At Law Offices of Michael Steven Sherman, P.C., we’re proud of what we do. We’ve had a great deal of success at improving the situations of individuals facing DUI-related charges, and our record speaks for itself. Here are some reasons, we feel we’re the best choice among Western PA DUI attorneys.
Q: What Makes Your Education Better?
A: My educational background in DUI law is far superior to any lawyer in Western PA. I am certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. I attend national seminars, including the most prestigious national seminar – the summer session of the National College of Criminal Defense held at Harvard Law School. I attended the 5-day ACS Forensic Chromatography: Theory and Practice blood testing course held at Axion Analytical Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois. There I learned about how laboratories test blood in DUI cases. I studied under Dr. Harold McNair, a pioneer in the field of gas chromatography (the machine used to test blood). By way of my textbook and seminars, I even teach other lawyers how to defend DUI cases.
Q: What Makes Your Experience Better?
A: I’ve been defending DUI cases in the courtroom for over 29 years. Since DUI cases make up nearly 100% of my practice, I’ve gained more experience than many lawyers who’ve spent more years in the field. I’ve been on both sides of DUI cases, as an attorney for the PA State Police and as a defense attorney. And I’m certified in Field Sobriety Testing.
Q: What Makes Your Fees Better?
A: Many people look for the cheapest attorney available. This is not the place to find discount defenses. If the firm with the cheapest rates and the highest number of cases is the McDonalds of DUI defense, we’re the prime steakhouse. We provide our clients with comprehensive resources and genuine attention, and we believe our services are worth paying for. Once we know the specifics of your case, we’ll let you know the cost of representation up front. The price of our fees is nothing compared to the cost of a full conviction.
Q: What Makes Your Location Better?
A: I focus my efforts on Pittsburgh and Western PA. This allows me to minimize travel time and stay more available to my clients. But my experience is far and wide — I’ve worked in the courthouses of 30 counties. I have hired an associate who works with me and is trained by me. We have a “team” approach where I am personally involved in every case even if my associate appears in Court on my behalf. There is nothing more important to me than my reputation so I carefully handpick the associates I hire. A happy client is my best advertising. I would never jeopardize my reputation by not being involved in your case.
Q: What Makes My Access to You Better?
A: When you’re my client, I genuinely care about your case. It’s important to me that I remain accessible to you. I don’t take a pile of cases all at once in an effort to rack up huge numbers. I don’t spend a lot of time traveling from county to county. My clients will always get a timely response to their questions and concerns, as well as adequate face time to prepare them for court.
Q: What Makes Your Defenses Better?
A: I believe I can offer the most complete defenses around. That’s because I wrote the book on PA DUI law, and as a former State Police Attorney, I understand the cases brought against my clients. I know the high stakes you’re facing and the options and possibilities that are available to you. I’m also certified in Field Sobriety Testing and comfortable working with expert witnesses.
Q: Why Should I Avoid Lawyers Who Claim Special Relationships With Judges and Prosecutors?
A: I have great respect for judges, prosecutors, and juries. For that reason, I don’t use my connections or past cases to entice new clients. I’ve established wonderful professional relationships with many individuals throughout the region, but that won’t impact the outcome of your case. Your defense will be built on solid fact and the unique circumstances of your situation.
BELOW ARE THE ANSWERS TO TYPICAL QUESTIONS WE GET:
Q: Often, people come to my office and say “Mr. Sherman, how can I win my case, there’s a chemical test reading showing that I was over the legal limit? What can you do?
A: Blood and breath tests are fraught with error and can be attacked. After legal arguments are made, the only way in my opinion you can attack these results is by hiring an expert to show why the test result is not reliable or worthy of belief. There is a cost involved in hiring an expert but the cost is far less than the cost of a DUI conviction. Asking a lawyer to go to trial or to negotiate a dismissal with the prosecutor without an expert to fight the primary piece of evidence against you is like having an expensive, fancy car sitting in your driveway and not having any gas to put into the engine. The car looks great but it’s not going to take you where you want to go. Expert witnesses are often the key factor in challenging chemical test results. Your case can often end successfully if you use the services of an expert.
Q: Another question I often get is “why should I challenge my case, if I lose, I’m going to pay for you and also have to pay my fines”?
A: Unfortunately, once you get arrested, you can either fight your case or plead guilty. Obviously, there is a cost involved in fighting your case. Paying for the “fight” at least gives you the chance of not getting a conviction on your record, not going to jail, not getting a license suspension, and not losing your job. If you get house arrest, you have to pay for each day you are on electronic monitoring. The costs of fighting your case are small when compared to the costs associated with a conviction. We can’t guarantee the result, no lawyer can. Based on our background, though, we can give you hope! You have no hope when you plead guilty.
Q: Some lawyers advertise that they have practiced for many years and they know the Judges and prosecutors. Won’t a lawyer like that get a better result?
