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Should I Get a DUI Lawyer for a First Time DUI?

The DUI charge and aggravating circumstances

In Pennsylvania, a charge of driving under the influence is taken very seriously because it endangers the lives of other Pennsylvanians at risk. If your case is more serious than a simple misdemeanor DUI, hiring a DUI lawyer becomes more important. For example, a DUI can become a felony in situations including:

  • Driving with a child in the car;

  • Causing injuries to other people or places

  • Driving with a very high blood alcohol content

  • Having an existing criminal record

In the instances of a more serious felony charge, when a DUI charge can result in imprisonment for a year or more, a DUI lawyer becomes more of a necessity than an option.

Plea bargain and sentence reductions

If a plea bargain is offered, a DUI lawyer can be of assistance by negotiating with the prosecutors or perhaps even reducing the sentence. While a plea bargain sounds promising, plea bargains usually only occur when the state of Pennsylvania is encountering issues prosecuting the case. In some instances, reduction of the sentence is possible in exchange for a guilty plea.

Similar to plea-bargaining, sentence bargaining can proceed much more smoothly with an experienced DUI lawyer who can negotiate a lighter sentence for a first-offense DUI attorney that may not have caused any other injuries. However, in both of these negotiations, having a lawyer present can make sure you’re not getting the short end of the stick.

For example, the prosecutor may want to impose restrictions such as random drug testing, license suspension, and other negotiations, but be bluffing about the amount of evidence they have in their arsenal. Hiring a DUI attorney to represent your interests at these hearings, is important because they can analyze the evidence present and make sure the punishment fits the crime.

Fighting a first time DUI

The decision to fight a first time DUI and the subsequent court appearances will proceed much more smoothly with an experienced DUI lawyer. However, this is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Being charged with a DUI is taken very seriously in Pennsylvania. On a purely practical level, fighting a DUI can anger a prosecutor and other law enforcement.

As a result, sometimes they work a little harder to make sure that the state of Pennsylvania wins, and if the evidence is there, they can get to the right result. In addition, while all Pennsylvania citizens have the right to stand before a judge to represent themselves, judges still expect the courtroom rules and procedures to be followed. This means that they will not give any forms of free passes to those self-representing.

Ultimately, for a first time DUI charge, a DUI lawyer is much more equipped to get a charge reduced or dismissed. Attempting to defend one's own rights without legal representation will not end favorably for the individual.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with us, contact our Pittsburgh office here. Call Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law today.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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