No one should underestimate the cost of driving under the influence (DUI). There is a lot to think about: jail or prison time, license suspension, steep fines, and increased insurance premiums. There’s also the possibility of a suspended license. Pennsylvania’s penalties for individuals convicted of DUI are tough, and if a motorist is convicted on a DUI charge, their life will likely not be the same with that conviction on their record.
However, being charged with a DUI does not necessarily mean you face a conviction, time behind bars, or other severe penalties. If you were charged with driving while drunk in Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, a Bucks County DUI lawyer with McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can explain what to expect and help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. We can review your legal options with you during a free consultation today.
Defending Against a DUI Charge in Bucks County, PA
Former criminal prosecutor David McKenzie now works as a criminal defense attorney in DUI cases and understands that pleading guilty to a DUI offense is not necessarily the only option. Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to defend your charges.
For example, there may be contestable issues surrounding the reliability of your breathalyzer test, administration of your field sobriety test, or the appropriateness of a traffic stop. Any missteps found along the way could result in reduced penalties or even complete dismissal of your charges.
When you hire David McKenzie as your DUI attorney, he will look very closely at every possible challenge of the charges against you. The defense strategy we use in a DUI case varies, but we may evaluate the following:
- The circumstances of the initial stop by the police officers
- How the police officers conducted each step of their investigation
- How they conducted field sobriety tests
- How the officers collected toxicology evidence, such as a breathalyzer test sample or a urine sample
Understanding DUI Penalties in Bucks County, PA
Per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the state has divided intoxication levels into three categories. Under state law, a Pennsylvania law enforcement officer can pull you over if they suspect you are drunk driving. They can request that drivers take a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer or a blood test. These tests are given to determine a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
- General impairment: Occurs when a person’s BAC is between 0.08% and 0.99%. BACs that are undeterminable also fall into this category.
- High impairment: A BAC measures between .10% and .159%.
- Highest impairment: A BAC measures at .16%, which is twice the legal limit.
Penalties for DUIs in Pennsylvania
Each category of impairment comes with its own penalties. There are certain conditions that can make those penalties stiffer, such as if a child was in the vehicle, if the motorist involved had previous DUI convictions, and if any open containers were in the vehicle.
If You Have No Prior DUI Offenses, Then You Could:
- Face six months’ probation to six months in jail
- Pay $300 to $5,000 in fines
- Have your license suspended for up to a year (12 months)
If This is Your Second Offense, Then You Could:
- Spend five days to five years in jail
- Pay a $300 to $10,000 fine
- Have your license suspended for up to 12 to 18 months
If This Is Your Third Offense, Then You Could:
- Spend ten days to five years in jail
- Pay a $500 to $10,000 fine
- Lose your driver’s license for 12 to 18 months
The court can always order DUI offenders to enroll in mandatory courses in alcohol highway safety school and a treatment program.
Also, certain individuals, such as minors, commercial drivers, school vehicle or bus drivers, and drivers involved in crashes that resulted in injury or death, could face the highest level of penalties for a high BAC, even if their BAC is not in that highest-level range.
Our Bucks County DUI Lawyer Will Build a Defense for Your Case
Here at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can help you fight to keep your license, stay out of jail, and keep the DUI off your record. We work on DUI defense cases regularly, so we know what options are available to you based on your situation. We may be able to contest the charges and get your charges reduced or your case dismissed.
We will develop a legal strategy that addresses the specifics of your case. We will review the facts, details, and circumstances involved. We can also:
- Challenge the BAC test or in-field breathalyzer text’s accuracy
- Review if law enforcement conducted the sobriety test correctly
- Determine if police had a legitimate reason to stop you
- Find out if any procedural errors occurred before, during, or after your traffic stop and arrest
Our Bucks County DUI lawyer will work diligently to present your side of the story and seek to minimize the consequences of the DUI charge you face.
You Can Always Reach Us During Your Case
Facing criminal charges for driving under the influence of alcohol is a very stressful and upsetting experience to go through. Bucks County DUI defense lawyer understands what you are going through. He provides legal representation, guidance, support, and help to individuals who have been accused of drunk driving charges and other criminal offenses.
When you become our client, you will always be able to reach us through email, phone, text, or social media. We will keep you updated about your case and answer all your questions and concerns.
Alternatives to a First-Time DUI Conviction
A DUI conviction is not always inevitable. A DUI lawyer can tell you about options that may help you keep your record clean. As well as the defenses that are specific to your case, as a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a deferred verdict with a period of probation. In this case, if you complete your probationary period as mandated, the DUI offense may be expunged from your permanent criminal record.
You may be eligible for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, which also allows you to have your record wiped clean upon completion. The ARD program focus on rehabilitation and reducing the chances of reoffending instead of punishing people. Successful completion of the ADR program has many great benefits, including:
- Getting your DUI charges dismissed
- Avoiding the stigma of having a criminal record
- Reducing or eliminating the driver’s license suspension period
- Allowing you to get your arrest record expunged, which means it is not viewable by employers
If ARD is a possibility for you, we will make a strong case to show how you would benefit from this program.
Call Us for a Free Consultation About a Bucks County DUI Charge
If you or a loved one faces DUI charges in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, contact the team at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., as soon as possible. We’re ready to discuss the details of your case, and David McKenzie, who has years of defending DUI cases in Pennsylvania, is ready to put his knowledge to work for you.