Articles Posted in General Information

September 12, 2018

4 Questions You Must Ask Your DUI Attorney

By Brian Manchester

Hiring a DUI attorney is never an easy decision.  You’ve probably seen numerous advertisements from attorneys today alone or at least throughout the week. If you’re reading this blog, you’re on the Internet, where you can find countless attorneys that practice in the same areas. Once you’ve narrowed your search down, you’re probably wondering “Can this attorney help me and how?”

Thus, we’ve made a list of the top 4 questions you should ask an attorney you’re looking to hire for DUI charges and added some bonus ones at the bottom.

1. How many DUI-related trials have you had in the last year?

This is a pretty easy one. If your lawyer is not actively trying cases, they are not going to get the best deal for you or be able to handle a complex trial as well as attorneys who are actively trying DUI charges. It’s only when the prosecution realizes they are going up against a trained adversary with a winning record, that the good deals get thrown on the table.

If you lawyer is not able to negotiate for you from a position of strength, then don’t expect any reductions, plea deals or even dismissals.

2. How many similar cases have you handled?

Just because an attorney had not had a case exactly like yours before, it doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified to handle your specific situation.  A good attorney has mastered everything they need to know to get great results, regardless of the circumstances.

Your attorney should be familiar with the type of case with which you are charged. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and blood was drawn, your attorney must know all about Gas Chromatography and the science used to test your blood.

This means that your attorney should be certified in the fundamentals of Gas Chromatography, Enzymatic Blood Testing, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Pharmacology, and Human Performance. They must have also attended training in a lab and be able to handle the complexities of these cases.

So be sure that your attorney has experience in the general type of case and make sure that he or she has the training necessary to deal with any science related to it before hiring them. You especially want an attorney who has actually used the machines that your blood is tested on, as they are intimately familiar with their faults.

3. What additional certifications do you have?

Is your prospective attorney trained in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? Does he or she have certification in Chromatography? Do they attend training at local, state, and even national seminars? Have they actually taught at any seminars? Do they have a history of being a national speaker?

While checking with an attorney for additional certifications (a Jurist Doctorate isn’t always enough!), also be sure to check their ratings on trustworthy sites such as www.avvo.com. Avvo rates attorneys on a variety of factors, including their years of experience, engagement in the law community, and quality of client testomonials. Click here for Brian Manchester’s Avvo profile, where he is given a 5/5 rating.

4. What national, prestigious organizations do you belong to?

Does your attorney belong to any national organizations? Are any of the organizations by invitation-only? Does he or she teach at any of these organizations?

Attorneys who attend national organizations are the most likely to keep track of new developments in DUI defense. While the law is always changing, so to are defense practices. Attorneys who attend invitation-only events and even are asked to teach at events, are those who are recognized by their peers for their exceptional knowledge and history of trying cases.

Other Questions to Ask Your Attorney

1. Do you regularly take cases to trial across the state?

2. Have you ever operated the testing equipment used by the state and private labs?

3. Do you have the practitioner’s certification in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing?

4. Are you recognized locally and nationally?

5. Do other attorneys refer DUI cases to you?

6. Does you belong to any non-defense related scientific organizations?

7. Have you ever gotten any court decisions with a state-wide impact?

8. Does you have documentation (proof) of any of this?

 

 

Posted in: DUI , DUI Blog , General Information ,

September 11, 2018

What do I do if I was charged with DUI?

By Brian Manchester

What You Should Do After Being Charged with DUI

After you have been pulled over and charged with DUI, it is more than likely that several questions and concerns are going through your head. At Manchester & Associates, we commonly get the following questions:

  • Am I going to lose my license?
  • What do I do now?
  • Do I tell my insurance company?
  • Am I going to jail?

Thus, we thought it would be helpful to post this list outlining the first things you should do after being accused of DUI.

