How to help a friend with a DUI charge in Pennsylvania or New Jersey

Most of us know at least one person who has been arrested for Drunk Driving charges in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Unlike many crimes, DUI is often committed because of a poor decision to drive after a nice time out with friends or family. Studies show that DUI covers a wide variety of socioeconomic populations and can literally happen to anyone. If your friend or family member is charged with DUI most people, because they care want to see the person get past this situation with the least harm possible to their permanent record.

While friends are extremely valuable in these situations, they can also hurt a DUI case by causing problems with the attorney client relationship through criticisms. Friends want to help but that help should mean offering a ride to court, remaining in the courtroom during the proceedings for support, and possibly speaking at sentencing if necessary in order to mitigate a possible sentence for one of Pennsylvania’s 9 DUI charges or New Jersey’s applicable statutes. These are all good examples of being a supportive friend during a difficult time in another’s life.

The worst thing that a “friend” can do is constantly question the attorney that someone has hired to defend the case. This is especially true if the “friend” isn’t an attorney and his only experience with the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is some minor offense like a traffic ticket or their son or daughter’s underage drinking from 10 years ago. Even if the person has had a DUI, every situation is different. Issues like reasonable suspicion to stop a car or probable cause to arrest aren’t issues in every DUI case. At the same time that DUI case, unlike this one may hinge on trial issues such as the reliability of the chemical test—a breathalyzer or blood test.

Constantly questioning your friend’s attorney is simply telling your friend that you don’t trust their judgement or that you know it all. Obviously if your friend comes to you and says things such as “my attorney never talks to me” or “I only have spoken to my attorney once” that’s different. Taking issue with an attorney’s lack of communication or lack of explanation is sometimes appropriate, but taking issue with the legal strategy is the wrong way to be a friend.

I’ve written previous articles on the power of silence in criminal cases and I encourage you to read them. My purpose here isn’t to ridicule people who criticize criminal defense lawyers but rather to simply point out that questioning a lawyer based on limited understanding isn’t appropriate or fair! If you already have concerns about the attorney, it’s better to question the attorney’s track record through research and his client reviews.

One of the main reasons why our criminal defense law firm gives out so much information in the form of newsletters, books, and videos is to dispel any question regarding our legal strategies and methods of handling cases. We’re literally open books! All of these resources are free and I encourage you to visit my download section to get these materials. In closing, remember that a DUI can happen to anyone! If your friend is in charged with drunk driving, be supportive, offer a referral but don’t be a source of constant criticism. Trust your friend to make the right decision and help get them through this tough time.

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