Have You Been Charged with a DUI?
If so, it is imperative to immediately contact a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer who knows all the defenses that may be available to you. To violate DUI law, the blood-alcohol content must be at least .08 percent, and if it is higher than .14 you can be charged with extreme DUI.
The alcohol content is determined by blood, breath, or urine tests. If you refuse to take one of those tests your driver’s license is automatically suspended. A DUI conviction is punishable by license revocation, months in jail, or years in prison for repeat offenders and stiff fines.
How long does a DUI stay on your record?The length of time a DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record (different from your driving record that the DMV uses) depends on the state you live in. Some states will remove a DUI from your criminal record after five years, at which point, if you are arrested and convicted for DUI again, the system will treat you as a first-time offender. In other states, this could be 10 years. Other states do not do this at all, meaning the conviction will always be on your record, unless you can expunge it.
How long do you go to jail for a DUI conviction?This depends on the state that you live in. Some states have mandatory jail sentences (although in some it’s only a few days) for a first-time offender, while other states have no jail time for first-time offenders. For each DUI conviction you receive, your odds of going to jail for a longer amount of time will increase.
Should you plead guilty to a DUI?Many people think they should plead guilty quickly to “move on” from the incident. But that will mean having a conviction on your record for years to come, which can have serious negative effects on your life. You should always discuss your case with an attorney before you ever make any decisions on pleading guilty.
What happens when you get a DUI?A DUI conviction can mean spending time in jail, having to pay fines and court costs, and attending drunk driving classes or entering into rehab. It could also mean having to deal with the effects of a driver’s license suspension, which could affect your job. Some states also require ignition interlock devices in the cars of people with DUI convictions. In short, the penalties are serious, and you should treat them seriously.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
- How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
What to Expect from an Initial Consultation
- Seek to determine whether the attorney can represent you. There is no one-size-fits-all legal solution and it may turn out your needs are better served by an attorney in a different specialization.
- It’s important to find a legal ally who is both competent in the law and someone you can trust to protect your interests.
- Discuss how the practice’s billing works and discuss possible additional charges or fees that may arise during or after the resolution of your case.
An attorney consultation should provide you with enough information so that you can make an informed decision on whether to proceed with legal help.
How will an attorney charge me?
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
- Bill by the hour
- Contingent fee agreement
- Flat fee agreement
Depending on your specific legal situation, it’s possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.
Common legal terms explained
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.