When you are charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, you will not be required to plead guilty to the offense. Being charged with an offense does not mean that you are guilty. Even if you believe that you were driving while impaired, there are situations in which you should not plead guilty. If you plead guilty to a DUI, you will have a misdemeanor conviction on your record and face harsh penalties. The team at DiCindio Law can help you to figure out your legal options so that you might secure a better outcome.
Resolving DUI charges
In Pennsylvania, you have alternatives available to you to resolve your DUI charge. If you enter a guilty plea without talking to a DUI attorney, you will be convicted as charged and face criminal penalties. Pleading guilty early in a case also means that potential flaws in the state’s case might go undiscovered. When errors occurred, an attorney might have been able to get the charges dismissed. If you plead guilty, however, it is very unlikely that you will be allowed to withdraw your plea.
The facts and circumstances of your case help to determine what alternatives might be available to you. The most common choices are accepting a plea offer or entering a not guilty plea.
Negotiating a plea offer
Attorneys negotiate with the prosecutors to try to secure plea bargains to lesser charges than what their clients are facing. Prosecutors view plea bargains as a winning scenario because they are able to secure convictions. Plea bargains are also good for defendants because they receive reduced penalties. Courts encourage attorneys to negotiate plea bargains because their dockets are frequently packed. Allowing lesser crimes to be resolved through the plea bargaining process frees up the court’s time to try more important cases.
In Pennsylvania, some DUI cases can be resolved by agreements to plead guilty to reckless driving. While it is still more serious than other types of traffic violations, a conviction for reckless driving will normally not result in jail time and will have a much lower impact on your life than a DUI conviction might have.
Entering a not guilty plea
Another option that you have when you are facing DUI charges is to enter a not guilty plea. If the officer made mistakes in the stop, search, seizure, or investigation, a DUI defense lawyer at DiCindio Law might be able to win your case. Your lawyer will carefully evaluate the evidence and police reports in your case to try to identify mistakes that could be fatal to the state’s case against you.
What happens if you are convicted of a DUI?
Pennsylvania has harsh penalties for people who are convicted of DUI defenses. If your blood alcohol concentration is higher than the legal limit of 0.08% but lower than 0.10%, you can still face up to six months of probation, be forced to attend a traffic safety class, ordered to pay a $300 fine, and ordered to attend alcohol classes.
If you plead guilty to a DUI offense with a BAC that is 0.10% or higher, the potential penalties are much more serious. Even for a first offense, you can lose your driving privileges for one year, face potential time in jail, and receive fines of up to $5,000.
If you have prior DUI convictions, the penalties will also be more severe. It is important for you to try to avoid getting a single DUI conviction. If you plead guilty without thinking through your options, you may have missed an opportunity to protect your record and your future.
Why it is important to talk to a lawyer before pleading guilty to a DUI
An experienced DUI attorney in Pennsylvania might help you to avoid having a conviction for a DUI on your record. When you meet with your attorney at DiCindio Law, your lawyer will analyze the evidence and the police reports to identify the defenses that might be available to you. Prosecutors are required to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt. If problems occurred during the investigation of your case, your defense attorney might use them to defend against your charges. If the evidence in your case is strong, your attorney might negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This can help you to secure reduced charges and lesser penalties.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you should talk to an attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible. A lawyer might secure a better outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by submitting your information with our contact form or by calling us at (610) 430-3535.