In Chester County, a DUI conviction means heavy fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and the very real possibility of jail time. You will also have a permanent criminal record. If you are facing drunk driving charges, Chester County DUI lawyer David McKenzie can help by protecting your legal rights and fighting for the best possible outcome for your case.
How Will a Chester DUI Conviction Impact My Life?
Upon conviction for DUI in Chester, you may face monetary fines, driver’s license suspension, and potentially time behind bars.
The legal standard for DUI, per state law, is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. If your BAC exceeds 0.16 percent, if you have prior drunk driving convictions, or if your arrest involved any aggravating circumstances, the severity of the penalties will increase based on a three-tier penalty system.
In addition to fines and jail time, you must complete an alcohol highway safety program. The judge may also require you to complete a period of probation or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for as long as one year.
More importantly, a DUI conviction remains on your record permanently. It will show up whenever someone runs a background check on you. This can prevent you from getting a job, renting a house, or renting a car. It can also interfere with obtaining or holding many types of professional licenses. The cost of your car insurance may also rise exponentially.
If you are facing a DUI conviction in Chester, our dedicated legal team can help.
How Can a Chester County DUI Lawyer Help Me?
Our DUI defense attorney in Chester County, PA, can provide legal representation and guidance, protecting your legal rights through every step of the process. At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we provide legal advice and support you can depend on. Our team will ensure that you understand the charges you face and what they mean for your future. We will also explain all of your potential options and help you make the best choice for you.
Unlawful Traffic Stops
In Chester and throughout Chester County, police officers conduct traffic stops and set up DUI checkpoints to find drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. However, traffic stops and sobriety checkpoints must be conducted properly. Evidence acquired during an unlawful traffic stop is inadmissible during a DUI case.
Criminal defense attorney David McKenzie knows these and other legal standards inside and out. He understands how to use them to your best advantage. If the police violated your rights in some way, we can use this as a bargaining tool to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges. We may even be able to persuade the judge to dismiss your case.
If the prosecutor is not willing to negotiate for a lesser charge, our DUI lawyer in Chester County is uniquely qualified to build a strong case for your defense and fight for you in court.
What Legal Strategies Might a DUI Lawyer Use to Defend Me?
The prosecution must prove that you violated Pennsylvania DUI law beyond a reasonable doubt. Our job is to fight for innocence by demonstrating that there is doubt as to your guilt. Although every case is unique, we may use one or more of the following legal strategies to fight your criminal charges.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
Unless a law enforcement officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are breaking the law, they cannot legally stop your car. If we can establish that the police lacked that reasonable suspicion in your case, it could invalidate the stop. For sobriety checkpoints, we may be able to successfully prove that the checkpoint was illegal.
Lack of Probable Cause
Even if the traffic stop was legal, the police must establish probable cause before asking you to submit to chemical BAC testing. In Chester, officers typically accomplish this using field sobriety testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established regulations for field sobriety testing. If the officer failed to comply with these regulations, the judge may not allow your test results as evidence.
BAC Testing Problems
The (NHTSA) has also established regulations that govern breathalyzer testing. The police must conduct regular calibration and testing of the equipment, and they must follow a strict maintenance schedule. Testing operators must obtain certification and maintain it through continuing education. If we can demonstrate any failure to follow these standards, the chemical test evidence will not stand.
Blood alcohol testing can also be unreliable. For example, blood that is stored too long can ferment, which increases the blood alcohol level. Blood tests may also be contaminated by other substances, which can throw off the results.
We Will Start on Your Case Right Away
The sooner you contact us, the better chance you have of an improved outcome. A DUI Lawyer in Chester County, PA, can go to work immediately, gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, and identifying the best way to help you.
Do I Have Other Options to Avoid Jail Time?
If you have no prior drunk driving convictions, you may qualify for the Chester County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The ARD program offers first-time, non-violent offenders the opportunity to complete a diversion program instead of spending time in jail.
Our attorney can help you apply for participation in the program. If the District Attorney (DA) accepts your application, you will appear before the judge and enter a “no contest” plea, at which time the judge will establish the requirements for completing the ARD program.
Benefits of the ARD Program
If you successfully complete the program, you gain many benefits. First, you avoid the stigma that comes with being convicted of a drunk driving offense. Your charges are dismissed, and you do not go through a DUI trial. Successful completion of the ADR program also allows you to ask the court to expunge the arrest record so it will not show up on background checks.
Our best way to avoid the harsh penalties associated with a DUI conviction is to convince the prosecutor to drop the charges or to beat the charges in court. However, the ARD program does offer a viable solution for many people facing drunk driving charges. We can help you understand these options and what they mean for your future so that you can make an informed decision.
How to Choose a DUI Lawyer in Chester County
Choosing the right DUI attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. You need a DUI lawyer who understands the Chester County system and who will fight for you every step of the way.
Attorney David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is a former criminal prosecutor who understands exactly how the system works and knows how to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. He will fight for your legal rights and put his knowledge and experience to work for you. Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today to schedule a free consultation and case review with a DUI lawyer in Chester County, PA.