Sometimes I think being an attorney is as much convincing people that they need me as it is protecting legal rights and upholding the law. So, I wanted to share a recent case with you to help illustrate the benefits of spending some extra money to make sure you have experienced legal counsel.
Quick background: In Pennsylvania, if you are charged with a first offense DUI, you may be eligible for a program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD. In Pittsburgh, or Allegheny County, if you are charged with a second DUI, you may be eligible for Phoenix Court. Both programs are designed to divert you away from going to trial on your charges. If you fail to complete your ARD, you will start the criminal process all over again and ARD will not be an option, which means you will likely have to plead guilty to a DUI or go to trial.
Now that we have that background, I received a call from a client about a year ago. He told me that he was recently charged with a second offense DUI and that he violated his ARD with this new charge. Believe it or not, this is rather common. We discussed his options, I laid out the road ahead, and he retained our representation.
For his new DUI, I was successful in receiving a Phoenix Plea offer which allowed him avoid up to 6 months in jail, despite that fact that he had to plead guilty to a second offense DUI. However, once he plead guilty to the second offense DUI, his probation officer revoked his ARD. Technically, this meant that he had to start the criminal process over again for his first offense DUI without ARD being an option, i.e. he was pleading guilty or going to trial. His first offense DUI had a high Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and he was looking at up to 6 months in jail.
Because he was smart enough to hire our services from the beginning, we knew his ARD was going to be revoked and we were able to plan accordingly. Once his ARD was revoked, we were able to jump into action. He followed our directions, did what he was supposed to do, and we were able to convince the court to close interest on his first offense DUI, reinstate his ARD, and expunge his first offense DUI record. With our help, he avoided sitting in jail for up to a year.
The Pennsylvania Criminal Process can be tricky. One wrong move can send you in a direction that results in a criminal record, jail time, license suspensions, and/or steep fines. Often times, these issues can be avoided by simply picking up the phone, calling our law office, and retaining our services.
The same can be said for the Pennsylvania Civil Process as well. With strict time lines, one mistake can make a huge difference.
If you become involved in the legal process, whether it be Criminal or Civil, give our office a call at 412-209-0657. We will work with you to retain legal services so that you do not have to go through the process alone. Coming in early in the process can make the difference between winning and losing, guilty and not guilty, receiving money and paying money.