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5 Reasons to Hire a DUI Lawyer

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dui lawyer in west chester pennsylvaniaDrinking and driving is an inherently dangerous proposition, and not only for the grave risk of injuries and fatalities for yourself and others. The potential consequences of a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) are serious, and can derail your life.

Indeed, on an average day in Pennsylvania, 28 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred, injuring about 18 and killing one. Though alcohol-related fatalities are declining slightly, crashes are increasing. In Chester County, about 15 persons die every year in alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Many people try to handle DUI charges on their own, or they may work with an assigned public defender in the effort to minimize the effects of their DUI. If you have been charged with DUI and are considering your options, there are several reasons to think about hiring an experienced DUI lawyer instead, including:

1. You Are a Commercial Driver

Perhaps you are a truck driver, delivery driver, or bus driver. If your livelihood depends on your driver’s license and clean driving record, a DUI conviction may result in more than the inconvenience of fines or probation; you may lose your job. If your case has particularly high financial stakes, you should use a DUI lawyer to advocate for you.

2. You Dispute the Charges

How was the evidence of DUI collected? Did you consent to a blood test or breathalyzer? Did the readings appear accurate for the circumstances? A DUI lawyer will advise you on how to plead. They will also raise all relevant questions about accuracy and evidence, and may argue for reduced or dismissed charges.

3. This Isn’t Your First DUI

If you have any prior convictions for DUI, the consequences for your current charges may be substantially increased. This may include larger fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail. An experienced DUI lawyer has the knowledge and skills to get the best possible outcomes for your specific case.

4. Someone Was Injured or Killed

If you were involved in an accident and someone was injured or killed, you need a dedicated lawyer on your side. A lawyer will assert all applicable defenses, and will work hard to make sure that any potential criminal liability is limited by the evidence and the facts of the case. They will also advise you throughout the investigation, advocate for you at trial if necessary, and protect your rights.

5. You Want to Make a Plea Bargain

In some cases, a DUI conviction may be inevitable. Perhaps the evidence is indisputable, or you have already admitted guilt. Even in those circumstances, the district attorney may be open to a plea bargain. Working with a lawyer is the most effective way to propose and receive an acceptable deal that the court will approve.

The Best Decision to Protect Your Rights: Hire a DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to get the legal support you need for the journey ahead. In many cases, a DUI lawyer may be able to successfully argue for reduced or dismissed charges, and thereby protect their client’s reputation, finances, and freedom.

Do you need an experienced DUI attorney? Contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more.

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Public Defender vs. Private Lawyer: Understand the Difference

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dui defense lawyer in west chester pennsylvaniaWith more than 46,000 persons arrested for drinking under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania during 2016, DUI is rapidly moving toward number one on the state crime list. Every person charged with DUI has a choice in their defense. They may attempt to defend themselves, hire a private criminal defense lawyer, or if they qualify they may opt to use a public defender.

Public defenders are assigned to defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. For someone with limited resources, this may seem like the best way to go. However, what many people don’t realize is that using a public defender for a DUI charge may not actually save them money or resources in the long-term. Public defenders have incredibly large workloads, with hundreds of cases, and they are simply unable to devote their time to individual clients in the same way that private defense attorneys can.

While public defenders provide the best representation they can under the circumstances, that defense does not compare to what may be available from a lawyer who is able to focus on your specific case. If you have been charged with DUI, making the choice to use a private defense lawyer is the wisest investment you can make in yourself and your future. Contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online today to schedule your initial consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.

The Sixth Amendment

The United States Supreme Court decided the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963. The Court held that defendants facing possible prison time are entitled to court-appointed lawyers paid for by the government. Other rights under the Sixth Amendment include:

  • Speedy trial
  • Public trial
  • Impartial jury
  • Knowing who your accusers are

The courts rely on public defenders to deliver effective counsel, but there are necessary limitations created by the system. For example, defendants must accept the public defender assigned to their case, and judges rarely approve a request from a defendant to fire their public defender. This means defendants get the defender they get, not who they may want– a critical distinction between using a public defender versus a private lawyer. Private defense lawyers are free to agree to take a client’s case because they believe they can help, and not simply because they were ordered to do so.

Understaffed, Underfunded, and Overwhelmed

Public defenders throughout the United States average as many as 80 to 100 cases a week. Heavy caseloads leave almost no time for public defenders to give each case individual attention. Furthermore, limited funding means there may be no money for private investigators or experts. And “speedy trial,” is subject to docket demands, with far more pending cases than available court resources.

Private defense lawyers who are experienced with DUI can focus on each client. They have the discretion to choose cases and manage their own workloads to levels that ensure they have the time and resources to make the best defense possible for every individual.

Call the Skinner Law Firm Today

If you think you cannot afford a private lawyer, give your finances another look. The truth is you may not be able to afford to trust your case to an overworked public defender. A public defender may save money right now but at an even greater cost to you and your future. Invest in yourself by hiring an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more.

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