Fighting Your PA DUI
Many drivers charged with Pennsylvania DUI worry that fighting the charges is a waste of time and money, especially if they "failed" a field sobriety test or a chemical test. Clients often ask if there is any point to fighting a Pennsylvania DUI charge. This question is completely reasonable. In fact, there may be excellent reasons to fight the drunk driving allegations.
The stop of your vehicle can be challenged, as well as the arrest, the results of the field sobriety tests, breath tests, and the blood or urine testing.
Our criminal justice system presumes you are innocent of Pennsylvania DUI unless a judge or jury convicts you. In order to find you guilty of a Pennsylvania DUI charge, all 12 jurors must be convinced of your culpability beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jurors cannot agree on a unanimous verdict, the case will result in a "hung jury," which could be an excellent outcome in a Pennsylvania DUI case. Although prosecutors have the option of retrying cases with hung juries, they sometimes opt not to do so, which means the charges will be dismissed.
There are several disadvantages to pleading guilty to your Pennsylvania DUI charge without even exploring the possibility of challenging the case. The most obvious is the penalties - pleading guilty means that you can be sentenced to fines, probation, a driver's license suspension, and possibly even jail time. Although these consequences are possible if your defense is unsuccessful, pleading guilty means that punishment will be automatic.
Another disadvantage to pleading guilty to a Pennsylvania DUI charge is the possibility of increased punishment if you're arrested for drunk driving again. Pennsylvania has a 10-year lookback period for DUI offenses, which means that if you get arrested for DUI within 10 years of a prior conviction, you'll face a second-offense driving under the influence charge. However, if your second DUI arrest occurs more than 10 years after the first one, it will be treated as a first-time drunk driving charge.
It may be possible to fight your Pennsylvania DUI charge and win, but you'll never know if you plead guilty without first exploring your options. The Pennsylvania DUI attorneys at Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. can review your case to determine whether the district attorney's case has weaknesses that are open to challenge. Please contact us today for a free consultation.