In Pennsylvania, driving drunk can land you in jail, facing large fines and a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. It will also leave you with a permanent criminal record.
Before making any decisions about your charges, talk to an Upper Dublin DUI lawyer. At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., our DUI lawyers can ensure that you understand exactly how a conviction will affect your life. We can also protect your legal rights and help you make the right choices for your future.
We would like to offer you a complimentary consultation to review your case. Call us today at 610-680-7842 to get started.
What Are the Penalties for an Upper Dublin DUI Conviction?
The Pennsylvania DUI statutes base the penalties for a DUI conviction on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and any prior convictions they may have.
Pennsylvania uses a three-tier penalty system for DUI convictions.
Several aggravating factors affect the severity of your charges, potentially leading to harsher penalties. Underage drunk driving, having past DUI convictions, and having a minor child in the car will all increase the severity of your charges. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), refuse to submit to BAC testing, or if you had been taking drugs, you will also face more serious penalties.
Finally, if you caused an accident while driving drunk—especially if someone sustained serious injuries or died—the prosecutor will pursue the most serious charges and penalties possible.
Whether you face charges for a basic, first-offense DUI or for a more serious charge, we can help. We will build the strongest possible case in your defense, helping you avoid fines and jail time whenever possible.
How Will a DUI Conviction Affect My Future?
Many clients believe that, if they do not have to spend time behind bars, a
DUI conviction is not that big a concern. Consequently, when the prosecutor says they can avoid jail by pleading guilty, they jump at the chance. What the police and prosecutor fail to tell you, however, is exactly how having that conviction on your permanent record will affect your life.
If you are considering pleading guilty without speaking to a lawyer first, you need to consider the consequences of that decision.
Once you enter a guilty plea, you must pay all of your fines and court costs. You must attend the alcohol highway safety program along with any other court-mandated rehab or treatment—all of which have associated costs you must pay. You will likely also have to perform community service and potentially serve supervised probation.
Your driver’s license suspension will require you to make alternative arrangements for getting to work or school, as well as for running basic errands like grocery shopping or going to the doctor.
Once you have met all the obligations of your conviction, you may believe the issue is behind you. However, you will quickly realize that it is not when you try to sign up for car insurance. You will find that your car insurance premiums skyrocket, potentially increasing as much as two hundred percent.
Whenever you attempt to get a job, rent a house, apply to college, or obtain a professional license, you may encounter a lot of resistance, thanks to your permanent, public criminal record. If you plead guilty, you have very few options for having your conviction expunged or your record sealed. Potentially, you will continue to run into these challenges.
Without the help of an attorney, you can expect to keep fighting your conviction for years or even decades.
How Will a Lawyer Fight My Charges?
We will base our defense strategy on the unique facts of your case. However, we will start by considering some of the most common strategies for challenging drunk driving charges.
The police cannot pull your car over just because they are curious whether you have been drinking. Instead, they must have a reasonable suspicion that you broke the law. If we can demonstrate that they lacked this necessary belief, the court may deem your traffic stop illegal.
Once the police pull you over, they must establish probable cause for your arrest. The most common strategy for establishing probable cause is to administer a field sobriety test. However, unless the officers follow the established protocol for this testing, they cannot legally establish probable cause.
Faulty BAC Evidence
To ensure reliable BAC testing evidence, the police must maintain the equipment in a specific way, performing maintenance and having the equipment calibrated and tested regularly. Also, all testing technicians require training and current certification. We may discover problems with the equipment or procedures used that could invalidate your results.
Based on any flaws or weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, we may attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges dropped or reduced, or petition the court to have the case dismissed. If the court dismisses your case, it will be as though you never had a DUI. In some cases, the prosecutor may offer a lower charge if you plead guilty.
If you have no prior offenses, you may qualify to participate in the Montgomery County accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program. ARD programs allow first-time offenders to avoid jail time and qualify for record expungement.
To qualify, you must apply with the District Attorney (DA) and plead guilty. If accepted, you must meet the program requirements and pay all the associated costs. Once you complete your obligations, the court will expunge your record. We can help determine if you qualify for the ARD program. If so, we will help you apply.
In some cases, we may recommend going to court to make your case. During your trial, we will introduce evidence in your defense and attempt to introduce reasonable doubt with the jury or judge.
How Can I Talk to a DUI Lawyer in Upper Dublin Today?
Contact the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today at 610-680-7842 to schedule your free consultation with a DUI lawyer in Upper Dublin. We will review the facts of your case, answer your questions, and help you make an informed choice for your future.