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Worth fighting a first offense DUI case?

Johnstown, PA |

Is it even worth fighting a first offense DUI case? Since they now offer ARD? I work at a local courthouse and it seems to me that the chances of getting a fair judge to rule on a DUI is almost impossible. Most of the people here refer to a DUI by court as "a extended guilty plea". Also since a first offense DUI offender cant get a trial by jury.

Attorney Answers 7


  1. Is it worth it? Good question. In my opinion to many attorneys automatically direct their clients automatically to ARD without exploring the options and feasibility of trying the case. Granted ARD is a very attractive and hard to pass up option given the security of accepting the program. The short answer is however that its worth trying the case if there is a good defense. In order to determine if there is a good defense the attorney has to evaluate each case on a "case by case" basis, its really that simple

    This information does not create an attorney /client relationship and should not be use or relied upon to make any decision in your case. Only consultation with your own attorney can provide you with the advice you need for your case.


  2. You cannot get a second offense if you don't have a first. Talk to an experienced dwi lawyer, see what he/she thinks of your case then make your decision.


  3. Depends on whether you like to gamble or take the sure thing. I personally do not like to gamble with my client's freedom and I usually advise them to take ARD when it is offered. The upside of ARD far outweighs the downside of a conviction for dui.
    That being said, there could be a defense to your case so you should speak with an experienced local attorney.


  4. I think it is important to always jeep in mind that every set of facts is different. I have seen cases go to trial and be won due to evidence being supressed. However, ARD has become the more attractive, yet not the end all be all, answer to DUI charges in PA.

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  5. I assume there is a breath or blood test.
    What is your defense?
    I can't imagine that there could be a cost effective defense that would guarantee a dismissal like an ARD at the same or less cost could.


  6. I am reminded of a client who hired me because "I just need a little help getting through the ARD process." Within a few short minutes at the preliminary hearing, the charges against her were dismissed because it was abundantly clear that the officer lacked probable cause to stop her. The DA Offered careless driving. We rejected the offer. The DA conceded and had the charges withdrawn never to be refiled.

    A good defense attorney will look for the "defense" before recommending ARD.


  7. It is always worth fully exploring. ARD is very a very good option, but if the facts are right challenging the case is better. I would suggest speaking to an attorney that has experience with that area regarding the specifics of the case. Many are not worth fighting and ARD is the best option. Other times, testing the states case is in the best interests of the client. Regardless, the specific facts should always be fully investigated and discussed with a professional.

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