If you have been charged with DUI in Horsham, PA or the surrounding areas of Montgomery County, you already recognize the seriousness of your situation.
Facing one or more counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs places you at risk of incarceration, costly financial penalties and suspension of your driver’s license. And, even after you’ve served your time and paid your fines, your conviction remains on your record. This can haunt you – economically and socially – for the rest of your life.
Understanding the complexities of your DUI charges and the criminal defense process will help you make wise decisions about the direction of your case. But, because the Pennsylvania statutes for driving under the influence are especially convoluted, a Horsham DUI lawyer can provide valuable insight and assistance.
But, even more important, a DUI attorney can aggressively defend your rights under the law, protecting both your short- and long-term future.
What Horsham DUI Charges Mean for You
The statutory minimum penalties for Montgomery County DUI depend on the circumstances of your arrest and any prior offenses you may have.
Understanding the Legal Process for a DUI Charge
Once you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Horsham, a preliminary arraignment will be held, during which you will be advised of the charges pending against you. At this time, a judge will determine whether you may be released on bond pending your preliminary hearing, or if you should be held.
The preliminary hearing, typically scheduled for approximately two weeks after your arraignment, is arguably the most important phase of the DUI legal process. During the preliminary hearing, the judge will consider whether your case should proceed.
The preliminary hearing provides you and your DUI lawyer with the best opportunity for having your charges reduced or dropped. Having an experiences attorney by your side at this time is vital to protecting your legal rights.
If the judge elects to allow the prosecutor to move forward with your case, you will be formally charged and enter your plea. Deciding on the right course of action at this critical juncture – should your case proceed that far – will determine how harshly your DUI charges will affect your future.
Can you fight a Montgomery County DUI charge?
Yes, you can fight DUI charges. In fact, for many clients charged with drunk driving in Horsham, requesting to have the charges dismissed is the best option.
Under Pennsylvania law, the arresting officer is obligated to follow established procedure. If the officer failed to conduct your arrest correctly, your charges may be invalid. If your DUI lawyer can demonstrate that the officer lacked probable cause or made mistakes during your traffic stop, he or she may be able to successful in having the charges dismissed.
Potential justification for a dismissal of Pennsylvania DUI charges include:
- An illegal traffic stop or DUI checkpoint
- A lack of reasonable suspicion that the driver was impaired
- Failure to adequately inform you of your rights
- Incorrect administration of field sobriety tests
- Faulty or improperly calibrated testing equipment
- An improperly trained officer or one who lacked jurisdiction
These and other questionable circumstances can provide your DUI attorney with sufficient evidence to successfully contest your arrest and have the charges dismissed.
Options for Avoiding Jail for DUI in Horsham
Many clients charged with DUI in Montgomery County can avoid jail time by taking advantages of alternatives offered under the Pennsylvania statutes.
The Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion program, or ARD, may help first-time DUI offenders avoid jail time. If you have a previous criminal conviction, participation in a drug or alcohol diversion program or in a Pennsylvania drug court program may also offer a viable alternative to incarceration.
To pursue any of these alternatives, you must understand and follow the appropriate judicial procedures. An experienced DUI attorney can advocate for you with the judge, and provide the best chance of keeping you out of jail.
How to Select an Experienced Horsham DUI Lawyer
Having an experienced attorney represent you in your DUI case can mean the difference between learning a valuable lesson and having your entire life disrupted.
Unfortunately, choosing the best attorney to represent you can be as challenging as understanding the Pennsylvania statutes for driving under the influence.
The right DUI lawyer can protect you through every step of the process. Having your charges reduced or dismissed, keeping you out of jail, helping you maintain your driver’s license and keeping your criminal record clean are just some of the advantages that an attorney may be able to provide.
Every client’s case is unique. And, although not everyone will be able to emerge unscathed from their DUI charges, talking to a compassionate lawyer about your options can provide peace of mind and help you choose the right path.
Contact our office today to learn more, and to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your case with our experienced Horsham DUI lawyer: 610-680-7842.