A DUI charge does not always mean the person arrested needs an attorney. A first offense for an otherwise safe driver with no criminal record is usually minor enough to handle alone. However, there are many other instances when an attorney is necessary to avoid incarceration or to protect a reputation. Here are some examples of when to hire an attorney before taking any tests or making a statement.
Risk for Repeats
A second offense for a DUI could mean incarceration of up to six months and may cost as much as $2500 in fines and other penalties. Someone found guilty of the crime will also lose their license for a year. The penalties rise if the individual has had more than one charge against them in the past for DUI.
More Criminal Charges
People may also want legal aid when the DUI is just one of the charges during the arrest. There may have been an accident that alerted the police, the driver may have a suspended license, lack insurance or registration or be on probation for a different crime. When contacting a DUI defense attorney, Lancaster County, PA residents need to mention that they are at risk of multiple charges.
High Alcohol Content
Pennsylvania court systems apply more punishment for higher blood-alcohol levels. Drivers that know they have consumed a lot of alcohol should contact a lawyer as soon as the stop takes place. Refusal of chemical testing will result in a one-year suspension of the driver’s license and 18 months for repeat offenders. With a DUI defense attorney, Lancaster County, PA drivers can make an educated decision about whether it is worth this loss to refuse a test.
After the Arrest
Not everyone can hire a lawyer before they admit guilt or have a chemical test to decide their blood alcohol level. A DUI attorney can also help after the arrest to encourage the court to give a lesser charge, less severe sentence or to accept treatment and community service instead of incarceration.
The legal system in Pennsylvania considers driving under the influence a serious matter. Anyone suspected of the act needs to take the matter seriously as well. Contact the Law Office of Melissa R. Montgomery for advice today.