Information on DUI Appeals in Pennsylvania
If you are convicted of DUI in PA, it can leave a long-term negative impact on your life.
You will have to suffer the legal penalties—the possibility of jail time, fines, loss of license and a misdemeanor on your permanent criminal record.
In addition, you are likely to face a host of other setbacks and lifelong consequences of a DUI conviction such as increased insurance rates, difficulty obtaining employment or housing, as well as a tarnished reputation.
You want to be sure that your case was handled properly by the courts, and the outcome was reached fairly. If you feel your case deserves an appeal, consult with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI appeal attorney.
The rules for appealing are DUI are specific and strict. Seeking the help of a qualified attorney is the best way to determine if an appeal is appropriate in your case.
DUI CASES THAT CAN BE HEARD ON APPEAL
Not every DUI case in Pennsylvania can be appealed. In order to have a valid case for appeal, there must be an issue of law in your previous case heard by the lower court. This is extremely important.
An appeals court does not hear issues of fact. They look to the record from the lower court to receive the facts from the case. Facts include the parties to the case, witness testimony, the date, time and location of the incident—anything at all relating to the case will be considered previously determined as fact in the original trial.
Therefore, on appeal, you must be able to present an Issue of Law. An Issue of Law means something in the actual legal process was handled incorrectly or inappropriately.
Appealing a DUI in Pennsylvania is possible when the following Issues of Law have occurred:
- Your case in the trial court was mishandled due to attorney misrepresentation;
- Evidence was improperly admitted, or excluded, from your original trial;
- The Prosecution used the wrong law or statute in your case.
Should your case have an issue of law, you can pursue that alone. Your full case will not be tried again and you will not be allowed to issue new facts on appeal. No new evidence will be admitted. Arguments will only take place based on the issue(s) of law alone.
Contact a Pittsburgh DUI Attorney who has successfully handled DUI appeals in order to know whether you have a winnable case.
That is the best way to determine if you have grounds for appeal at all. If the attorney determines that there is an issue of law in your case, they will then need to review your entire trial court case. It is extremely important that you have everything related to your case to present to your appeal attorney.
HOW TO APPEAL A DUI CASE IN PENNSYLVANIA
You only have 30 days from your guilty verdict.
If you plan to appeal your DUI conviction, you must file your appeal in the trial court where you were sentenced, within thirty (30) days of your verdict. This time frame is strictly construed, and no exceptions are made. If you miss the thirty-day deadline, you lose your chance to appeal forever.
Once you have filed the appropriate paperwork with the court, your attorney will then be required to submit a written brief outlining the areas of law in which you, the appellant, believe are grounds for appeal. It must state specifically all areas of law to be decided.
If the brief fails to mention an issue of law, it will not be considered by the court. In addition to all issues of law, the brief must specifically state the relief that you seek. This means what you would like the court to grant you should you win the appeal. For example, you could ask for a dismissal of your case, a re-trial, or re-sentencing, depending on the circumstances of your case.
From the date of filing the brief, the prosecution, or appellee, will have thirty days to respond to the written brief. In some cases the appellant will then file an additional brief in response.
After all briefs have been submitted, the court will generally hear oral arguments from both sides. The arguments will be based solely on the issues of law. The Appeals Court will have already reviewed the facts as found in the trial court.
An appeal requires the help of an experienced and skilled attorney. It is best to contact an attorney immediately after your verdict if you believe your case has grounds for appeal.
THE BIRCHFIELD RULING
The Birchfield Ruling has altered the handling of DUI cases in Pennsylvania. Prior to the Birchfield ruling, police officers were allowed to determine a DUI suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level by breathalyzer or a blood draw.
In Birchfield, the court ruled that a breathalyzer is acceptable, but in order to obtain a blood sample, the police must first obtain a warrant. To read more, see The Birchfield Ruling—New Supreme Court Ruling on DUI
If you believe your case may have been affected by the outcome of the Birchfield ruling, seek the help of a DUI attorney immediately.
LEGAL HELP FROM A PITTSBURGH DUI LAWYER
Don’t wait! Call Ketchel Law now at 412-456-1221.
As an experienced Pittsburgh DUI Attorney, Justin Ketchel’s greatest strength lies in critically analyzing and dissecting the details of your specific case.
Justin’s extensive experience as a former public defender, and in private practice, gives him a distinct advantage when handling DUI cases. His number one goal: Having your charges dismissed.
At Ketchel Law, we will do everything we can to minimize your expenses. You are never charged for phone calls or emails and your initial consultation is always free.
We understand what you are going through and will tirelessly fight on your behalf to ensure that your arrest has a minimal impact on every aspect of your life.
Call the law offices of Justin J. Ketchel at 412-456-1221 for a free legal consultation. We take your case seriously and are committed to providing quality legal advice.
Learn More About DUI Laws in Pennsylvania:
- DUI Lawyer Pittsburgh
- First-time DUI in PA
- ARD Program
- Second DUI in PA
- The DUI Court Process
- The Penalties for a DUI Conviction in PA
- Lifelong Consequences of a DUI Conviction
- DUI Controlled Substance / DUI Drugs
- DUI Arrest in PA with a BAC over .16
- Underage DUI
- Underage Drinking in PA
- Third DUI Offense and Subsequent DUI Offenses
- DUI in PA with a CDL License
- DUI while on Probation
- DUI Prescription Medication
- DUI Accident with Injuries
- DUI Field Sobriety Tests
- Hiring a DUI Lawyer
- Auto Insurance and a DUI Conviction
- The Birchfield Ruling—New Supreme Court Ruling on DUI