A driving under the influence (DUI) charge is a serious criminal offense, and being convicted of DUI can lead to a permanent criminal record. But this one mistake does not have to affect the rest of your life. There are often options for getting a more favorable outcome through the criminal justice system.
With the help of a skilled Montgomery County DUI lawyer, you may be able to minimize the disruption this causes, especially if this is your first offense. Contact our defense attorneys as soon as possible after your arrest to learn more.
You May Have Many Questions After a DUI
When a police officer stops you for driving under the influence of alcohol in Pennsylvania, you could face attest, a license suspension, house arrest, hefty fines, hours of community service, an increase in insurance premiums, and even a jail sentence. It is not unusual to have significant stress and worry about your future following an arrest.
Most people facing criminal charges for drunk driving have many questions:
- Can I still drive to work after a Pennsylvania DUI?
- How can I keep my driver’s license after a Montgomery County DUI?
- Will I have to go to jail for my PA DUI?
- How much is getting a DUI going to cost me?
- Could I lose my job over a DUI conviction?
If you are facing a DUI or DWI in Montgomery County and have these questions or others like them, our DUI defense lawyer can help you understand and navigate the legal process.
What Can I Expect After a Montgomery County DUI Arrest?
If a police officer stops you and requests you take a breath or blood test and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or above, you could face a DUI charge. And it is important to note that refusing to take a blood, breath, or urine test will likely not help. If you refuse to submit to the breath test, the state can still convict you, and you will likely face other charges. You may also be asked to take a field sobriety test.
After your DUI/DWI arrest, here are some of the things you can expect:
They Will Suspend Your Driver’s License
You have ten days after your arrest to request an administrative hearing to prevent your driver’s license suspension. We recommend having a Montgomery County DUI lawyer from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., represent you at this hearing to give you the best chance of retaining your license or getting special privileges to commute to and from work or school.
It is important to recognize how quickly you must act to request this hearing. You should contact our team for your initial consultation as soon as possible following your arrest. This is especially true for first-time offenders who may have more options to avoid becoming a convicted drunk driver thanks to pre-trial diversion programs available in Montgomery County.
You May Be Eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Discharge (ARD)
Pennsylvania has a program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Discharge (ARD). If this is your first offense, you may qualify. Successful completion of an ARD program will dismiss your DUI charge and could make you eligible for expungement. Our team represents first-time DUI offenders frequently and helps them apply for this program. We can discuss it with you during a confidential consultation with our team.
You Will Probably Have to Go to Court
Most people who face arrest must appear in court for their arraignment. During this appearance, you learn what charges you face and enter your plea. We often try to reduce the charges before arraignment or reach a plea agreement with prosecutors to prevent clients from having to continue to trial. If this is not possible, you may have to go to trial, where a jury will rule on your case.
You Could Face Serious Penalties
If you are convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania, you may face serious legal penalties. Depending on any previous convictions, whether anyone suffered injuries, and other facts of your case, these penalties can vary greatly.
According to PennDOT Driver & Vehicle Services, jail time, fines, license suspension, and required drug and alcohol treatment programs are all common.
If you have never had a DUI before, a police officer stopped you without incident, and your BAC was under .10, you are likely to face a maximum $300 fine, six months of probation, and the possible use of an ignition interlock device. A higher BAC will result in more serious penalties.
Is There Any Way I Can Win My Montgomery County DUI Case?
With a skilled Montgomery County DUI attorney by your side, you have the best shot at reducing your sentence or having your drunk driving charges reduced or dropped. There are several ways we can beat a Pennsylvania DUI charge.
- The prosecution drops the charges: We might be able to argue there is not enough evidence to support going forward with a trial and request the prosecution drop the charges.
- We get some or all evidence ruled inadmissible: The prosecution must present evidence showing you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If we can get the BAC results or other important evidence ruled inadmissible, the prosecution will have a much more difficult time proving its case against you. We might be able to argue the testing methods or equipment were unreliable.
