Next Steps After A DUI Charge
One of the most common questions that Western Pennsylvanians ask after being charged with DUI is, “What do I do now?” Your first step should always be to contact a DUI lawyer in Pittsburgh. You will want to contact a Pittsburgh law firm that will fight to get you the best possible outcome in court. Wyland Group is one such law firm in Pittsburgh. Your Pittsburgh DUI attorney will be able to walk you through what will happen next. We have listed a few options below.
Avoid Jail Time
Jail time is one of the biggest fears associated with DUI convictions in the Pittsburgh area. Fortunately, prison time after a DUI is not a foregone conclusion. Even if your DUI offense carries a mandatory prison term, it may be possible to avoid serving this term, through work release or house arrest. Both options are much more pleasant than spending time in the county prison. Your eligibility for such alternatives will depend heavily on the specific circumstances of your case, the steps you take to prepare your case, and the case you present to the court.
How To Maintain Your Ability To Drive Following A DUI Conviction
Western Pennsylvanians are often surprised to discover that they may still be able to drive even after receiving a license suspension due to DUI. That is because a law recently went into effect (in 2017) that allows suspended drivers in Pennsylvania to drive using an Ignition Interlock system. This system requires you to perform a breathalyzer test before starting up your car. If you fail the test, your car will not start. While this might sound like a hassle, it is certainly preferable to not being able to drive at all. It should be noted that, while DUI law in Pennsylvania is based on a blood alcohol content of .08%, Ignition Interlock devices are able to detect much lower levels of alcohol in the system (as low as .025).
You are only allowed to operate a vehicle with an Ignition Interlock system if you have an Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL). Your Pittsburgh DUI attorney at Wyland Law Group will be able to help you determine if you qualify for an IILL. There are some factors that could prevent you from obtaining an IILL in Western Pennsylvania, such as:
- You are not licensed to drive by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other state
- Your operating privileges have been recalled and canceled
- You are seeking to operate a commercial motor vehicle
There are other factors that could prevent you from obtaining an IILL. Speak with your Western Pennsylvania DUI attorney at Wyland Law Group to learn more.
What To Do If You Are Denied An IILL
If you are denied an IILL, you may petition PennDot for a hearing. There may be a fee associated with this hearing. Since IILL laws are relatively new, it is essential that you hire a DUI law firm in Pittsburgh (such as Wyland Law Group) that is well-versed in the latest DUI laws.
What You Should Know When Hiring A DUI Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA
The penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania can be incredibly harsh. You could lose your license, pay hefty fines, and even go to jail. A DUI lawyer in Pittsburgh can help negotiate the lowest possible outcome and, in some cases, successfully challenge the government’s case against you. Depending on: the circumstances of the traffic stop; the investigation (including standard field sobriety tests (SFST)); your arrest; and the chemical test you were required to submit to, an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed altogether.
Suffice it to say, a lot rides on having a good DUI lawyer in your corner. The question is, how do you find a good DUI lawyer in Pittsburg, PA? Here at the Wyland Law Group, we get this question all the time. That is why we thought we would explain what you should look for in a local DUI attorney.
Hiring a DUI attorney can be costly. In our experience, however, not having skilled, knowledgeable representation is often much more costly to your life, your liberty, and your livelihood.
For any Pittsburgh DUI attorney, you should “know the fees upfront.” The rules of ethics for attorneys require that the attorney put the terms of representation in writing. This is often done through an engagement letter, a fee agreement letter or a contract. You should not be hit with unexpected fees midway through your case.
Different law firms have different ways of billing for their services. Some firms charge a flat rate, and others bill by the hour. Pricing for your case will also vary depending on its complexity and severity. A few questions to ask your Pittsburgh, PA DUI attorney include:
- Do you charge an hourly or a flat rate?
- If it is a flat rate, what does the flat rate include?
- If you do bill by the hour, how many hours do you expect to spend working on my case?
- Does the attorney’s fee cover all phases of the case?
- Is there an additional fee for trial or for an appeal following trial?
- What other out-of-pocket fees can I expect to pay?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- Can the fee for representation be broken into payments?
Facing criminal charges can be an uncertain time. But, when you hire an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney, the cost for representation should be clear from the beginning.
Is the Attorney Experienced?
One of the most important things to consider when hiring a DUI attorney is the attorney’s level of experience. An attorney who has been practicing law for years – and who has handled hundreds of DUI cases in the Pittsburgh area – will be able to confidently navigate the DUI court process. An inexperienced attorney, on the other hand, will likely struggle through the process. Unfortunately, these struggles could end up costing you big time. That is why you need to find an experienced DUI lawyer from an experienced firm like the Wyland Law Group.
If you have determined that your Pittsburgh DUI lawyer has the experience you need, your next step is to look at their track record. One of the best ways of discerning an attorney’s track record of success is to check reviews on sites like Avvo and Google+. If the attorney consistently helps his or her clients get the best possible outcome for their DUI case, the reviews will likely reflect that. Conversely, if the attorney has a track record of poorly defending DUI cases in Pittsburgh, PA, the reviews should reflect that as well. Bottom line: your future is too important to leave in the hands of an inexperienced attorney with a poor track record. At the Wyland Law Group, we are proud of the reviews our clients have taken the time to write for us over the years.
Will the Attorney Give Your Case the Attention It Deserves?
You might think you have found a top-rated attorney in Pittsburgh, only to find that a junior attorney is doing most of the work in handling your case. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in Pittsburgh, PA. Many of the top attorneys in this area have busy caseloads and cannot personally attend to your case. These attorneys typically hand the case off to a junior attorney with less experience.
When assessing a top attorney in Pittsburgh, it is OK to ask how much time they will personally devote to your case. It is also OK to ask who you should contact to answer any questions you might have, and how soon you can expect a response to your questions or concerns. You should also ask your attorney what their preferred method of contact is–whether it is by phone, email, or text message.
Are You Comfortable with Your Attorney?
If you are going through the scary and difficult process of facing DUI charges in Pittsburgh, you need to go through it with an attorney that you are comfortable with. After all, you are hiring a professional to defend your rights and safeguard your future. Going through the DUI process with an attorney that you cannot trust or do not get along with can be a devastating experience. That is why there are several things that you should consider before choosing an attorney to represent you.
First, is the attorney responsive? Do they respond to you promptly and answer whatever questions you have? Second, is the attorney a good listener? Successfully defending a DUI case begins with actively and completely listening to the specifics of your case and what is most important to you. Third, is the attorney a good communicator? Do they explain the law and the process you are facing in terms that you understand? Is the attorney’s advice and strategy logical and clearly communicated? An attorney who is neither a good listener nor a good communicator will not perform well in court.
Across the board, your attorney should be upfront about the DUI process. Sadly, many attorneys make big promises that they clearly can’t deliver on or use fear tactics to scare you into making a rushed decision concerning representation. When picking an attorney to represent you, do your due diligence and make a thoughtful decision. Included in this decision is how you feel after speaking with your attorney. Do they strike you as accessible, knowledgeable, and sincere? Trust your gut: if something doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t.
The Wyland Law Group is a law firm dedicated to defending and protecting the rights of people who have been accused of driving under the influence. We Are committed to providing exceptional, accessible legal services. My team and I will put our years of experience to work for you. We know the law, how the system works, and how to get results.
Not only are we committed to providing you with exceptional legal services but we are also committed to providing you with exceptional customer service. From our first meeting, through the conclusion of your case, we will be responsive and available to you for questions or concerns. We will stand by you, we will fight for you and we will be there when you need us.