If you face DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you risk having your driver’s license suspended for an extended period, in addition to substantial monetary fines and even jail time.
In addition to those penalties, a conviction will leave you with a permanent criminal record, challenging your ability to get a good job, rent a house, get into a good school, or hold a professional license.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our lawyers can protect your legal rights and use sound legal strategies to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case—and for your future.
Call 610-680-7842 today to schedule a free consultation with a Springfield DUI lawyer.
How Will a DUI Conviction Affect My Life?
Under state law, a first-offense Springfield DUI conviction can send you to jail for six months. With aggravating circumstances or prior convictions, that sentence can easily increase to as much as five years behind bars.
Your fines can range from as little as $300 all the way up to $1,000. You also face the suspension of your driver’s license for as long as 18 months. You will have to attend an alcohol highway safety course and potentially go to treatment or rehab for alcohol abuse, if the judge requires it. You may have to perform community service, serve probation, and pay to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle.
On top of all that, a DUI conviction will leave you with a permanent criminal record, with few options to get it expunged or sealed. That black mark on your record may not seem like a problem until you try to get a job, rent a house, or do anything else that requires a background check. Your record could prevent you from getting a student loan, getting into a good school, or qualifying for a license to teach, sell real estate, or work as a nurse. You can also expect to pay substantially more for your auto insurance premiums.
What Constitutes a DUI in Springfield?
In Springfield, you will face basic DUI charges if you drove a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08 and 0.099 percent. If your BAC exceeded that range, the charges and penalties grow significantly harsher.
Pennsylvania uses a three-tier system for assessing DUI penalties, as outlined below.
We can explain the potential penalties you may face, depending on the charges pending against you, as well as any viable options for fighting the charges.
Can a DUI Lawyer Help My Case?
We will, above all, ensure the protection of your legal rights throughout the process. We will explain the charges pending against you and all the ways a conviction will potentially affect your life. We will seek to answer all your questions, to ensure you understand your options and how each one may impact your future.
We have an in-depth understanding of the Pennsylvania DUI laws and the criminal process. We understand how the prosecutor will go about building a case against you.
Most importantly, we can find any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and leverage that information to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction or dismissal of the charges. If negotiating fails to provide a satisfactory outcome, we will prepare the strongest possible case to defend you in court.
How Will a Lawyer Fight My Drunk Driving Charges?
The legal strategy we take to defend you will vary depending on the unique circumstances of your arrest. These are some of the most common legal tactics we use to fight drunk driving charges.
No Reasonable Suspicion
The police must have reasonable suspicion that you broke the law in some way before pulling you over. If officers did not establish reasonable suspicion before stopping your car, the court could dismiss your charges.
No Probable Cause
Once officers stop your car, they must establish probable cause to arrest you and request chemical BAC testing. Officers typically use field sobriety testing to accomplish this objective. When administering these tests, the police must adhere to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations for field sobriety testing. If they failed to do so, a judge can disallow any evidence the police obtained—including your BAC testing results.
Faulty Chemical Testing
NHTSA regulations also dictate how the police must conduct breathalyzer testing for BAC. They must test, calibrate, and maintain breath testing equipment on an established schedule. In addition, the technician administering the BAC testing must have the appropriate certifications. If any aspect of chemical testing did not comply with the guidelines and regulations, we may request to have that evidence thrown out.
Once we evaluate prosecution’s evidence, we can find potential weaknesses or violations of your legal rights. If your case eventually does end up in court, we will need as much time as possible to build a case for your defense. That is why we recommend you contact us as soon as possible after an arrest.
How Else Can I Avoid Jail Time?
If you have no prior drunk driving convictions, you may qualify to participate in the Delaware County accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program. This program offers first-time drunk driving offenders a chance to avoid jail time and to have their DUI charges expunged.
To qualify, you must apply to the ARD program and the DA must grant approval for your participation. You must then complete the judge’s requirements. These typically include mandatory community service, alcohol classes, and probation. If you successfully complete these obligations and avoid any other arrests, you can qualify for an expungement your criminal record. Although you must pay fines, fees, and court costs, you will have a clean record once you finish the program.
We can tell you if you qualify for ARD. If so, we will prepare your application to submit to the DA.
How Can I Talk to a DUI Lawyer in Springfield at No Cost?
The McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is proud to offer complimentary consultations to DUI clients in Springfield. This no-fee, no-obligation case review will allow you to get all your questions answered and make an informed choice about your future.
Contact our office today at 610-680-7842 to speak directly with a DUI lawyer in Springfield, PA.