Maybe you got caught up in a mass enforcement effort around the holidays, when drunk driving crashes tend to spike. Perhaps you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and encountered an officer convinced that your medical issues or anxiety were really signs of intoxication.
If the state has charged you with driving under the influence (DUI), the penalties you face could be significant. Pennsylvania can fine you, incarcerate you or suspend your license. How can you protect yourself when facing a DUI charge in Pennsylvania?
Don’t immediately decide to plead guilty
One of the fastest ways to do permanent damage when charged with a criminal offense is to enter a guilty plea right away. Many people hate the idea of going to court and worry about how embarrassing a trial might be.
In reality, the average DUI case will attract very little attention. You may even be able to plan for your date in court and arrange ahead of time to take paid time off so that you don’t even miss a day from work. Rather than pleading guilty because you think you can’t defend yourself, it is probably a better option to try to fight back against the charges.
Know your most basic rights
You have the right can get help from a lawyer when the state charges you with a crime. Making use of that right, even for a nonviolent offense like a DUI, can drastically increase your chances of successfully defending yourself.
Additionally, asserting your right to remain silent when police officers talk to you after a drunk driving arrest is crucial. Anything you say on your way into state custody or prior to arraignments could wind up becoming evidence against you. Choosing not to share details with either the police or anyone else in holding with you will protect you when your case goes to court.
Learn the details of the case against you
Your driving history and the circumstances of your arrest will play a major role in the case against you. You need to know what evidence prosecutors will use in court to plan a way to defend yourself. You could challenge the police officer’s decision to pull you over or possibly the seemingly inaccurate results of the breath test.
Looking into the evidence against you and knowing your rights before you get arrested can make it easier for you to defend against DUI charges in Pennsylvania.