First – Lock Down Social Media

First, make sure that all of your social media profiles (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are set to Private mode. Once on Private mode, do not accept any friend or follow requests from people you do not know. One of the most common ways for law enforcement to gather evidence today is to check your social media sites. Anything on those sites can and will be used against you, even if you don’t think that there is anything on your profile that would be considered evidence.

Keep in mind, the prosecution can take pictures and other postings from these profiles and attempt to present them to a jury out of context in a way that will damage your reputation and possibly convict you of a DUI charge. There is no reason to leave it to chance.

Second – Write Everything Down

Anything you remember from the traffic stop should be written down, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. Your memory will fade over time, and a small detail may be the difference between being found guilty or innocent of DUI. Things to write down include:

  • When and where you were stopped
  • Why the officer told you he was pulling you over
  • What the officer told you about taking a BAC test
  • What kind of BAC test did the officer give you
Third – Gather Witnesses

Third, talk to your friends, family, or anyone else who may have seen you right before, during, or after the traffic stop. All of these people are potential witnesses that may testify for you in court. Your attorney can take statements from each of them, as well as call them as witnesses, in an effort to show you were not intoxicated. This leads to the next step.

Finally – Stay Calm

Finally, stay calm. We know this may be a difficult and scary time for you. It is natural to want to obsess over the case. However, you should let an attorney like Brian Manchester handle the details that are necessary to properly fight for you. Brian will maintain a good line of communication with you to keep you in the loop about your case, and lift the burden off of you while you continue to live your normal life. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Contact Brian Manchester at Manchester & Associates

Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. As you can tell, Brian Manchester is an expert when it comes to defending clients from DUI charges, and he has been doing such for 18 years.

Posted in: DUI , General Information ,

September 11, 2017

What Should I Do At A Traffic Stop In Pennsylvania?

By Brian Manchester

If you are driving in Pennsylvania at some point you will be pulled over by the police for any number of possible traffic violations, or randomly through a DUI checkpoint. If you are stopped by the police the first thing to do is pull over at the first opportunity you can at a place where it is safe to stop for you and the officer. If you are on a road where pulling over would be dangerous for yourself or the officer when they are standing on the side of the road. Indicate to the officer that you acknowledge that they want you to stop by using your four way flashers and then when it is safe to turn off your four ways and use your signal to pull over.

Once stopped leave your seat belt on. Keep this on until the officer comes to your window. Taking it off early even if you are already stopped could get you cited for not wearing one if the officer sees it off. In addition, it is best to put your four ways and shut off your vehicle (if it is not so cold out that you need the heat) and place the keys on your dash. This indicates to the officer that you are going to comply and not attempt to drive off. Once the officer asks for your license, insurance, and registration now open your glove box and provide it to them. Make sure these items are organized and you know exactly where they are so that they can be retrieved quickly. Do not get these items before the officer comes to your window. If you start reaching around your vehicle all the officer sees from behind you is that you are moving around and might be attempting to hide drugs or conceal a weapon. Just wait until you are asked for these items then the officer will be able to see what you are doing.

Once the stop is complete the officer should tell you that you are free to go or to have a nice day. Once this happens you are free to go if the officer tries to stop you or ask to search your vehicle you have no obligation to comply. The officer can only search your vehicle if they have a search warrant, you consent to the search, you are arrested and the officer performs an inventory search, if the officer has reasonable suspicion that there are drugs in the vehicle, or if the officer has reason to believe that there is something in the vehicle that is a threat to the safety of the public. With this being said an officer cannot hold you there and make you wait for a drug dog to arrive to get the reasonable suspicion needed to search your vehicle.

The Supreme Court ruled in Rodriguez v. US. that police cannot intentionally drag out the process of a traffic stop for the purpose to give them time to perform an additional drug search. “We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” “A seizure justified only by a police-observed traffic violation, therefore, becomes unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission of issuing a ticket for the violation.” If your vehicle is searched you have the right to challenge the reason for the search and if the Court agrees that the search was illegal then the evidence gathered by the illegal search can be thrown out of the case.

It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a strategy session, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.

Posted in: DUI Blog , General Information ,