People automatically assume that they’ll be found guilty and go to jail, but that’s just not the case; often, people are over-charged or charged with things that don’t really fit and some charges are just bogus, so you can’t just look at the surface. It’s like looking at the tip of an iceberg; often, there’s a lot of stuff underneath the water that needs to be exposed; stuff that can often either win your case or reduce your punishment.
How Do People Incriminate Themselves Before or After An Arrest?
The number one way people hurt themselves before an arrest is by talking to the police. Don’t ever say a word, especially if you’re innocent, because a police officer’s coming at you with a cognitive bias. In America, police are allowed to lie to you, and even if they don’t lie, they tend to hear things or misperceive what’s said in a way that fits their belief that the person did it. Investigative techniques in America are based on the assumption of guilt and trying to find guilt instead of an unbiased attempt to get to the truth. In Britain, police aren’t allowed to lie, and they’re still successful in getting convictions, because they try to find the truth.
While the worst thing people do is to talk too much, another mistake people make is do things that make them look guilty. Sometimes, innocent people can take actions that make them look guilty. For example, if you’re in a fight and you defend yourself by hitting someone, and you just take off instead of staying there, being polite to police and telling them the other person hurt you. Another common example of this is being accused of a crime and destroying possible evidence; that makes you look guilty, even if you didn’t do it.
What Have You Learned About People’s Reactions to Being Arrested and Prosecuted?
Often, they’re devastated, embarrassed and scared; especially people who have never been in the criminal justice system before. To many, it feels like the end of the world, and sometimes it very well could be, depending on the charge and possible sentences. For example, if you get in a fight and you are found guilty and that person was severely injured you could go to state prison for three or more years. If you’re convicted of DUI, you can lose your driver’s license up to a year for a first offense, have to go to counseling, your car insurance will go up, you could lose your job, and depending on the number of prior convictions you could go to state prison. In many ways a DUI conviction is worse than many felonies, including many violent crimes.
For example. A commercial truck drivers (CDL license holder), with a first offense, will lose his CDL license for a year on top of his regular license loss, plus it black-marks you and it may be difficult to impossible to get a job in the future. Not being able to drive in Pennsylvania can be bad for others, as well, such as salesmen, home health care workers and daycare workers, who are done if they can’t drive. Many other professions face losing their professional licenses if convicted of DUI or other serious offenses.
Is there a Look-Back Period for DUI offenses?
In Pennsylvania the look-back period for Driving Under the Influence offenses is ten years from the date you plead guilty, according to the new law, which changed in December 2014. However, even if you have prior DUIs outside of ten years or prior convictions for anything else at any time, a person accrues prior record score points. A person can face. In fact these prior record score points can give a person a sentence higher than the mandatory minimum.
For example, it is considered a first within ten years. This person has a prior burglary 20 years ago and a DUI 25 years ago and a DUI 15 years ago. Their prior record score is a 3. Although the mandatory minimum is three days if the person’s BAC is greater than .16, they are actually facing up to 3-6 months in jail because of their prior record. That is why it is important to hire a lawyer trained to fight DUI cases.
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