Is It Worth Going to Trial for a DUI?
When you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, you may be facing very serious penalties if you receive a conviction. These penalties include jail terms, fines, suspension of a driver’s license, mandatory classes, and others. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be worth the risk of defending a DUI charge all the way to trial with the help of an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer. In particular, this may be your best course of action if there is a chance you will be charged with a felony offense, rather than a misdemeanor, or if you have prior convictions on your criminal record.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI in the Pittsburgh area, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be an aggressive advocate for your rights from the beginning of your case. Call our Pittsburgh DUI attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146 for help right away.
ARD Instead of Trial for First-Time Offenders
If you have been charged with a DUI for the first time, you may want to discuss with your attorney whether entry into an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is a viable option for you instead of going to trial. ARD is a pretrial diversion program that provides an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution. Offenders can avoid trial and have the opportunity to leave with a clean criminal record if they successfully complete an ARD program. You should discuss extensively with your attorney whether or not to enter an ARD program. It may be an attractive option to avoid jail time, but you may decide to go to trial particularly if you have a good chance of winning your case on its merits and the prosecution has a weak case against you.
If you are approved for an ARD program, you are placed into supervision and are required to complete various conditions. These conditions may include completing an alcohol-safe driving course, alcohol counseling, temporary suspension of your driver’s license, completion of community service, refraining from alcohol use during the program, and payment of certain costs and restitution. However, even for first-time offenders, there are certain circumstances that disqualify a case for ARD. For example, if the DUI resulted in serious bodily injury or death, or if there was a passenger less than 14 years old in the car, then ARD may not be an option and you may have no choice but to either negotiate a plea agreement or proceed to trial.
Existence of DUI Defenses in Going to Trial
If your case presents strong defenses against a DUI conviction, which you can determine with the counsel of an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney, you may decide to proceed to trial. These defenses may involve a police officer’s failure to follow proper procedures, such as an improper stop without probable cause or failure to adhere to established field sobriety test protocols.
Additionally, police laboratories commit mistakes and may have conducted improper testing and storage of blood alcohol samples. You may have medical conditions that cause you to fail a field sobriety test, such as neurological problems. The police may have conducted an illegal interrogation or committed violations of your constitutional rights by failing to provide you with a Miranda reading. The existence of these defenses may weigh in favor of taking the risk and going to trial.
Consulting a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer
You may be facing severe penalties for a DUI conviction. Your decision regarding how to defend your case should be made in consultation with an attorney from the moment you are arrested and charged. You need an experienced criminal defense advocate who will help you make informed decisions.
Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC’s Pittsburgh DUI attorneys at (412) 281-2146 for a free, initial consultation today so we can help you protect your rights and reach a favorable result.