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I made a mistake and got a DUI. What can an attorney do for me?

By George E. Lepley, Jr.

Many people think that driving under the influence is an open and shut case. You drove the car, had your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested, and the results indicated that you were above the legal limit. You may determine that you made the mistake, and your only option is to plead guilty and accept your punishment. After all, an attorney can’t make your BAC decrease, right?

In Pennsylvania, DUI charges are divided into three tiers depending on your BAC. The tier you are charged with factors into the length of any possible sentence and/or probation, as well as the length of license suspension. An attorney can negotiate with the District Attorney and possibly reduce the tier you are required to plead guilty to in the event your BAC is close to the cut off. In addition, in the event you employment will be terminated because of a DUI, an Attorney can include this information in discussion with the District Attorney and attempt to negotiate a plea to an alternate charge. Just like you consult a doctor when you know you’re sick in order to find out exactly what’s wrong and what specific medicines will help, you will want to consult an attorney who has a familiarity and a relationship with your area’s police departments, courts, judges and others who will impact the outcome of your case.

A DUI charge is a criminal charge. Like any crime, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Your attorney will work with you to reconstruct the events leading up to the arrest, discuss the arrest itself, and consider your past driving record to advise you of your options. Factors such as faulty testing equipment and medical issues can be brought to light with the help of expert witnesses, and your attorney will have access to experts who can testify on your behalf to help your case.

First-time offenders in Pennsylvania may be eligible for pre-trial programs like Pennsylvania’s ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition). If you are accepted into the ARD program, it is very similar to being on informal probation for your DUI. You will not have to serve any jail time, but you will receive supervision for a period of 1 year while you are participating in the program. Once you complete the required conditions of the ARD program, the DUI charges will be dismissed and your record will be clear. An attorney can petition the court for a reduced period of supervision in the event you complete all of your requirements and pay your costs and fines.

Time is Important

If you have received a DUI, even if it is your first offense, contact me immediately. While the events leading to your DUI are fresh in your mind, I will meet with you to discuss the details of the case, along with your options, so that I can help you mount a strong defense.



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