Pennsylvania takes driving under the influence (DUI) violations seriously. If you find yourself facing DUI charges in Lansdale or elsewhere in Montgomery County, you need a skilled DUI attorney on your side. At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can help you minimize the impact your arrest has on you work, school, and family life.
We can help you fight the charges against you. We work hard to mitigate the effects of the charges and are often able to reduce the possible penalties our clients face.
How does Pennsylvania define a DUI?
Like other states, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Pennsylvania is .08 percent for drivers of legal drinking age. You will face DUI charges if police stop you and you have a BAC at or above this limit. This type of traffic stop typically occurs because:
- You broke another traffic law and local or state police stopped you;
- You caused a crash or were in a crash; or
- Local or state police stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
You will also face similar penalties if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test when police suspect you of drinking and driving. These charges are often more difficult to combat than DUI charges.
Another reason you may face arrest without testing above the legal limit is if police believe you are under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medications. Because there is no legal limit for these drugs, any level of impairment may be enough for an arrest. These charges bring similar penalties as a DUI offense, but you may face additional charges for drug possession, depending on the circumstances.
No matter the specifics of your situation, our lawyers can help. Contact us as soon as possible after your arrest so we can protect your rights throughout the process.
Do I have to go to court for a DUI?
Most people who face charges after a DUI arrest do have to go to court at least once. You must appear in court for an arraignment, where you will first hear the charges against you and enter a plea. In some cases, there may also be a short appearance shortly after your arrest.
If you contact us before your arraignment, we can advise you on how to proceed and represent you during the process. Often, this is the only time our clients face a judge. We may be able to convince the prosecutors to drop your charges, propose a plea arrangement, or help you qualify for special programs before your case reaches trial.
Will I lose my license after a DUI arrest?
There are two ways you could lose your driving privileges after a DUI arrest. First, an arrest will trigger an automatic administrative driver’s license suspension. Unless you request an administrative hearing and convince the administrative law judge you were not driving drunk, you will lose your license.
Preventing this will be our top priority. We have to act quickly to request an administrative hearing. At this hearing, we can present evidence to show why the administrative law judge should allow you to retain your full driving privileges or give you a permit that allows you to drive to work or school.
This takes care of the administrative driver’s license suspension, but you may still face suspension as a part of your legal penalties if the court convicts you of drunk driving. If you have a clear criminal record and meet other requirements, you may qualify for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Discharge (ARD) program. This program helps you get your license back sooner. Alternatively, we may be able to arrange a plea bargain for a lesser charge that does not include a license suspension.
What penalties will I face if convicted?
DUI charges are misdemeanors, but the consequences can vary in severity. They may include a license suspension, jail time, fines, and enrollment in an approved alcohol abuse course or alcohol treatment program. The severity of these penalties varies in response to a number of factors. For example, if you have had previous DUI convictions in the past 10 years or your BAC was unusually high at the time of your stop, you will face stiffer consequences.
If a drunk driver causes an injury or death, they may face additional charges. These can include aggravated assault while under the influence or homicide while under the influence. These are felony charges with much stiffer penalties, including extended prison sentences, high fines, and other consequences.
Why do I need a DUI lawyer on my side?
We can often help our clients avoid some of the most dreaded penalties associated with a DUI charge. Our goal is to prevent you from facing a conviction. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, we may be able to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges against you, negotiate a plea arrangement for reckless driving or other offense, arrange for you to take part in the ARD program, or win your case in court.
You do not want to try to navigate the legal process on your own. You have a much better chance of facing reduced penalties, retaining your driving privileges, and avoiding jail time with us on your side.
The lawyers at the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help you overcome a DUI arrest.
Facing any kind of criminal charge is stressful, but a DUI charge can impact your everyday life for years to come. At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we understand how important your driver’s license is to your career, education, and family. Call us today at 610-680-7842 to schedule a time to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.