- We negotiate a deal for reduced charges: This is one of the most common ways we help our clients win their cases. We agree to enter a guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence, such as a “wet reckless.” The penalties for this offense are more lenient than those that accompany a DUI.
- The jury finds you not guilty: If we determine the best course of action is to take a case to trial, it is often because we believe we can win in court. If the judge acquits you, the charges will not remain on your record, and there are no further repercussions of your arrest.
Defense Strategies We May Use to Fight a Montgomery County DUI
If you were charged with a DUI, we can fight for your innocence. The defense strategy we use will depend on the circumstances of your case. Our Montgomery criminal defense lawyer may:
- Argue that the breath test was wrong. Breathalyzers must be calibrated to yield a correct blood alcohol content (BAC) reading. If the test was not recently calibrated, we could argue that it was inaccurate.
- Argue that the blood test was wrong. Blood tests are often used in DUI cases to show that the driver was over the legal limit. However, fermentation, improper storage, and other issues can make the blood test results inaccurate.
- Argue that the police officer did not have a valid reason to pull you over in the first place. Police officers must have “reasonable suspicion” to pull someone over. They cannot stop a vehicle without a legitimate reason.
How Can a Montgomery County DUI Lawyer Help Me?
Your Montgomery County DUI attorney plays a key role in both the administrative and legal aspects of this type of charge. We work to help you keep your driver’s license through an administrative appeal while also striving to minimize the legal consequences of your arrests. All Montgomery County DUI cases are different, and it takes a knowledgeable attorney to know which strategy is likely to help you the most.
From analyzing your arrest and the strength of the case against you to negotiating a plea deal, we may work several different angles to reduce the severity of your sentence or get your charges dropped. We can present your options to you, explaining the pros and cons of ARD and other options for a more favorable outcome in your case.
The Attorneys at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Will Defend Your Freedom
Attorney David McKenzie is a former prosecutor and understands how the system works. At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we want our clients to know that just because they are facing a DUI charge doesn’t necessarily mean they will get convicted. We will fight so that you can stay out of prison and keep your license. If you choose our firm, you can expect the following:
- Prompt communication: We are available 24/7 to answer your calls and emails. Once you become our client, we are very accessible through email, phone, or social media. You will always be able to get ahold of your lawyer if you have questions or need updates on your case.
- Free consultations: We offer free case evaluations to potential clients. During the consultation, we will determine how we can help with your case and inform you of your legal options.
- Help you qualify for programs: We will help you qualify for the ARD program. This is a pre-trial diversion program if you do not have a prior record. You must be screened by the District Attorney’s office to be admitted. The goal of ARD is to be rehabilitative instead of a punishment. Our attorneys will advocate for you if this program is a better fit.
- We will fight your charges: The attorneys at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. will fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Having a DUI conviction on your record could cause unforeseen consequences that we want to help you avoid.
Possible Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Not only will a DUI conviction cause serious legal consequences, but you could also face consequences in your personal and professional life. These ramifications could affect you for a few years to the rest of your life. Ways a DUI conviction could affect you include:
- Future employment: If you have a job that requires you to drive, a DUI could be harmful to your current job if your license is revoked. This can also affect the likelihood of finding a new job. If you are looking for a job, having a DUI on your record can negatively affect your search. Some employers may not hire someone who has a criminal conviction, limiting your choices of places to work.
- Personal relationships: A DUI can affect the relationships you have with people close to you.
- Auto insurance: After getting a DUI, auto insurance companies may cancel your coverage or drastically raise your rate. If your auto insurance is canceled, you may have difficulty finding a new insurance carrier. If you do find a new insurance carrier, the monthly premium could be costly.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you have the right to legal representation. We will do what we can to help you avoid having a DUI conviction on your record.
Contact the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Today
If you need help with your Pennsylvania DUI or DWI, contact the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today. We can schedule a time for you to meet with a Montgomery County DUI lawyer to discuss your case and determine your legal options.