After a DUI Arrest, How do You Help Clients Face their Fears?
How Do You Tackle a DUI Case?
What are people’s reactions to being arrested and prosecuted for DUI?
Most people come to me scared. A lot of times, this is the first time, other than a traffic ticket, that they ever had negative contact with law enforcement. A lot of people are scared.
They have a lot of DUI questions: How is this going to impact my life? How is it going to impact my freedom? How is it going to impact my license, my job? How is this going to affect me in the long run?
Getting back to people who are first-time offenders, it becomes an inconvenience a lot of the times when they have to go through the ARD program. However, it goes away.
For people who have been arrested more than once or twice, it becomes a lot more serious. Their questions are: Am I going to do jail time? Am I going to do house arrest? How much jail time am I going to do?
Is there a particular backstory you hear from a lot of DUI arrestees, such as, “I only had two beers.”?
Most of the back stories I hear are very similar. I mean nobody usually intends to go out, get drunk, drive, and get pulled over or into an accident. Most people say: “I was at a restaurant;” “I was at an Eagles game;” or “I was at a wedding and I had a couple of glasses of wine, a couple of beers.”
Most of my clients come in and are obviously very concerned about what is going to happen to them. Very few come in and say, “Yes, I planned this out. I got rip-roaring drunk, and I hit somebody and hurt somebody.” Most of the back stories are, “Whoops. I made a mistake. Please help me.”
Once someone is arrested and charged with DUI, what consequences do they face?
It is serious. DUI in Pennsylvania is taken very seriously. It is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania if you get arrested for a DUI law. In a lot of other states, they are just traffic offenses. However, in Pennsylvania they fingerprint you. You get a mug shot. You get booked. You have an arrest record. The consequences are severe.
If you get convicted and your blood level comes in above the legal limit, there is mandatory jail time. There is mandatory minimum jail time the judge has to give you.
For example, this is a first offense and your blood level is in the highest level- over a 0.16. The law says to the judge he has to put you in jail for a minimum of three days. He is free to give you more. However, by law, he cannot give you less.
A lot of times, if the person winds up getting convicted, the judge’s hands are tied. Jail time has to be given. Really, the only discretion the judge has is where you serve the sentence, whether it is in prison or on house arrest.
A lot of people say, “Well, it is my fault. I did drink and drive. I just want to get it over with. I am thinking about just pleading guilty.” What is wrong with this approach?
People come in and say to me, “I am guilty. I did this.” My response is always, “Well, you may feel guilty. I am more concerned, as a defense attorney, whether they can prove you are guilty.”
There are a myriad of defenses you could use for Driving Under the Influence. The most common is whether the police have probable cause to stop your vehicle. That is the most common defense to a DUI.
There are situations where the police officer did not see the person driving. That certainly makes our case better if the officer did not actually view any unsafe driving behavior.
Should You Ever Plead Guilty to a DUI?
As far as pleading guilty, I tell clients, “You might not have to. You might be eligible for ARD.” I say, “You might have a great defense;” or “We could go to trial and potentially get you acquitted.” A very experienced criminal defense attorney looks at the evidence, requests discovery and determines exactly what evidence they have against the client.
I will never tell somebody to plead guilty; unless I am 1000% sure there is no other alternative.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.