on your case. If you represent yourself, you may not have the requisite knowledge to identify problems with the state’s case against you. Prosecutors are less likely to extend favorable plea offers to people who represent themselves. A private attorney may have more time to investigate your case and to build a strong defense case for you. This might help you to obtain a better offer or to win dismissal of your charges.
Dealing with aggravating factors
If your case has aggravating factors, you can face enhanced charges and more serious penalties. Some examples of aggravating factors include a repeat offense, an accident causing property damage, injuries, or fatalities, driving under the influence with a child in your vehicle, and others. If your DUI case involves these types of aggravating factors, hiring a lawyer may be critical for your future. An attorney might work to gather mitigating evidence to try to secure a better outcome for you.
Obvious reasons when you should retain a lawyer
If you did not drink anything and were arrested for a DUI, hiring a good DUI defense attorney is very important. A lawyer can review the circumstances of your stop and arrest and the testing that was performed. You should never assume that you will win your case simply because you are innocent. A lawyer can challenge how the standardized field sobriety tests were administered, the reason for your stop, and any inaccurate breath test results.
How an attorney can help
When you hire a lawyer to defend you against DUI charges, your attorney can help you to prepare for court and to understand what to expect. A lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf and file motions to challenge certain types of evidence if there were problems in how the police investigated your case. In some cases, a lawyer might secure a plea to a non-DUI traffic offense or win a not guilty verdict at a jury trial.
While hiring a lawyer might cost money, having the help of an experienced lawyer might help you to obtain a better resolution to the charges against you. If you can afford to hire an attorney, choose someone who is experienced in defending people against DUI charges. Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law is an experienced criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor. This experience allows him to have insight into how prosecutors build cases against people who are charged with driving under the influence so that he can anticipate the arguments that might be raised. Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535 or by submitting your information with our contact form online.