In Pennsylvania, drunk driving charges carry a host of potentially severe penalties, ranging from jail time and hefty fines to an extended suspension of your driver’s license. You will also have a permanent criminal record, which may haunt you whenever someone runs a background check on you.
If you try to fight this battle on your own, you may not understand the intricacies of the legal process or appreciate how detrimental a conviction can be for your future. Talking to an Upper Merion DUI lawyer will help you understand the implications of your charges and what options you have available to you.
Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., at 610-680-7842 to schedule a free consultation and case review. We can help you understand and fight your DUI charges.
What Does DUI Conviction Mean for My Future?
Under state law, almost all DUI penalties involve fines, jail time or probation, and the suspension of your driver’s license.
The basis for these penalties is a three-tier system that increases the severity of charges and penalties based on any prior convictions, the level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and any aggravating circumstances at the time of your arrest.
In addition to the penalties outlined above, you will have to attend an alcohol highway safety course, pay a variety of court costs and fees, and possibly have to install a breath-activated ignition lock device on your vehicles. At the time of your sentencing, the judge also has the discretion to compel you to attend a rehab program.
The long-term implications of a DUI conviction include a significant increase in your auto insurance costs and a permanent criminal record. Your conviction may prevent you from getting into a good college or university, qualifying for student loans, getting a job, renting a house, or holding professional licensure.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Having one of our DUI lawyers by your side can help you as you prepare to fight your charges.
You can rely on us to provide answers and explanations regarding the charges you face and how they will affect you in the future. We can explain your options and help you decide on the best course of action.
We will protect your legal rights and represent you at the various hearings and proceedings required for both the criminal and civil portions of your DUI.
We will comb through all of the evidence in your case to identify any potential weaknesses. Using this information, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to obtain a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Ultimately, if you must go to court to fight the charges, we can build a persuasive case to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
How Will a DUI Lawyer Defend Me?
We may use one of many available defense strategies for fighting drunk driving charges. One of the most common options is to prove that the police violated your legal rights before, during, or after your traffic stop.
For example, the police must have reasonable suspicion that you broke the law before they can make a traffic stop. They must establish probable cause before they arrest you or request that you submit to chemical testing for BAC. They must also advise you of your rights before questioning you or asking you to submit to breathalyzer testing. Any chemical testing for BAC must follow established guidelines and regulations.
If the police failed to uphold any of these legal requirements, we can go to the prosecutor and request that they either dismiss or reduce your charges. Alternatively, we may convince a judge to dismiss your case or disallow key pieces of evidence.
If your case goes to trial, we can represent you in court and make the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Some clients may qualify for participation in a diversion or deferral program. If so, we can help you understand the benefits of these programs and how they will affect you.
Do I Have Other Ways to Avoid Jail After a DUI in Upper Merion?
Some DUI clients qualify for participation in an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program. In Upper Merion, you may qualify for the Montgomery County ARD program if you have no prior offenses and if your charges do not involve any type of violent crime.
To obtain entry into ARD, we will complete a complex application and submit it to the country District Attorney (DA). Montgomery County’s ARD Captain and the DA will review your application and determine whether they will admit you to the program. If they do, you will have the opportunity to avoid any potential jail time. Even more importantly, the court will expunge your record once you complete the obligations of the program.
If the ARD Captain and DA approve your participation, you will appear before a judge and enter a “no contest” to your DUI charges. The judge will then outline your obligations for completing the program. You may have to perform community service, serve probation, participate in alcohol treatment or education, and pay all your fines and fees. You must also avoid any arrest or other legal trouble during the course of the ARD program.
Once you complete the program, you qualify for expungement. If you fail to complete the program, however, the judge can sentence you to the maximum available penalties.
How Can I Talk to an Upper Merion DUI Lawyer for Free?
When you are facing DUI charges in Upper Merion, it is imperative that you understand the potential consequences before you answer any questions or make any statements to the prosecutor. They do not have your best interests in mind. They may try to convince you that entering a guilty plea is the easiest way to get beyond your mistake.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can help. We will answer your questions and help you explore your options, so you can make a reasonable and informed decision about your future. Call 610-680-7842 today to schedule your appointment for a complimentary consultation with an Upper Merion DUI lawyer.