Although some may choose to represent themselves, there are several benefits to obtaining legal representation following a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania.
A fun night out can abruptly turn serious when motorists are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence. In 2015 alone, there were 47,177 drunk driving arrests across the state, according to the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System. Although some drivers who find themselves in such situations may choose to act as their own legal representation, there are several benefits to hiring a lawyer to handle their DUI cases.
Familiarity with the charges
There are three levels of DUI in Pennsylvania - general impairment, high BAC and highest BAC. The level and severity of the charge people may face depends on factors such as their BAC level and their prior record. DUI lawyers understand the requirements for each charge, as well as for each level of offense. They may use this to help ensure those they represent are appropriately charged, and to seek a reduction of the charges when the situation allows.
Understanding the possible penalties
The consequences of a DUI arrest may include fines, jail time or probation, a driver's license suspension, compelled use of an ignition interlock device and mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program. The court determines the specific penalties a driver who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of drunk driving based on the minimum and maximum sentencing requirements, the circumstances of their arrests and other factors. Attorneys who focus on DUI defense are familiar with the potential consequences, and often understand where there is leeway. They may draw on this knowledge to push for penalties that emphasis counseling, as opposed to the harsher potential consequences.
Fighting the evidence
Very often, drunk driving arrests are based on law enforcement officers' observations, driver's performance on field sobriety tests and the results of chemical testing. On their own, stumbles on roadside tests or readings of elevated BAC levels may seem insurmountable evidence to overcome. However, there may be evidence for such things beyond intoxication. Drunk driving lawyers may have experience presenting such arguments to judges and juries, giving them insight into how best to make such a case. Additionally, familiarity with the law enforcement protocols enables them to push for evidence to be thrown out in cases when they are not followed.
Working with an attorney
A drunk driving arrest may have a profound impact on the lives, both personally and professionally, of people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Therefore, those who are facing DUI charges may benefit from obtaining legal representation. A lawyer may help ensure their rights are upheld throughout the legal process, as well as aid them in establishing a solid criminal defense.