A DUI charge is complicated and potentially devastating, especially if you decide to act as your own advocate in court. You are facing a permanent mark on your record, as well as fines and the loss of a job or lost income while you are coping with a prison sentence or a suspended driver’s license. A Pottstown DUI lawyer from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can be your ally, helping you review the case for improper procedures and other factors that can have your case dismissed or your penalties minimized.
What penalties might I face for a Pottstown DUI?
Pennsylvania has a tiered system for DUI sentencing guidelines that include elevated sentences for each of the three tiers (General Impairment, High BAC, and Highest BAC).
While your blood alcohol content (BAC) is the basis of your charges, you can also face higher charges if any of the following apply to your case:
- Damage to property
- Personal injury to a passenger, fellow motorist, or pedestrian while driving under the influence
- Whether a child was present in the vehicle
- Whether your DUI occurred while you were driving with a suspended license
- Whether you are underage
- Being under the influence of drugs
Will I face charges if I refuse to take a chemical test?
Yes. Pennsylvania Vehicle Code 1547, also called the Implied Consent Law, requires you to take a chemical test — breath, blood, or urine — if you are lawfully arrested for a DUI. Refusing to take a chemical test can result in a 12-month license suspension, 18 months if this is not your first refusal or if the state has previously suspended your license for DUI.
And you might face DUI charges, even without the results of the chemical test, because officers can use the refusal against you in court to allege your knowledge of your intoxication. Refusing to take a chemical test can also result in additional penalties, including:
- Mandatory driver safety school
- Mandatory drug or alcohol treatment or random testing
- Community service
Note: While Pennsylvania law requires you to take a chemical test, you are under no obligation to take part in field sobriety tests.
Will I lose my license?
In many cases, yes, you will face a license suspension. However, our firm has years of experience helping those who have been arrested for DUI get their licenses back. We can also work with the state to get you an Occupational Limited License (OLL), also known as a bread and butter license.
This license allows you to drive to and from work and other limited locations. Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your options.
Can a lawyer get my case dismissed?
Even if your case seems to be beyond hope — if your BAC test came back far above the legal limit or you believe that your behavior during the traffic stop proved your level of intoxication, a DUI attorney can review the facts to determine whether there are any defenses applicable to your case. Among the factors that an attorney from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. will review and potentially argue:
- When the officer calibrated the breathalyzer last. (Breathalyzers require calibration frequently when they are used daily.)
- Whether the officer who calibrated the test did so correctly. Was he properly certified?
- Whether the officer administered the test correctly.
- Whether all officers and staff involved followed the chain of command.
- Whether the breathalyzer gave a false positive.
- Whether there was sufficient probable cause to initiate the DUI stop, and whether the stop and subsequent arrest was lawful.
Am I eligible for ARD?
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a program that allows you to make a fresh start, does not require you plead guilty, and allows expungement of your record at a later date. It also means that you can honestly say “no” on a job application if it asks if you have been convicted of a crime. This can keep you from serving jail time and from ruining your future.
The program usually includes community service, alcohol or drug counseling, an alcohol-safety driving course, and a license suspension among other requirements.
You might be eligible for ARD if are a first-time offender and your BAC was low. David will look into your case and determine whether you might be eligible.
Can I afford a lawyer?
Yes. The McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. charges clients a flat fee for our services. This means that you will face no surprise fees later on in the process.
And remember, a DUI lawyer is much cheaper than the ongoing costs of a DUI.
Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today for help with your Pottstown DUI case.
If you have been charged with a DUI, do not take it lightly. Call David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at 610-680-7842 or chat with us now online. Let us uphold your rights and help you get the result you want.