Formulating an appropriate response to a DWI arrest is essential so you can fight to retain your ability to drive and so you can try to avoid a criminal conviction and possible jail time which can result from being convicted of driving impaired. Calling an attorney for help following a DWI arrest is advisable as an attorney understands the processes for responding to charges and can help you to develop a strong legal defense aimed at minimizing or avoiding consequences. It is also beneficial to know what to expect following an arrest so you can make informed choices at each step of your involvement with the criminal justice system.
What Should You Do After a DWI Arrest in Scranton?
Following a DWI arrest, you should determine if you are subject to an administrative suspension of your driver's license. In Pennsylvania, you may face an administrative suspension of your license for a year if you refuse to submit to a test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You may request a hearing with PennDOT if you wish to try to appeal the suspension.
You should also prepare for how to respond to criminal charges. You will be arraigned, informed of the charges, and given the opportunity to enter a plea. You will need to choose if it makes sense to try to plead guilty, which could sometimes result in you negotiating a favorable plea deal to face lesser penalties or lesser charges. You could also try to get the charges against you dropped for lack of evidence, or could plead not guilty and prepare a strategic defense strategy to present in court.
It may be possible to get charges dropped, or to secure an acquittal, if you can successfully prevent the prosecutor from using evidence against you which was collected to show impairment. If the traffic stop was without justification, the stop may be a violation of your constitutional rights and all evidence collected during the traffic stop would also be considered inadmissible as fruit of the poisoned tree since it originated from an unlawful search and seizure. If you were stopped with justification but asked to submit to a breath test, blood test, or other toxicology test, the information from the testing could also be considered inadmissible if there was no probable cause to suspect impairment. If you believe your constitutional rights were violated, you will need to submit a motion to suppress.
If your case moves forward to trial, you will have to introduce reasonable doubt so the prosecutor is unable to meet the burden of proving the case against you. If you can successfully make the jury doubt any aspect of the prosecutor's evidence, you should be able to avoid a guilty verdict. If you are found guilty, you may appeal if you believe there were errors in the process during your interaction with the criminal justice system. If you do not appeal and you accept the guilty verdict, you will face penalties determine by various factors such as history of past convictions and your BAC level at the time of your arrest.