Even your first DUI conviction can disrupt your life significantly.
If you face drunk driving charges in Pennsylvania, a conviction will mean you may have to spend time in jail as well as paying a substantial fine and losing your driver’s license for a year or more. You will have a permanent criminal record as well, which can hinder your ability to get a job or get into a good university.
A Marple DUI lawyer can help.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can protect your legal rights and help you understand your options. We will work to get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed or, if necessary, we will make the strongest possible case for your defense. In some cases, you may even qualify for a diversion program.
Do not try to fight Marple DUI charges on your own. Contact us today at 610-680-7842 to schedule a free consultation and case review with an attorney.
What Happens After a Marple DUI Conviction?
Pennsylvania’s DUI laws define basic impairment as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. If you have actual, physical control of a vehicle while impaired, the police can arrest you and take you to jail.
Pennsylvania’s three-tier penalty system scales an offender’s sentence based on BAC level, the existence of prior DUI convictions, and any potentially aggravating circumstances that may exist at the time of your arrest.
Aggravating circumstances include having a BAC above 0.10 percent, having an open container in the car, or having a passenger age 14 or below in the car at the time of your arrest.
As a part of your sentence, the judge can place you on probation, require you to attend an alcohol treatment program, impose community service, and require you to place an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Perhaps the worst part of a DUI conviction is the permanent criminal record, which is difficult to expunge or seal. This means that anyone who runs a background check on you—including prospective employers and landlords—will know about your criminal past. You will also pay substantially more for your car insurance.
How Can a Marple DUI Lawyer Help?
Even if you believe the prosecutor has persuasive evidence against you, take the time to consult with one of our DUI lawyers to learn about your options. We understand this complex legal challenge, and have familiarity with the Delaware County court system. We can provide an honest assessment of your situation and explain all your options. Our goal is to protect your legal rights while bringing about the best possible solution in your case.
For example, if the police violated your legal rights or the BAC testing technician made an error, it could invalidate even the most seemingly incriminating evidence in your case. In that case, we can negotiate with the prosecutor to try and have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. If it makes sense for your situation, we can take your case to court to fight the drunk driving charges pending against you.
How Does a DUI Lawyer Fight Drunk Driving Charges?
Some of the most common strategies we use to fight drunk driving charges involve the possibility that the police violated your legal rights during the traffic stop, arrest, or BAC testing process.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
If the police did not have reasonable suspicion that you broke the law in some way, we may attempt to have the traffic stop declared illegal. In that case, any evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court.
Lack of Probable Cause
If the police did not establish probable cause for arrest during your traffic stop, your chemical BAC testing results may be inadmissible as evidence. For example, if the police use a field sobriety test to establish probable cause, they must do so in strict accordance with the standards from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
BAC Testing Problems
The police must calibrate, test, and maintain the equipment used for breath BAC testing according to published standards. The officer who administers the test must have specific training and certification and must perform the test in a prescribed manner. Any deviation from these requirements can render the breath testing results invalid.
We can use any of these or other strategies to negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges reduced or dismissed. If your case goes to court, we can use these strategies to establish reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury.
We can also tell you whether you may qualify for participation in a Delaware County DUI diversion program.
Is a Diversion Program an Option in My Case?
We can explore the possibility of your participation in the Delaware County Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, and help determine if you may qualify. If so, this may provide a way to avoid jail after a DUI.
If you have no prior convictions and no aggravating circumstances related to your current charges, you can apply for participation.
If the county accepts you into the ARD program, you will enter into a probation agreement that specifies the requirements of your participation. If you complete the terms of the agreement, you can qualify for the expungement of your records.
If you do not complete the program, however, you will go back to court for sentencing, typically with the maximum penalties possible for your charges.
Although participating in the ARD program will cost about the same as a DUI conviction, you will avoid having a conviction on your record and the many problems that can pose in your life.
How Can I Talk to a Marple DUI Lawyer for Free?
Before you make any decisions about your future, talk with a DUI lawyer at the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., to determine what your options are.
We can explain how a conviction will affect your future and help you explore each possible alternative. We represent Marple clients charged with DUI, providing proactive, professional legal representation. We offer a complimentary consultations and case reviews, so you can make an informed choice for your future.
Contact us today at 610-680-7842 to speak to a Marple DUI lawyer.