A: You have been charged with DUI! The penalties are harsh. Judges, prosecutors, and police officers are not going to simply throw out or lower your charges because they know your lawyer. Your case has to be put in a position to be thrown out. That will only happen by hiring a lawyer skilled in the courtroom, knowledgeable of the law, and with an extensive background and knowledge of the scientific techniques used by the police to convict impaired drivers. Staying away from lawyers who claim they will “win” your case because they know the people working in the system is the right move!
Q: Are you a member of any organizations that are dedicated to defending drivers charged with DUI?
A: I am the Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers, the first organization in the history of Pennsylvania formed by lawyers who fight DUI cases in Pennsylvania. I’m also a member of the National College of DUI Defense. I regularly attend the National College of DUI Defense program held at Harvard Law School every summer. This program is taught by the best DUI defense lawyers in the country. National programs are where lawyers learn cutting-edge courtroom arguments. Any lawyer who is serious about DUI defense should be a member of these organizations and attend their programs. A lawyer can’t claim to be an “expert” in DUI defense if he is not a member of these organizations and doesn’t attend national programs to learn the newest and best courtroom techniques. Membership in these organizations is required by any lawyer employed by my office.
Q: Some lawyers say they practice in 10 different counties and have offices in 5 different counties. Does that make them a good lawyer?
A: If a lawyer spends each day of his week driving to 10 different counties, you can bet he doesn’t have much time to spend on your case. These lawyers typically operate based on volume. An example of a typical day for these lawyers: their morning is spent in Indiana County, then they drive to Westmoreland County late in the morning, then they drive to Beaver County in the afternoon. The next day, they start in Allegheny County and end in Butler County. That goes on every day. How can they do the research necessary to handle your case? How can they prepare for Court and expect to spend time in Court when they have cases in 10 different places and are hurrying to get to different courthouses.
Q: You write a book and go to educational programs all over the country, I want a courtroom lawyer. Is that you?
A: Over the last 29 years, I have appeared in 30 county trial courts and have argued cases before each of Pennsylvania’s Courts of Appeals – the Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, and the Supreme Court. I’ve handled jury trials, trials before Judges, and extensive motions hearings before the various trial courts. I was part of the trial team that took on the tobacco companies on behalf of Allegheny County when it sued the tobacco companies for millions of dollars. I’m ready to take your case “all the way” if that’s what you want to do.
Q: You write a book and lecture to other lawyers. What’s the big deal about that?
A: Only lawyers who have the necessary skills in DUI law are asked to lecture to other lawyers and to write about DUI law. A lawyer who writes and presents lectures to other lawyers subjects himself to review by his peers. A lawyer who writes and lectures to other lawyers clearly has the skills to handle your case and is up to date on the current law and techniques used to handle DUI cases.
Q: Why is attending national seminars and owning DUI resource manuals so important?
A: Knowledge is power. Without knowledge, you can’t have power. Knowledge is the key to successfully defending DUI cases. Only those without the knowledge to successfully defend DUI cases would make light of such training. It takes a tremendous amount of time, money, and effort to stay on top of the latest developments in DUI law and the science surrounding the chemical tests used in DUI prosecutions. In order to become a great courtroom lawyer, it’s necessary to travel around the country and learn from the best DUI defense lawyers. It is also important to own the books that are written on the subject of DUI law and DUI defense. Ask the lawyer you are considering why he never travels to national programs. Ask that lawyer how he can claim to be an “expert” if he doesn’t even own the books that DUI defense lawyers rely on to get them ready to go to Court. Attending these seminars is for your benefit so I can use in Court the cutting-edge techniques I learn from top lawyers in my profession.
Q: I just called another lawyer and he says he’s an “expert” in DUI defense. How do I know?
A: Always be wary of the inexperienced attorney passing himself off as a “DUI expert.” Many lawyers advertise that their practices are devoted to DUI defense but when you look them up, you will find that they practice in many different areas. They handle divorces on one day, personal injury cases on another day, and yet they claim to have practices devoted to DUI defense. They may even have a fancy web site. Look into the background of the lawyer you are thinking about hiring. Some lawyers don’t even have an office where they meet clients and run their practice from a cell phone. These are factors to consider when choosing a lawyer.
Q: I called another lawyer and he “guaranteed” the result, why won’t you do that?
A: No lawyer can guarantee the result in a case. In fact, it is improper for a lawyer to offer a guarantee. If you call a lawyer and he offers you a guarantee – run!
Q: My friend got a DUI and his case was just like mine. Why am I not getting the same penalty?
A: Comparing your arrest with that of a friend, family member, or someone you work with is not a good idea. While someone else’s DUI may seem similar, DUI arrests and chemical tests are rarely identical to one another. Many people who have multiple DUI license suspensions tell their friends or co-workers that they never received a license suspension. These statements are usually made by people who are driving under suspension in violation of the law. Your expectations should not be based on what another person tells you happened in their case.
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