What to Ask Your Philadelphia DUI Lawyer
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense that can impact every aspect of your life. A conviction can result in a license suspension, hefty fines, and may affect your ability to get certain jobs. When you’ve been charged with a DUI, you should contact a DUI defense lawyer right away to increase your chances of getting the DUI charged dropped or lessened. A DUI lawyer can examine your arrest and possibly find issues that would lead to you winning your case.
Before you hire a lawyer to defend you in a DUI case, there are several questions you should ask him or her to determine if the attorney is a good match for you and your needs.
What is Your Experience in Fighting DUI Charges?
While it is important to hire a lawyer who has a significant number of criminal defense cases under her belt, it would be advantageous if many of those cases were DUI cases. Many DUI cases involve field sobriety tests or other DUI-specific investigative methods. It is important to hire a lawyer who knows what types of tests are approved and reliable. Additionally, your lawyer should have knowledge and experience related to the administration of these tests. There may be instances where the law enforcement officer incorrectly administered a breathalyzer or other test, and an experienced DUI defense lawyer will know how to use that fact to your advantage.
What Are the Possible Punishments or Sentences for Those Found Guilty of DUI?
Your fines, probation periods, and jail time depend on many factors, such as the BAC at the time of the DUI and whether you have any prior DUI offenses on your record. If your BAC at the time of the DUI was between 0.08% and 0.10%, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and face six months of probation and a possible license suspension. Additionally, you can face a $300 fine and will be required to complete driver training.
When your BAC is between 0.10% and 0.16%, you can also be charged with a misdemeanor and may face jail time of 48 hours to six months. Fines can range from $500 to $5,000, your license can be suspended for one year, and you will be required to complete driver training.
A BAC over 0.16% results in a misdemeanor, 72 hours to six months in jail, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. You will be required to complete driver training and face a one-year license suspension as well.
Those who have prior DUI offenses on their records face even higher fines and longer jail times and probation periods. An experienced DUI lawyer can further explain the possible penalties of a first DUI and any subsequent offenses.
How Many DUI Cases Have You Defended?
Knowing how many DUI cases a lawyer has defended will inform you of the lawyer’s experience defending these cases. Knowing how many cases were dropped or reduced shows how well the lawyer handles these types of cases and whether he or she might be successful in defending yours. Of course, every case has a different set of facts and circumstances, but knowing how many cases similar to yours were dropped or reduced can help you to decide on whether to hire the lawyer or not.
Can My Charge Be Dropped or Reduced?
While there are penalties that can seriously affect your life, a skilled DUI lawyer can be successful in getting your charges dropped or reduced. Depending on your criminal record or lack of one, your DUI lawyer can help you apply to Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition programs or Intermediate Punishment programs that may result in less serious penalties.
What Are Your Fees?
DUI charges can already lead to hefty fines. Knowing how much your legal fees will be from the beginning is helpful when you are working on planning out payment options. Some lawyers will charge a flat fee, while others charge an hourly rate. There are times at which a lawyer will charge a flat fee until the case goes to trial. Once the case goes to trial, the lawyer may charge a trial fee. Additionally, some lawyers may charge you for the initial consultation, while other lawyers, such as Lauren A. Wimmer, will allow you to tell them your side of the case initially for free. Asking about fee arrangements from the beginning will help you to estimate how much money you’ll be spending on your case.
Who Will Be Handling My Case?
There are many stories of clients who hire a lawyer to defend their DUI or other criminal cases only to find out that the lawyer with whom they consulted is not actually working on their case. At your initial consultation, you should ask the lawyer you are interviewing whether he or she will be directly working on your case. There is no point in asking any questions regarding his or her experience and success if there will be a different attorney working on your case.
At What Times Will You Be Available for Me?
Because DUI and criminal law cases can be complex, it is understandable that you might have several questions throughout the process. It is important to hire a lawyer who will be available to answer any questions you might have. However, lawyers have other clients and may be unavailable at times due to hearings, trials, and meetings. You should ask the lawyer at your consultation whether there will be staff available to answer your questions or pass your message along as soon as reasonably possible.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Philadelphia DUI Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Philadelphia, it is important to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer immediately. DUI laws in Pennsylvania are strict, but an experienced DUI lawyer like Lauren A. Wimmer can analyze the government’s case and find weak points to reduce or dismiss a DUI charge. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact the Wimmer Criminal Defense Law immediately to discuss your case. Schedule your free consultation by calling 215-712-1212 or visiting our website today.