Driving under the influence (DUI) cases are complex and require in-depth knowledge of the law to exercise your rights. If convicted of a DUI offense, you face a prison sentence and other penalties, not to mention the DUI will remain on your criminal record. The ramifications of such a record could include the loss of a job or lost opportunity for a future position, as well as lost income while serving a prison sentence. A driver’s license suspension could prevent you from commuting to work or performing certain work duties.
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So, if you are facing DUI charges, secure representation from a DUI lawyer in Abington at the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. We know the ins and outs of the court system in Montgomery County. We will give you our objective evaluation of your case and a no-nonsense explanation of your prospects so we can decide on the best course of action.
DUI Penalties in Pennsylvania Are Severe. Make Sure You Have a DUI Lawyer on Your Side
Pennsylvania has a tiered punishment penalties structure based on both driving history and BAC, with categories that include general impairment (.08 to .099% BAC), high BAC (.10 to .159% BAC) and highest BAC (.16% or higher). A first-time DUI offender with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 to .099 will not face jail time, but may face several other penalties, including a fine and up to six months of probation. There is also an administrative license suspension separate from criminal charges that all drivers arrested for DUI face. The penalties only get tougher if your BAC was .10 or above or for subsequent DUI arrests. If you already have a DUI on your record, you could be facing jail time and steep fines depending on your BAC, including:
- Five days (for 2nd offense) or ten days (for 3rd offense) to five years in jail
- Fines and penalties ranging from $300 to $10,000
- 18-month license suspension
- Mandatory ignition interlock device installation on your vehicle for a year
Certain aggravating factors may affect your charges and penalties:
- Personal injury to a passenger, fellow motorist, or pedestrian while committing the DUI
- Whether a child was present in the vehicle
- Whether your DUI occurred while you were driving with a suspended license
But these are the maximum penalties you face. We will look for options to reduce your penalties or even try to plead down to lesser charges, like reckless driving involving alcohol, or “wet reckless” charges. We can even file an appeal of your administrative license suspension or seek an Occupational Limited License so you can continue to drive to work or school and other essential errands. And if your BAC was at or just above.08, this is your first offense, and you have an otherwise clean driving record, you may qualify for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). This essentially dismisses your DUI case.
Do I have to consent to a chemical test?
Yes. Pennsylvania Vehicle Code §1547, also called the Implied Consent Law, requires you to take a chemical test — breath, blood, or urine — if officers lawfully arrest you for DUI. Refusing to take a chemical test can result in a 12-month license suspension for a first offense or 18 months for a subsequent offense. Further, the state can use your refusal against you to allege your knowledge of your intoxication. Refusing to take a chemical test could still result in a DUI conviction and the penalties associated with them, listed above.
How can a DUI lawyer in Abington help my case?
Even if your BAC chemical test came back above the legal limit or you believe that your behavior during the traffic stop suggested your level of intoxication, talk to a DUI attorney about the facts of your case. There may be several mitigating circumstances relevant to your case which may affect the charges against you and the penalties you face. The factors that your attorney will review and potentially argue include:
- Whether the breathalyzer machine was calibrated correctly, the officer administered the test correctly, or the results were faulty.
- Whether there was sufficient probable cause to initiate the DUI stop, and whether the stop and subsequent arrest was lawful.
- Whether you qualify for ARD or reduced charges or penalties. This may require corresponding with the prosecutor handling your case.
Our DUI lawyers will review all aspects of your case, secure evidence, speak with expert witnesses (if necessary), provide you an unfettered evaluation of your case, and help you navigate the legal system in Montgomery County. If you have been charged with a DUI, do not take it lightly. Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at 610-680-7842. Let us help you protect your rights. We represent clients in Abington and all over Pennsylvania.