Bucks County DUI Lawyer
A night out with your friends can turn into a life-changing event for all the wrong reasons. A single traffic stop and an overzealous group of police officers could lead to your arrest for driving under the influence. In an instant, your career, freedom, and good name are in jeopardy in ways they’ve never been before. How can you begin to defend yourself when you have no idea how the system works? You need experienced legal counsel, and you need it immediately.
Do everything you can to uphold your rights by making the right choice in law firms. Contact Bucks County DUI lawyers Young Marr & Associates right now at (866) 781-4058 for a private, in-depth consultation to talk about the charges you’re facing. Let our experienced legal team help you achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation.
DUI Laws in Bucks County
A DUI charge often begins with abnormal driving on the part of an intoxicated driver. Making wide turns, swerving and weaving, driving too quickly or slowly, driving against the flow of traffic, failing to use turn signals or lights, or rapidly accelerating or decelerating are signals that a driver is intoxicated.
Being charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania depends on whether the police can prove that the driver was driving, operating, or in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. “Actual physical control” isn’t strictly defined but is used to describe evidence that the driver drove a vehicle while they were intoxicated. If, for example, a driver was found passed out in the passenger seat of their parked car with the headlights on and the key in the ignition, it is valid for police to conclude that they were in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. However, the defendant has a greater chance of defending themselves against DUI charges if they were not actually seen driving by police.
Drivers in Pennsylvania should note that alcohol is not the only substance that can intoxicate them and lead to a DUI. The use of illegal drugs can also impair someone’s driving and result in a DUI. Even prescription medications can result in DUIs if they cause the driver to lose the ability to drive safely.
DUIs in Pennsylvania are grouped into three categories based on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A driver with a BAC that is between .08% and .099% receives what is known as a “general impairment” DUI. If a driver has a BAC that is between .10% and .16%, it is known as a “high rate” DUI. If a driver has a BAC that is .16% or higher, it is known as a “highest rate” DUI.
Certain drivers are subject to slightly different BAC thresholds, however. Drivers that are under the age of 21 are considered to be legally drunk if their blood alcohol concentration is above .02%. School bus drivers are also considered to be legally drunk when their BAC is above .02%. Drivers of commercial vehicles are considered to be drunk if their blood alcohol concentration is above .04%.
Penalties for Getting a DUI in Bucks County
The penalties that drivers can expect to receive for their DUIs depend on whether they were charged with a general impairment DUI, a high rate DUI, or a highest rate DUI. The amount of prior DUIs that the driver has received also determines the penalties that they will face.
General Impairment DUIs
All general impairment DUIs, regardless of the number of prior charges, are misdemeanor offenses. A general impairment DUI that has been committed for the first time can result in a fine of $300, 6 months of probation, alcohol highway safety school, and treatment if it is ordered by a judge.
A general impairment DUI that has been preceded by one prior charge can result in a 12-month license suspension, jail time that lasts between 5 days and 6 months, a fine between $300 and $2,500, the use of an ignition interlock system for one year, alcohol highway safety school, and treatment if deemed appropriate. A general impairment DUI that is preceded by two offenses carries the same penalties as those that come with a DUI that is preceded by one offense, although the fines and length of jail time are more severe.
High Rate DUIs
Like general impairment DUIs, all high rate DUIs are misdemeanors. A high BAC DUI that is preceded by no prior offenses can result in a license suspension of 12 months, between 48 hours and 6 months in prison, or a fine between $500 and $5,000. A high BAC DUI that is preceded by one offense carries penalties that include a 12-month license suspension, between 30 days and 6 months in prison, a fine that costs between $750 and $5,000, and the implementation of an ignition interlock system for one year.
If the person that is being charged with a high BAC DUI has faced two prior offenses, they will face an 18-month license suspension, between 90 days and 5 years in prisons, and a fine between $1,500 and $10,000; the implementation of an ignition interlock system for one year is also a possibility. Regardless of the number of prior offenses, treatment when ordered by a judge or enrollment in an alcohol highway safety school are always possibilities.
Highest Rate DUIs
Highest rate DUIs are also misdemeanors. A highest BAC DUI with no prior offenses carries penalties that include a licenses suspension that lasts 12 months, between 72 hours and 6 months in prison, and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. A highest BAC DUI with one prior offense may result in an 18-month license suspension, between 90 days and 5 years in prison, a fine that will cost between $1,500 and $10,000, or, in some cases, a 1-year ignition interlock system.
