When you are facing DUI charges, you may wonder how a conviction will affect your life. Will you have to go to jail? How much are the fines? Will you lose your driver’s license?
The answer to each of these questions may be “yes.” You will also have a permanent criminal record to go along with those penalties.
You cannot fight this critical battle alone. The McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help. Our attorneys know how to protect your legal rights while building a strong case in your defense. Contact our office today at 610-680-7842 to schedule a free case evaluation with an Upper Darby DUI lawyer.
How Will a DUI Conviction Affect Me?
According to state law, you will face steep fines and either jail time or probation after a DUI conviction. You will also lose your driver’s license for as long as 18 months.
The court will require you to attend alcohol highway safety school and install an ignition interlock on any vehicle you own or drive. The court may also require that you participate in an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.
Once you have served your time and paid your fines, you will be forever reminded of this incident, thanks to your permanent criminal record.
Whenever anyone runs a background check on you—for example, a potential employer or landlord—your conviction will show up. It can prevent you from getting a job, renting a house or car, and obtaining or keeping many types of professional licenses. You can also expect to pay several times more in car insurance premiums than you would have otherwise.
Will I Go to Jail for a DUI Conviction in Upper Darby?
If this is your first DUI and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was lower than 0.10 percent, you may avoid spending time behind bars. You will, however, face as much as six months of probation.
If you have previous convictions or if your BAC was 0.15 or above, you will likely go to jail.
You will also have to pay a substantial fine, court costs, and fees—and you will have to attend an alcohol highway safety program. The judge will likely order you to install an ignition interlock device on your car and may require you to complete a substance abuse or rehab program.
Even if you do not have to spend time in jail, the penalties you will face for a DUI conviction will affect your life significantly. The best way to avoid jail time is to contact our office as soon as possible. The more time we have to build a strong defense on your behalf, the better chance you have of avoiding some or all of these negative consequences.
How Will My DUI Lawyer Fight My Drunk Driving Charges?
Our first priority will be to analyze the details of your case and any existing evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, or photographs. If we can identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, we can use this information to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Some potential reasons that could lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges include:
- No reasonable suspicion for pulling you over;
- Illegal DUI checkpoint;
- Illegal field sobriety testing;
- No probable cause for BAC testing;
- Illegal breathalyzer testing; and
- Failure to read you your legal rights.
The police must have a valid reason to make a traffic stop. During a traffic stop, the police must follow established guidelines and adhere to the law. They must also have probable cause to request a BAC test. If the arresting officer in your case failed to comply with all established guidelines and procedures, we may successfully get some or all of the evidence in your case thrown out. This establishes a persuasive argument for asking the prosecutor to reduce the charges—or for having the judge dismiss your case.
If the prosecutor will not negotiate a DUI reduction, we can use this information in court to establish reasonable doubt of your guilt.
Can I Get a DUI Conviction Expunged or Sealed?
The Pennsylvania statutes make it difficult to have a DUI conviction expunged. The only exceptions are for elderly or deceased persons, or those who file a special petition with the court after maintaining a clean record for five years.
If you have no prior convictions, however, you may qualify for Delaware County’s Treatment Court program. Treatment Court is a form of accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program that gives first-time, non-violent offenders the opportunity to have their charges dismissed and their record expunged.
With our help, you can apply for acceptance to Treatment Court. If the District Attorney (DA) agrees to accept you into the program, you must enter a “no contest” plea to the charges pending against you. If you successfully complete the program—after approximately 30 months—you may qualify for an automatic expungement of your record. If you do not complete the program, you will go back to court for sentencing on the original charges.
Participating in Treatment Court is not easy. It will cost about the same as a conviction. However, it does provide a unique opportunity to clear your record after a DUI.
We can explain this option more fully and help you determine if this may be an option for you.
How to Choose a DUI Lawyer in Upper Darby
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our DUI attorneys protect your rights and help you understand all of your options, so that you can make the right choice for your future.
We understand how the court system works and we know how to build a strong case for your defense. Attorney David C. McKenzie III of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., has worked both as a DUI lawyer and as a prosecutor. This insider perspective ensures that he knows what it takes to get the job done for you.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you fight your DUI charges. We provide complimentary consultations and case reviews to help you make an informed decision for our future. Call us today at 610-680-7842 to schedule an appointment with a DUI lawyer in Upper Darby.