Fighting a DUI Without a Lawyer: Is It a Good Idea?
If you are facing a DUI charge, you may be tempted to do so without the help of an attorney. This is a serious decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. It's estimated that impaired driving is responsible for one out of every three fatal traffic accidents. The gravity of the offense means that prosecutors are often particularly hard on DUI offenders.
The outcome of your DUI case has a huge impact on your future. If you have no previous experience with the legal system, the risk of losing your case is high, and you might want to consider hiring a DUI lawyer near me.
What Is a DUI Charge?
A DUI stands for driving under the influence. A person is considered to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol when their Blood Alcohol Content is 0.08% or higher. General impairment refers to BAC up to 0.099%. High BAC is 0.10% to 0.159% and highest BAC is 0.16% or more.
The potential penalties of a DUI charge vary depending on how high the person's BAC was, and how many prior offenses they have. They typically include fines, license suspension, and even jail time. General impairment includes charges that range from a $300 fine and six months probation to a second-degree misdemeanor and up to two years in prison.
The highest BAC content with two or more prior offenses could lead to a first-degree misdemeanor, fines of $2,500 to $10,000, and up to five years in prison. Commercial drivers and minors could be subject to higher penalties, no matter their BAC.
The stakes are high if you decide to represent yourself following a DUI. You must take advantage of any legal advice and resources that you have. The main reason most individuals choose to go it alone is they believe they can't afford a lawyer.
However, the costs are minimal when you consider the financial, and other, risks that you are facing if you lose your case.
Consider the following to determine if you have a chance of winning on your own:
Was there a real, legal reason for the traffic stop? Officers must have a sound basis for stopping you in the first place.
Were your Miranda Rights read to you in completion? You could have the case thrown out if they weren't.
What field tests were done? If you have allergies or use medications that can cause bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or other symptoms of impairment, you may be able to challenge the field tests. Other physical conditions like vertigo can interfere with the perceived passing of a sobriety test.
Police errors are often the easiest way to beat your DUI case. Examine the records thoroughly and compare what you find against the Pennsylvania state laws and any advice you have obtained.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
More long-lasting challenges come with a conviction that goes beyond the initial fines, probation, and other penalties. A DUI conviction remains on your record for the rest of your life, unless you have it expunged. It becomes part of the public record and can affect your future in critical ways.
To start with, auto insurance companies putting together a quote can see the conviction and likely charge you higher premiums. The conviction will be seen by future employers who run a criminal background check. The information can also impact your credit and make it more difficult to obtain a loan.
Hiring a DUI Attorney
While it is possible to win your DUI case without the aid of an attorney, you stand a far better chance if you decide to hire one. An experienced lawyer already understands the legal process and the best routes to take to get your case thrown out. Your lawyer will work with their expertise, and the evidence, to avoid convictions, or at least limit the potential fallout of a loss.
Invest in yourself, and your future, by hiring the experienced professionals at The Law Offices of Matthew Kelly Associates. Contact us today to request your free consultation and give yourself the best defense possible to win your case.