If a highest BAC DUI is preceded by two offenses, penalties may include a license suspension that lasts for 18 months, a prison sentence that lasts between 1 and 5 years, and a fine between $2,500 and $10,000. If necessary, an ignition interlock system will be installed in the driver’s vehicle. Alcohol highway safety school and treatment are also possibilities in certain cases.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition
In some cases, a driver that has received a DUI may be able to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”) program, during which they will have to complete certain requirements. Eligibility for the program is determined by whether or not the driver has had any prior DUIs within the last ten years and whether there were passengers under the age of 14 in the vehicle when they were arrested for the DUI. The driver will also be ineligible to participate in an ARD program if their accident severely injured or killed someone else.
During the program, the driver will have to enroll in a state-approved alcohol highway safety school program, an alcohol and drug evaluation, between six and twelve months of court supervision, and participation in any treatments that are recommended by the court. They will also face a license suspension. If the driver completes all of the requirements included in the ARD program, they will have their DUI charge dismissed by the court.
Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
Pennsylvania is an implied consent state, which means that everyone that has a driver’s license automatically agrees to breath, blood, and/or urine testing if requested by law enforcement. If a driver refuses to take a breath, blood, or urine test, they can face severe penalties, regardless of whether or not the test reveals a BAC that is above the legal limit.
Penalties that result from denying a breath, blood, or urine test include a driver’s license suspension for at least one year, as well as a reinstatement fee of $500. A second offense of refusing to take a breath, blood, or urine test will result in a license suspension of 18 months and a fine between $1,000 and $2,000.
What to Do if You Are Arrested for a DUI
After you are arrested for a DUI, you will be given paperwork that lets you know exactly what your charges are and when and where your preliminary hearing will be held. This preliminary hearing will be held in the district court where your DUI arrest took place and usually happens between 30 and 60 days after your arrest. It is presided over by a local magistrate judge. When you attend the preliminary hearing, the charges that have been filed against you will be read aloud, and you will be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty.
If the judge that presides over your initial hearing finds probable cause for your guilt, your case will be sent to the County Court of Common Pleas for an arraignment hearing, which will usually take place within 60 days of your initial hearing. If you are eligible for participation in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, the application will be made around the time of the arraignment.
How a Lawyer Can Help with DUI Charges
Regardless of whether you are actually guilty of having driven while under the influence, you’ll need to be represented by a lawyer as you face your DUI charges. A lawyer can help you either get your DUI charges dropped entirely or mitigate the penalties that come from being found guilty of your charges by questioning the evidence that the prosecution is using against you, crafting a defense for you, filing motions on your behalf, and protecting your legal rights throughout all steps of the process.
The most important thing that a lawyer can do while you are facing DUI charges of any degree is to investigate whether the police acted correctly and with respect for your rights during your arrest. A lawyer that represents your DUI case can question witnesses and collect information from officers to determine whether the officers that participated in your arrest had probable cause to pull you over in the first place, properly administered and handled your breath/blood/urine test, and properly administered field sobriety tests.
It is common for police departments to use malfunctioning or miscalibrated breathalyzers or to employ officers that are not properly trained to perform breathalyzer tests. A lawyer can determine whether the information gained during these tests is accurate; if it is not, your DUI case may be dismissed.
Another way that an attorney can help you face your DUI charges is by filing motions at the appropriate times. If a motion is necessary for a certain piece of evidence that was obtained improperly to be thrown out, a lawyer will be able to file it. A lawyer is also able to file pretrial motions for discovery, the suppression of evidence, or the dismissal of charges during your arraignment or pretrial conference.
Negotiation of a favorable plea bargain is another thing that a lawyer can do while they represent you and your DUI case. If it is clear through acceptable evidence that your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit at the time of your arrest, then a lawyer will be able to negotiate reduced charges for you in exchange for your guilty plea, which will prevent you from going to trial. If you are eligible for participation in an ARD program, a lawyer can negotiate enrollment for that as well. If your case ends up going to trial, a lawyer will assist with jury selection and then craft a defense on your behalf.
The lawyers that work with Young Marr & Associates are prepared to help clients with their DUI charges. With more than 30 years practicing criminal litigation and experience with thousands of cases, the lawyers from Young, Marr & Associates can provide clients with an in-depth understanding of the legal system and the tactics that prosecutors use.
Bucks County Lawyers Available for DUI Defense
Call Young, Marr & Associates today at (866) 781-4058 to get the legal expertise you need at a price you can afford. The DUI lawyers that work with Young, Marr & Associates have represented thousands of people throughout the Bucks County area as they face DUI charges. Get in touch with them as soon as possible to discuss your options as you fight your DUI charges or to schedule an initial consultation that is confidential and free of charge.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.