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Should I Get a Lawyer for DUI? Yes, and Here’s Why

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DUI lawyer in PennsylvaniaAn arrest for DUI may change your life. Under Pennsylvania law, punishment and fines for DUI can be serious, and a conviction can mean jail time.

More than 200 persons died in alcohol-related vehicle accidents in 2017 in Pennsylvania—Phialdelphia County accounted for 17 and Chester County 15.

If you have been arrested for DUI, speak to an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online and schedule a free consultation and review of your case.

DUI Laws

There are three levels of DUI in Pennsylvania, based on blood alcohol content (BAC):

  • General Impairment: 0.08 to 0.099 percent
  • High BAC: 0.10 to.0159 percent
  • Highest BAC: 0.16 percent and more

The BAC level of a driver, coupled with any record of prior DUI offenses, can affect a potential case in different ways. It is therefore critically important to speak to a DUI defense lawyer, particularly if any other charges are involved, such as:

  • Underage DUI
  • Failure to submit to breath or blood test
  • DUI involving narcotics
  • Assault or homicide by vehicle while DUI

Regardless of whether your DUI arrest was a first offense, or one of multiple offenses, you need someone on your side who understands the legal system. There are varying degrees of charges, and the plea you make will help determine the consequences you face. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact the Skinner Law Firm without delay. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we may be able to help.

Protect Your Future

It is not uncommon for someone to consume alcohol at a happy hour after work, while enjoying a night out with friends, or as a wedding reception guest and then be over the legal limit to drive. In fact, a single drink can put a driver over the limit, depending on alcohol content and type of drink, the physicality of the drinker, and time frame from consumption to driving. If someone makes the decision to drive after drinking, even if they are unknowingly above the legal limit, a DUI arrest may mean they end up heading to jail rather than home.

Having a DUI arrest may be a scary and overwhelming experience, especially considering the potential consequences, including:

  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation
  • Probation
  • Monitoring, such as an ignition interlock system
  • Jail

Every case is unique, and the consequences are not necessarily pre-determined by the charges. Don’t trust decisions about your future to an online search, or second-hand knowledge based on what happened to someone else. If you have been charged with DUI, you need a skilled and experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer.

The Skinner Law Firm

Mike Skinner is a former prosecutor who now uses his skills and experience to serve clients in defense cases. Mr. Skinner concentrates his practice on DUI and criminal defense, and he uses all available resources to ensure his knowledge of the law is current. He is understanding and compassionate, and committed to working hard for his clients to get them the best possible outcomes for their case.

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact the Skinner Law Firm as soon as possible. Call us at (610) 436-1410 or online to discuss your case. Protect your future by securing the services of the Skinner Law Firm today.

Posted in Drunk Driving / DUI | Tagged | Comments Off on Should I Get a Lawyer for DUI? Yes, and Here’s Why

Guilty by Default? Warrants? We Can Help

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criminal defense lawyer in PennsylvaniaUnder Pennsylvania law, members of law enforcement have broad powers in certain circumstances. Any police officer in uniform may detain an individual without a permit. An officer may make an arrest if they believe someone committed a felony, misdemeanor, simple assault, aggravated assault, or reckless endangerment, or if the officer witnessed the person violate Pennsylvania law. In addition, if an officer has voluntary permission from a property owner, they may search premises without a warrant.

The Skinner Law Firm in West Chester may be able to assist you if you have had an encounter with law enforcement, are guilty by default, or have outstanding warrants. We use our extensive experience and knowledge of the law to protect the rights of our clients, and fight for the best possible outcomes. If you need legal help, contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online and schedule a free consultation.

The Fourth Amendment

To arrest or search a person, or his or her premises, a Pennsylvania law enforcement officer is required to submit a sworn affirmation that there was probable cause sufficient to set aside an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause

Police may detain a suspect and conduct a limited search of a person if they have a reasonable suspicion that the individual has committed a crime. Reasonable suspicion is a lower level of belief than probable cause.

Probable cause is apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime, thereby warranting his or her prosecution, or that a cause of action has accrued, justifying a civil lawsuit.

An officer only needs to have reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk a person he or she believes was involved in criminal activity. However, an officer may not arrest a suspect until they have probable cause to believe the individual has committed a crime.

If there is a reasonable-based assumption that a crime has been committed, or there is evidence of a crime taking place in the location the officers want to view, courts often find that probable cause sufficient to arrest an individual or search the scene. However, the United States Supreme Court has acknowledged that probable cause is generally, “imprecise, fluid, and very dependent on context.”

Exigent Circumstances

Exigent circumstances are those that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of the suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts.

Warrants

Under Pennsylvania judges can issue bench warrants for:

To obtain an order, a member of Pennsylvania’s law enforcement must be present in court and declare before a judge that, to the best of his or her knowledge, the person in question is responsible for the crime. Once the judge or magistrate signs the warrant, the police can arrest and detain the offender anywhere and at any time. The authorization remains in place until the offender is brought to court. If police want to also search a suspect’s home, they must obtain a separate search warrant.

Skinner Law Firm

Criminal legal language, ideas, and procedures can be difficult to understand. The Skinner Law Firm in West Chester, Pennsylvania is a criminal defense firm and our legal team has handled almost every type of criminal case. We can help you figure out the complexities of your case.

Getting good legal advice early is essential to protect you and get the best possible outcomes for your case. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or have a bench warrant because of an alleged crime, contact us as soon as possible and learn if we may be able to help. We pride ourselves on giving trustworthy support to our clients, while tirelessly advocating for them in the court system.

If you need legal help, contact the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online and schedule a free consultation.

Posted in Criminal Process | Tagged | Comments Off on Guilty by Default? Warrants? We Can Help
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