If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Cumberland County, you might be wondering if it’s worth your time and money to hire an attorney, particularly if the prosecution has offered you a conditional or probationary sentence. Working with a DUI lawyer has several benefits, including having someone there to explain the possible penalties and collateral consequences of a guilty finding or plea. Below we’ll review eight reasons to hire a DUI defense attorney.
5 Things to Expect When You Hire a DUI Lawyer in Cumberland County
A good DUI lawyer will provide accurate information about your case, from any collateral consequences you might be facing to whether or not there are constitutional issues to be raised before the court. Attorneys are experts on the details of the law, and many clients find consulting with a lawyer to be an intelligent way to ensure they’re prepared for what lies ahead.
DUI statutes can be surprisingly complex, with possible penalties depending on factors such as your BAC and any prior criminal history you might have. It’s usually best not to rely on the prosecutor’s representations when it comes to an issue as critical as your freedom. Consult with an attorney to ensure you fully understand the full extent of what a guilty finding or plea might mean for you.
The vast majority of criminal charges don’t go to trial but are rather resolved through plea bargaining, a trend driven mainly by the desire to avoid the potential of receiving a higher sentence if convicted after trial. While the decision of whether to take a plea or go to trial always rests in your hands, it’s usually a good idea to at least consider any offer extended by the prosecution.
Having an experienced Cumberland County attorney review any plea is the best way to determine if the offer is fair and worth considering. Because DUI attorneys deal with these cases on a regular basis, they can accurately evaluate plea bargains and provide guidance based on their training and years of experience.
3. Trial Preparation and Representation
If you decide not to accept a plea, chances are you’ll probably be heading to trial, in part because prosecutors simply don’t tend to dismiss cases. In addition, there’s not really a mechanism judges can use to sua sponte throw a criminal case out of court. Attorneys spend years learning how to deliver effective courtroom representation, from mastering the rules of evidence to delivering powerful closing arguments.
Most experienced attorneys and judges would advise caution if you’re considering representing yourself. It’s important to remember that if you go to trial on your own, you’ll be facing an experienced prosecutor in an adversarial process during which the judge is obligated to refrain from providing you with any legal guidance or assistance. Retaining a DUI defense lawyer in Cumberland County, PA, is a smart way to get the best possible resolution for your case.
4. Expert Witness Help
DUI cases are surprisingly complex, with tons of moving parts, from the constitutionality of the initial stop to the calibration of the breathalyzer. It’s often beneficial to work with an attorney with experience representing clients charged with DUI, in part because they regularly work through the technical issues involved in these sorts of cases.
Experienced DUI attorneys often turn to experts at just about every stage of the process, using information provided by scientists and other qualified individuals to explore possible defenses. Because DUI attorneys do this kind of work every day, they are often in an advantageous position to quickly find relevant experts to get your case resolved as quickly as possible.
5. Jurisdictionally Relevant Sentencing Knowledge
Pennsylvania DUI statutes offer judges relatively wide sentencing ranges that are often guided by factors such as your BAC and prior criminal history. While judges are all bound by statutory guidelines when sentencing, experienced attorneys will tell you there’s often tons of variation between the penalties handed down by judges, even ones in the same jurisdiction.
DUI attorneys regularly appear before the same judges, giving them deep insight into sentencing patterns. Many clients find working with an attorney to be a smart way to obtain the information needed to make good decisions throughout the process, ultimately reducing their stress levels and allowing them to get started moving forward with their lives.
Now that you know what to expect if you work with a DUI defense attorney, you have all the information you need to make a good decision about whether to go it alone or work with a lawyer. If you decide to consult with an attorney for advice, make sure to look for someone with plenty of experience representing DUI clients in the jurisdiction where your case will be heard to get the most out of your representation.