If you face DUI charges in the state of Pennsylvania, you can expect a conviction to mean heavy fines, the suspension of your driver’s license, and possibly jail time. You will also have a permanent criminal record.
Before you try to face these charges on your own, talk to a Ridley DUI lawyer about your options.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our DUI attorneys will protect your legal rights and explore every option to help you avoid these harsh consequences. Contact us at 610-680-7842 to schedule a free evaluation of your case.
How Will a DUI Conviction Affect My Life?
State drunk driving laws address a DUI conviction in a serious way, even for a first offense.
In addition to fines, court fees, and potential jail time or probation, you face a potential 18-month suspension of your driver’s license. You must attend alcohol highway safety school and potentially participate in a rehab or substance abuse treatment program. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
For most people, however, the permanent criminal record poses the largest challenge. Your conviction will show up when a potential employer or landlord runs a background check on you. It will also show up if you apply for a professional license, such as those required to sell real estate.
This means a DUI conviction can prevent you from getting a job, renting a home, or even earning a living. Your car insurance rates will also go up substantially, as insurers recognize the risks of providing liability coverage for someone who drove drunk.
What Are the Penalties for a Ridley DUI Conviction?
For a first offense DUI in Ridley—as long as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below 0.08—you will likely get probation for up to six months. However, if your BAC was 0.10 or higher, or if you have prior DUI convictions on your record, you could go to jail.
Pennsylvania uses a three-tier penalty system for DUI convictions, as outlined below.
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In addition to the fines noted above, you must pay court costs and fees along with the cost of the alcohol highway safety course. If the judge orders you to put an ignition interlock device on your car, you must also pay for the installation of the device as well as a monthly fee.
Whether you go to jail or not, the personal and financial burdens of a DUI conviction are substantial.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
When you face a serious criminal charge of this nature, it can cause stress and confusion. Having us on your side will not make that pressure disappear, but it will ease your mind significantly and help you make the right choices for your future.
We can explain the potential legal ramifications of your charges and help you consider your options. We will also scrutinize the evidence relating to your traffic stop, arrest, and chemical testing for BAC. If the police violated your rights or failed to follow the established guidelines at any point during these processes, it will provide us with leverage to use with the prosecutor.
For example, if the police did not have reasonable suspicion that you broke the law before pulling you over, we can argue that the traffic stop was illegal.
If the police did not follow established guidelines for administering field sobriety testing, they may have lacked the probable cause necessary for placing you under arrest or requesting that you submit to chemical BAC testing.
We may also identify potential problems with the breath testing equipment used to measure your BAC or with the qualifications of the testing technician.
We can use any problems of this nature to negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced or dismissed. In some cases, we can submit a motion to the court for a full dismissal.
If these strategies do not yield the desired results, however, we can use the information we gather as the basis of your defense—and make your case in court.
Can I Have a DUI Conviction Expunged?
DUI convictions generally do not qualify for expungement, other than for the elderly and the deceased. However, for a first-offense DUI in Ridley, you may want to consider the option of the Delaware County accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program.
The purpose of ARD is to give some first-time offenders a chance to change their behavior through treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. Upon successful completion of the program, participants have the opportunity to request the dismissal of their charges.
We must prepare your application for this program and submit it to the Delaware County District Attorney (DA). If the DA approves your application, you will go before the court and plead “no contest” to your DUI charges and agree to the terms and requirements of the program.
Although completing the program will take time, you can have your charges dropped and your record expunged once you have successfully met the terms set forth for completion.
However, if you fail to meet the program’s requirements, your “no contest” plea will stand and you will go back to court for sentencing on the original charges.
Although this program costs approximately the same amount as a conviction, you will have the chance to clear your record.
We can determine if you qualify and help you decide if this approach is the best one for you.
Talk to a Ridley DUI Lawyer Today to Explore Your Options.
A DUI lawyer can ensure the protection of your legal rights if you face a conviction. An attorney will also help to ensure that you truly understand what a conviction would mean for your future.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., attorney David C. McKenzie III understands the system, having worked extensively as a DUI lawyer as well as a prosecutor. He will put his knowledge and experience to work for you to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
Call us today at 610-680-7842 to schedule your no-cost consultation with a Ridley DUI lawyer.