If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Philadelphia, you have an important decision to make: Are you going to hire a DUI lawyer to handle your DUI case? For many people, the answer is clear—they want to do everything they can to mitigate the consequences of their arrest, and this means putting their defense in the hands of an experienced attorney.
But, for others, the decision is not so easy. Maybe they are concerned about the cost, or maybe they are not clear on what an attorney can do to help. If you are not sure whether you should hire a lawyer, here are 10 reasons why we strongly recommend that you contact us for a free consultation:
Reason #1: You Could Be Facing Jail Time
Depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and your prior record, you could be facing jail time as a result of your DUI arrest. As a first-time offender, jail time is a possibility if your BAC was 0.10 percent or above; and, if you have a prior DUI, you could be facing enhanced sentencing (including mandatory jail time). While some states classify DUI as a traffic infraction similar to reckless driving, in Pennsylvania it is a criminal offense. As a result, you need to do everything possible to avoid a conviction in court.
Reason #2: You Could Be Facing Other Penalties
In addition to jail time, a DUI conviction carries various other penalties under Pennsylvania law as well. The specific penalties you are facing will depend on the circumstances of your case, but may include:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Financial penalties
- Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation
- Mandatory alcohol treatment and highway safety school
If your license is suspended, you may be eligible to apply for an occupational limited license (OLL) after 60 days. While this will allow you to drive yourself to and from work, you will not be permitted to driving elsewhere, and violating the terms of your OLL could lead to additional penalties.
Reason #3: A DUI Conviction Goes on Your Criminal Record
Since a DUI is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania, a DUI conviction goes on your criminal record. This has a couple of important implications. First, if you get arrested again, the consequences will be more severe. Second, the consequences of your current DUI arrest will extend long past the end of your jail sentence, probationary period, and driver’s license suspension.
Reason #4: A DUI Conviction Can Have Various Collateral Consequences
These long-term consequences are important; and, even though they are not part of your formal sentence, they could very well have the greatest overall impact on your life. In most cases, having a DUI conviction on your criminal record means:
- You will not be considered for many job positions for which you are otherwise qualified
- You will be disqualified from many housing and financing opportunities
- If you are in college or planning to attend college, your DUI could negatively impact your application
Reason #5: Attorneys at the Prosecutor’s Office Will Be Fighting to Convict You
Regardless of whether you hire an attorney to represent you, there will be an attorney on the other side of your case. The prosecutor’s office takes DUI cases very seriously, and most Philadelphia prosecutors have years or decades of experience handling criminal cases on a daily basis. So, without legal representation, you will be at a disadvantage.
Reason #6: The Criminal Justice Process is Complicated
On top of the fact that you will have prosecutors fighting to convict you, the criminal justice process is complicated. From your arraignment to plea deal negotiations to trial, all aspects of your case will involve complex legal procedures, and you will need to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced DUI defense attorney in order to make sure you are presenting an effective defense.
Reason #7: You Could Have a Variety of Defenses Available
From challenging your breath test results to asserting your Constitutional rights, there are a variety of ways to defend against a DUI charge in Pennsylvania. However, in order to (i) determine which of these defenses you can assert, and (ii) effectively assert the defenses that you have available, you are going to need an experienced attorney on your side.
Reason #8: Even if You Think You are Innocent, You Could Still Be Found Guilty
Some people choose not to seek legal representation because they believe they are innocent, and they believe that this means they cannot be found guilty in court. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with this approach. First, Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are complicated; and, even if you think you are innocent, you could be wrong. Second, even if you are innocent, being convicted is still a very real possibility. Wrongful convictions happen all the time, and it is usually unrepresented defendants who fall victim to this injustice.
Reason #9: Even if You Think You are Guilty, You Could Still Have Your Case Dismissed
On the same token, if you think you are guilty, this does not mean that the outcome of your case has already been determined. With all that is at stake, you cannot afford to make these kinds of assumptions; and, regardless of the facts of your case, an experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to find a way to fight your charge on your behalf.
Reason #10: The Costs of Legal Representation are Far Less than the Costs of a DUI Conviction
Finally, if the cost is a concern, we can tell you that the costs of a DUI conviction are far greater than the costs of hiring an attorney to fight your DUI and/or seek a reduced sentence. We represent individuals from all backgrounds and in all occupations, and we will make sure you have a clear understanding of the costs associated with your case before you commit to our representation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Philadelphia DUI Lawyer Brian Fishman
Are you facing a DUI charge in Philadelphia? If so, we strongly encourage you to contact us before you try to handle any aspect of your case on your own. To speak with DUI attorney Brian Fishman in confidence as soon as possible, call 267-758-2228 or request a free consultation online now.