Conviction for a DUI in Pennsylvania may send you to jail. You will have to pay an expensive fine and you will lose your driver’s license for up to a year. Even worse, your conviction will go on your permanent record, making it difficult to get a job or rent an apartment.
A DUI lawyer in Berks County, PA, can help you avoid these serious consequences. The attorneys at the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can protect your legal rights, answer all your questions, and help obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
Do not delay. Call us today at 610-680-7842 to schedule your free case evaluation.
How Will a Berks County DUI Conviction Affect My Future?
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and any prior criminal history, you could spend as little as five days or as long as five years behind bars for a DUI conviction in Berks County.
You must pay a fine that ranges between $300 and $10,000 and you may lose your driver’s license for up to 18 months. You may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. The court will require you to attend alcohol highway safety classes or, if the judge deems it appropriate, a substance abuse treatment program.
Finally, your conviction will become a part of your permanent criminal record, with few options for sealing or expunging this information.
This means your crime will appear in background checks a potential employer or landlord might run. This may also prevent you from renting a car. Although you will be able to get car insurance, it will cost significantly more with a DUI conviction on your record.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Berks County?
In Pennsylvania, DUI convictions require either mandatory jail time or mandatory probation of six months to five years.
The police will arrest you for DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. If your BAC registers above 0.099 percent, or if you have prior drunk driving convictions, the penalties increase significantly.
The most effective way to avoid jail time and minimize the potential damage a DUI conviction may cause in your life is to engage the services of one of our DUI lawyers immediately.
How Can I Fight My DUI Charges?
The most effective way to fight DUI charges is with our help. With our attorneys on your side, you have a fighting chance at a better outcome in your case. We will protect your legal rights and ensure that you understand all of your options and how they could affect your life.
After studying the prosecution’s evidence against you, we can identify potential weaknesses in their case and use them as a negotiating tool. Depending on the evidence, we may convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges or even drop the criminal charges completely.
Some common mistakes that occur in drunk driving cases include problems with the traffic stop, errors in field sobriety testing, and issues with breathalyzer testing. Each of these components must comply with governing laws and the legal rules of evidence.
Below are some potential strategies we may use to fight your charges:
- Establishing that law enforcement used an illegal DUI checkpoint;
- Proving officers failed to read you your rights;
- Showing the arresting officer lacked probable cause;
- Offering evidence that law enforcement did not adhere to field sobriety testing standards; or
- Showing that problems existed with breathalyzer equipment.
The sooner you contact us, the better your chances are for getting your charges dismissed or reduced. If your case does have to go to court, we will need as much time as possible to build a strong defense on your behalf.
Can I get a DUI Removed from My Criminal Record?
The chances that you can get a DUI conviction removed—or expunged—from your criminal record are almost none. Although Pennsylvania law does allow for some expungements, these occur only after the convicted person has passed away or has reached 70 years of age and maintained a clean record for the last decade.
You may also file a special petition with the court after five years—provided you have kept a clean record during that time. Even if you meet these requirements, a judge can deny your request.
What Other Options Do I Have?
In some cases—specifically if this is your first DUI charge and you committed no violent offense in conjunction with drunk driving—you may qualify for the Berks County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.
This program provides a way for first-time offenders to mitigate some of the worst consequences of a DUI conviction. To obtain acceptance into the program, we can help you apply and petition the Berks County District Attorney (DA) to approve your participation.
If the DA agrees, you will appear before a judge and enter a guilty plea. The judge will establish the terms of your program, which will likely require you to complete community service, check in periodically with your adult probation officer, and attend highway alcohol safety school. You must also pay all applicable fines, court costs, and fees.
In exchange for your strict compliance with the ARD requirements, you may get your driver’s license back sooner. More importantly, you can qualify for an automatic expungement of your record.
Finding a DUI Lawyer in Berks County, PA
Attorney David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is a former criminal prosecutor. Today, he puts this experience to work for his DUI clients. Understanding the law from the perspective of the prosecutor provides Mr. McKenzie with unique insight that helps him get the job done for you.
Do not attempt to negotiate the complex criminal process without an attorney to defend you and protect your legal rights. We offer a free consultation and case review to DUI clients. We endeavor to answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision for your future.
Contact the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today at 610-680-7842 to schedule an appointment with a DUI lawyer in Berks County, PA.