If you are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and wondering how you will get to work if you are no longer able to drive, choosing the right law firm to help you as you battle these charges can mean the difference between a difficult time ahead and one that could be much smoother.
A Norristown DUI lawyer at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help build a defense to support your case and work to get the charges reduced or dropped.
What Constitutes a DUI Arrest in Norristown
When police arrest a driver on DUI charges in Pennsylvania, they believe the driver is under the influence of alcohol or another substance. They also believe the person is incapable of driving safely and could put others on the road at risk. Driving with a BAC (blood-alcohol content) of at least .08% or higher means you can be charged with a DUI under the law. For commercial drivers, the BAC level considered impaired under the law is even lower at .04%, and bus drivers at .02%. The BAC is also .02% for drivers under 21 years of age.
Penalties You Could Face for a DUI in Norristown
The physical, emotional, and financial costs of a DUI can be steep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 3,700 people died due to an alcohol-impaired driver in Pennsylvania between 2009 and 2018.
The penalties for a DUI conviction depend on the circumstances at the time of your arrest. Do you have any prior offenses in the past 10 years? Sentencing guidelines are based on the answer to that question and divided into three categories: general impairment, high rate, and highest rate.
DUIs that fall under this category mean you have a BAC of .08% but not higher than .10%. If this is your first offense, you will not have your license suspended. If this is your second or third offense, your license could be suspended for up to a year.
A first offense could end in a $300 fine. A second offense could cost you between $300 and $2,500. A third offense could mean a $500 up to a $5,000 fine.
You could face a six-month probation for a first offense. A second offense could mean five days to six months in jail. You could be behind bars anywhere from 10 days to two years if this is your third offense.
You could face higher penalties if your BAC was .10% but not greater than .16%. The state considers you a high-rate DUI if your crash caused an accident resulting in property damage, injury, or death.
A first-offense high-rate DUI can mean up to six months in jail, a yearlong suspension of your license, and between $500 and $5,000 in fines.
Under this category, a second offense means between one to six months behind bars, $750 to $5,000 in fines, and a 12-month suspension of your license.
A third offense can mean three months to five years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, and an 18-month suspension of your driver’s license.
Highest Rate DUI
If you had a BAC of .16% or more, refused a Breathalyzer test (which violates Pennsylvania’s implied consent law), or had controlled substances in your system, your charges would fall under the highest rate DUI.
A first offense of this kind can mean a yearlong suspension of your license, up to $5,000 in fines, and six months in jail.
A second offense can mean between three months and five years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, and an 18-month revocation of your license.
A third offense means between one and five years behind bars, up to $10,000 in fines, and an 18-month suspension of your license.
A Norristown DUI lawyer at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help fight to reduce or have your charges dropped. You do not have to battle your DUI charges on your own.
What a Lawyer Serving Norristown Can Do for You
When facing a DUI charge, that does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. An attorney can help you fight these charges by handling your DUI case from start to finish. A lawyer can:
- Investigate your case
- Determine if there are any challenges to beat the charges
- Gather evidence from the accident scene (photos, surveillance video)
- Speak to eyewitnesses who may back up your story
- Hire medical and accident reconstruction experts to testify on your behalf
- Keep you updated on your case as it progresses
In fact, once you sign with McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., you will always be able to reach your lawyer through email, text, phone, or social media. We will be there for you throughout your case.
Can You Win a DUI Case?
DUI cases don’t always end in jail time or costly penalties. Our team will fight to defend your rights. These are several ways you can win a DUI case:
- You receive a not guilty verdict: If our team believes we can win your case in court, we’ll proceed to trial. If the jury finds you not guilty, you will be completely released of your charges, and the allegations against you will be removed from your record.
- We employ a plea deal to reduce your charges: We can use plea deals to reduce your charges, even if the odds are stacked against you. This plea will allow us to negotiate the terms of your sentencing to avoid jail time.
- The prosecutors drop their charges: We have experience defending clients against DUI charges. Attorney David McKenzie is a former prosecutor. He knows the system and has built relationships within the courthouse. David will fight to keep you out of jail and the DUI off your record.
- We prove evidence is inadmissible: Prosecutors rely on evidence to make their case. But if your BAC test was not administered properly or was improperly handled, or you were pulled over without cause, we may be able to get the evidence dismissed, and the charges against you dropped.
If you have questions or concerns about the potential outcome of your DUI case, our team will discuss this with you during your free initial consultation.
What Is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and Could It Help Me?
The ARD program is available to the residents of Montgomery County. It’s designed to reduce courtroom costs by dismissing DUI charges for first-time offenders. This program typically takes the place of a plea deal. To apply, you must submit an application to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
The benefits of enrolling in an ARD program:
- Your charges could be expunged from your record
- Your jail time could be reduced or eliminated
- Your license suspension period could be shortened
This program isn’t for everyone, though. The following conditions could make you ineligible:
- If a minor under 14 years old was in your vehicle at the time of the arrest
- You have previous pending DUI charges
- You have pending assault or other violent crime charges
- You have previous convictions
For the ARD program to be successful, you typically need to complete a highway safety school and work for a set number of community service hours, all while reporting to the county probation department.
Participating in the ARD program can offer you a second chance. Our team can inform you if this program is right for you. We will also help you submit your application on time and represent you during your ARD hearing. The presence of a lawyer could benefit the outcome of your case.
Testimonials from Our Past DUI Clients
We aggressively defend the rights of our DUI clients. These reviews tell their stories of working with McKenzie Law Firm:
- “David works magic. He managed to get my DUI from a second offense down to a first offense. I could have been serving 3 months in jail but managed to avoid that because of David. He is very reliable and responds promptly. Would highly recommend him to anyone.” – Corinne D.
- “Had an employee go through a rough patch while out in Pennsylvania. He was out there for business and caught a serious felony DUI with a major accident. McKenzie Law Firm really came through!” – Andrew S.
Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. for Help Today
Being charged with a DUI can be devastating. Your future may seem uncertain as you look ahead to your career and support your family throughout this difficult time. A Norristown DUI lawyer at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help you battle these charges. Firm founder David McKenzie is a former prosecutor with skills on both sides of a courtroom.
Call to discuss your case with a team member today. The initial call is free and confidential.