If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you need a lawyer to protect your legal rights and help you avoid a conviction.
Upon conviction on drunk driving charges, you will have to pay a substantial fine, as well as fees and court costs. You will lose your driver’s license—likely for at least a year—and you may have to go to jail. You will also earn a permanent criminal record, which can cause problems when you try to get a job, rent a house, hold a professional license, or apply to a college or university.
The McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help. Contact us today at 610-680-7842 to learn more during a free consultation with an Upper Moreland DUI lawyer.
How Will a DUI Conviction Affect Me?
Under state law, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for DUI charges is 0.08 to 0.159 percent. The limit for the highest BAC is 0.16 percent or above.
Having a prior conviction, having a minor passenger—age 14 or below—or having an open container of alcohol in your car will qualify you for more serious charges and more severe penalties.
Pennsylvania uses a three-tier penalty system, which you can see in this chart.
Upon conviction, the judge may also order you to perform community service, participate in an alcohol treatment program, and install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you own or drive. The judge may also give you supervised probation.
You will have a permanent record that is almost impossible to seal or expunge. As this information is public record, anyone will see it when running a background check on you.
Potential employers and landlords commonly run background checks and may use your criminal record as a reason to deny your application for jobs and apartments. You will also lose the right to hold many types of professional licenses, such as real estate, nursing, and teaching. Your car insurance premiums will also increase once you have a DUI on your driving record.
As you can see, even a first-offense DUI conviction can have a significant impact on your life.
Can a DUI Lawyer Help Me?
Before you consider entering a guilty plea for your DUI charges, talk to one of our lawyers to learn what other options you have available to you.
We understand how a conviction will affect your life. We know how to fight to help you beat drunk driving charges. We will protect your legal rights and ensure you have all the information you need to make the right choice for your future.
Once you contact us, we can begin to comb through the evidence in your case in search of any problems with the evidence or violations of your legal rights. We can talk to the prosecutor about reducing or even dismissing the charges against you.
Ultimately, if you must go to court to fight your DUI, we can make a strong case for your defense.
What Legal Strategies Can My Lawyer Use in My Case?
Although we will base our legal strategies on the details of your case, some factors regularly affect the outcome of Upper Moreland DUI cases.
During a traffic stop for DUI, the police sometimes cut corners in ways that could violate your legal rights. For example, before pulling you over for DUI, officers must have reasonable suspicion that you violated the law. They cannot pull you over simply because they believe you had been drinking—they must have reasonable suspicion that your BAC meets or exceeds the legal limit.
If they failed to establish reasonable suspicion, we may attempt to have the stop declared illegal.
Police must also establish probable cause before they can arrest you or request a chemical test for BAC. To establish probable cause, they often use roadside sobriety testing. However, if they fail to use published guidelines for conducting field sobriety testing, it can disqualify their evidence. Similarly, if the BAC testing conducted in your case did not comply with state standards, the court may declare the evidence invalid.
Any of these strategies may work to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges against you or to convince a judge to throw out some portion of the evidence in your case. If you do go to trial, we can use this evidence to instill reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury.
You may also qualify for a diversion program. If so, we can help you with the application process.
Do I Qualify for a Diversion Program?
If you have no prior DUI convictions, we may help you qualify for participation in the Montgomery County accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program.
This program—designed for first-time, non-violent offenders—focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. To participate, you must waive your right to an expedient trial and enter a plea of guilty or no-contest. A judge will then assign the terms of your agreement, which will likely include probation, community service, restitution—if applicable—and an alcohol education program.
Although the cost of the Upper Moreland ARD program is roughly the same as a DUI conviction, you can have the charge expunged from your record once you complete the requirements of the program.
To participate in ARD, you must complete the application and submit it to the Montgomery County ARD Captain, who can decline you for any reason without explanation.
Having us assist you with the ARD application process can help ensure you provide all the information the Captain needs to consider you for the program.
Once you complete the program, we can help you make sure the court expunges your record.
You Can Meet With an Upper Moreland DUI Lawyer Today for No Cost.
Before you take any action or make any decision about your drunk driving charges, meet with an attorney from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., to explore your options.
We will provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case review to answer your questions and help you make the right choice. Call us at 610-680-7842 today to schedule an appointment.