A DUI charge is a serious offense in Pennsylvania and having it on your record can complicate your life, especially when you apply for a job, try to buy a home, or take out a bank loan, among many other things. A conviction for driving under the influence can bring steep consequences, including time behind bars, hefty fines, and a suspended driver’s license.
Whether this is your first DUI or you have prior DUI offenses, you still have rights. McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is here to help protect them. Our DUI defense attorney in Franconia, PA, will explain your legal options during a free consultation. We will review the circumstances surrounding your DUI charges to determine what steps you can take next. Your account of what happened to you deserves to be heard, and we can help you tell it.
DUI Conviction Penalties in Franconia, PA
Pennsylvania lowered the state’s legal limit of alcohol from .10 percent to .08 percent after Act 24 became law in September 2003. As PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services explains, strict penalties apply to people who have the highest blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. Also, the state encourages people to seek professional alcohol treatment to address any substance use disorders they might have.
Repeat DUI offenders are more likely to face tough penalties, as well as those who refuse to take a breath or chemical test when pulled over for a suspected DUI. Pennsylvania currently has three DUI categories based on a person’s BAC level:
- General Impairment: .08% to .099%
- High BAC: .10% to .159%
- Highest BAC: .16% and higher
The penalties for each category change, depending on the number of DUI offenses a person has. However, all categories require alcohol treatment when ordered.
General Impairment Penalties
In the general impairment DUI category, all are charged with a misdemeanor, whether you have prior DUI offenses or not. Jail time increases with each offense. If you have one prior offense, you face five days to six months in jail. If you have two or more prior DUI offenses, you face 10 days to two years in prison.
Fines start at $300 and can go up to $5,000. Those who have one or more offenses may be required to have an electronic ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles. This device, which must remain on the offender’s vehicle for a year, measures how much alcohol is in a person’s breath after they blow into a mouthpiece.
High BAC Penalties
In the high BAC category, repeat DUI offenders face a 12- to 18-month driver’s license suspension and fines of $750 to $10,000, depending on their number of prior DUI offenses. They also face one month in jail or up to five years in prison. Additionally, they will have to attend alcohol treatment and have an electronic ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle for a year.
Highest BAC and Controlled Substance Penalties
In the highest BAC category, the penalties include suspending an offender’s driver’s license for 12 to 18 months and up to five years in prison. Offenders are also required to pay $1,000 to $10,000 in fines. They may be ordered to enter alcohol treatment and agree to have an electronic ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a year.
How Our DUI Attorney Will Defend Your Case in Franconia, PA
The team at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is here to help you understand the charges you face and develop a defense strategy that could result in your charges being reduced, dismissed, or dropped. Not all DUI charges are the same, so we will explain the differences as they relate to your case.
We will look at all aspects of your case to determine if your constitutional rights were violated when you were arrested. We will also check to see if any other errors were made that led to this legal situation, such as your Miranda rights not being read to you as required by law.
Our legal team knows Pennsylvania’s DUI laws and how DUI checkpoints are supposed to operate. We also know how to build a defense that could prove you were improperly charged. We will tailor our legal services specifically to your situation, but some potential defenses include:
- Proving you were not impaired when you were stopped or that your BAC was under the legal limit when you were arrested
- Proving your traffic stop was illegal
- Proving the DUI checkpoint was not legal
- Challenging the accuracy of your field sobriety test
- Proving you were not the driver (mistaken identity)
- Showing that the police report contained inaccuracies
If we can’t get your charge dropped, we may be able to get it reduced if you plead guilty to a lesser charge with a lighter sentence. This can help you avoid a DUI conviction and a criminal record.
How the ARD Program Can Also Help You Avoid a DUI Charge
If you are a first-time DUI offender with no prior criminal history and you have been charged in Franconia Township in Montgomery County, PA, you could be a candidate for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved this program to recognize DUI offenders who are willing to seek rehabilitation for a substance use disorder.
People who complete the program avoid jail time and have their charges dropped. However, they must meet the following program terms:
- Community service
- Six to 12 months of probation
- Paying for and attending alcohol highway safety school
- Paying restitution and court costs
- Attending alcohol treatment (if required)
Our DUI defense attorney can determine if you or your loved one are eligible for the ARD program or if there are other resources that could lead to lesser charges.
Call Us Today for a Free Evaluation of Your DUI Case in Pennsylvania
Having our DUI defense attorney on your side to help you fight a DUI charge in Franconia, PA is an investment in your future. Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in Pennsylvania is taken very seriously, and the consequences of doing so are among the harshest in the United States.
Attorney David McKenzie is a former prosecutor who has served on both sides of the courtroom. He has helped many clients receive favorable results in their legal situations and wants to learn more about how he can help you. For a free consultation with our team, call (610) 991-7219 anytime. We are available to you 24/7.