Getting arrested for drunk driving can be a confusing and anxiety-producing experience. While probably understand that an arrest does not necessarily lead to a conviction, it may feel like the deck is stacked against you. The police officer that arrested you may have pressured you into taking a breathalyzer test that indicated that you were over the legal limit, aggressively questioned you as to how much you had drank before you drove, and told you that you were going to go to jail and lose your license.

The indignities associated with being arrested do nothing to help the situation, either. People who are arrested for drunk driving are generally handcuffed, put into the back of a police cruiser, and forced to share a cell with other people who have been recently arrested for hours if not overnight. The entire experience of a DUI1 arrest may make you feel like a criminal and that trying to fight your case is hopeless.

Yes. You Need a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Attorney

It is important to understand that the police are not legally capable of making determinations about your guilt and innocence. If you have been arrested, the officer simply had probable cause to believe that you were drunk, and even that fact is questionable, as law enforcement makes serious mistakes on a regular basis. They will write up a police report and forward it to the prosecutor’s office, who will then determine whether or not to formally bring a case against you. If the prosecutor does decide to proceed with a case, he or she is required to prove every element of the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

This process affords a skilled defense attorney many opportunities to challenge the state’s case against you. Some of the more common defenses raised in a Philadelphia DUI case include the following:

  • Arguing that the officer that stopped you did not have legal justification to detain you in the first place
  • Introducing evidence that indicates that the office that administered the breathalyzer test lacked the training and experience necessary to properly administer the test
  • Establishing that you have a medical condition that causes symptoms that are similar to common signs of alcohol intoxication
  • Establishing that you have a medical condition that may cause unreliable breathalyzer results
  • Impeaching the credibility of the officer that investigated your case

An  Philadelphia DWI Lawyer can Help Even if Defenses are not Available

It may the case that you were, in fact, driving drunk, and that the officer that investigated your case did his or her job correctly. Sometimes, it makes sense from a strategic point of view to agree to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor handling your case rather than taking your case to trial. Generally, this occurs when the probability of a guilty verdict is high and the deal that the prosecutor is offering will significantly limit the potential consequences you are facing. For example, a prosecutor with a fairly strong case may agree to recommend that you be placed on probation if you agree to plead guilty but will seek jail time if you decide to fight the case. In the circumstance, you may want to take the deal in order to avoid more serious consequences from being accused by the court.

It is important to understand that prosecutors will generally only negotiate with defense attorneys. The reason for this is simple: there is no real risk of a non-attorney DUI defendant of successfully defending himself or herself in court. When you retain an attorney, he or she will point out any weaknesses in the state’s case against you and work to get you the best plea arrangement possible. In some cases, an attorney may even be able to get you into a diversionary program2 that avoids a conviction from being entered on your record if you successfully complete it. a result, anyone accused of DUI should call an attorney as soon as possible.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation with a Philadelphia DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in the Philadelphia area, you should contact The Zeiger Firm as soon as possible. Brian Zeiger is an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney who is committed to helping people who have been accused of crimes protect their legal rights and stay out of jail. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Zeiger, call our office today at 215-546-0340 or send us an email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.038..HTM

2 http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/234/chapter3/chap3toc.html

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