Pennsylvania DUI Defense Lawyer
One of the most common and most serious offenses Pennsylvania drivers are arrested for nearly every day is driving under the influence (DUI). According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, nearly 50,000 arrests were made in 2018 for impaired driving.
DUI charges require the assistance of an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, call Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 701-6519 immediately to arrange for a free, confidential legal consultation. Our attorneys can fight arrests and work to help you avoid jail time.
Harsher Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania DUI penalties have always been harsh. Recent changes have increased the severity of the consequences of DUI convictions. If you were arrested with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08%, it is critical that you retain the services of our Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney.
Felony Charges for Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania
All convictions for DUI in Pennsylvania were misdemeanors. Now a Pennsylvania driver faces a felony conviction for a third DUI offense if the BAC is .16% or higher. Additionally, every fourth or subsequent offense is now considered a felony no matter what the BAC was. Felony convictions could have long-lasting adverse effects on your employment and housing options.
Pennsylvania Vehicular Homicide While Driving Under the Influence
Vehicular homicide is when a person is killed by someone driving recklessly or negligently. Someone convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence faced a minimum of three years in prison. Now, if an offender had a previous DUI conviction, the minimum sentence is five years – seven years if there are two offenses.
Driving with a DUI Suspended License
A typical administrative penalty for a DUI conviction is a driver’s license suspension. Previously, if you drove with a suspended license due to a DUI conviction, you faced 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Now, a second conviction of driving under a suspended license from a DUI conviction could lead to $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. Furthermore, a third offense could result in a sentence of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Drunk Driving Arrests in Pennsylvania
DUI arrests must be taken seriously. Our Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys have assisted hundreds of people facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania. Our experienced lawyers will thoroughly examine the facts of your case and review your legal options with you including, negotiating a plea bargain, recommending ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition), or challenging your arrest at trial.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania offers first-time offenders ARD to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings. To qualify for the program, an individual must be a non-violent offender and have no previous record or a very light record.
ARD will require an individual to agree with multiple provisions, including:
- Paying the cost for any damage they caused
- Mandatory attendance and completion of a substance abuse treatment program
- Supervision for up to two years
- Potential community service
- License suspensions
ARD is administered at the county level, and it is up to the judge and the prosecutor whether you will be admitted to the program. We can help make a case to accept you if your case is on the line.
Drunk Driving Defenses
To arrest a driver in Pennsylvania for driving under the influence, a police officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” for stopping your car and “probable cause” for making the arrest. If you are driving erratically or at an unreasonably slow speed, the police will have “reasonable suspicion” that you might be drunk and may pull you over.
Additionally, law enforcement uses sobriety checkpoints to stop potential drunk drivers. We can challenge a sobriety checkpoint stop if it failed to adhere to any of these requirements:
- The stop must be brief
- You, your passengers, and your vehicle may not be searched without additional probable cause
- The police must have provided adequate notice of the sobriety checkpoint
- The checkpoint must have been located in an area with a history of drunk driving incidents
- A standardized system must have been used to stop your car
Additionally, you must actually be driving. If you are arrested while sitting outside your car or walking through a parking lot, you cannot be arrested for drunk driving.
Once your vehicle has been stopped, law enforcement must have “probable cause” to arrest you for driving under the influence. This means they must have articulable facts that show you were driving under the influence, not a mere feeling or a single piece of evidence.
Challenging Field Sobriety Tests
Police will require drivers to perform specific physical tests after being pulled over on suspicion of DUI. These “field sobriety tests” were developed by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide law enforcement a standardized method of determining physical or mental impairment. Often, the police officer conducting the test lacks the appropriate training to administer a test correctly. Any deviation from the standardized method could taint the test results. Furthermore, a driver’s inability to perform the test could come from factors other than drugs or alcohol – for example, the driver could be tired or disabled.
Challenging Blood Tests
Police officers could require a driver to submit to a blood test to determine their BAC. The results of a blood test can be challenged. Timing is critical in administering a blood test. A person’s body will continue to absorb alcohol for hours after they stop drinking. This means the blood test could indicate a much higher BAC at the time it was administered compared to the actual BAC while the individual was driving.
The blood test must be administered correctly to achieve an accurate result. The following facts can be used to challenge the accuracy or admissibility of a blood test for a DUI case:
- The person overseeing the test did not follow proper testing procedures
- The blood was drawn too long after the stop
- The tubes, needles, or chemical mixtures used to perform the test were contaminated
- The person drawing blood used an alcohol swab to clean the place the needle went in
- There was no warrant for the blood test
Our Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyers will examine all of the evidence and factors relevant to your arrest to determine if it could be challenged in court. By thoroughly analyzing police reports, dash cam or bodycam videos, statements made during the arrest, and the service records of all officers involved in the arrest, we will be able to prepare your defense.
Call Our Pennsylvania DUI Lawyers for a Free Consultation
DUI convictions could result in long-lasting legal consequences. If you or a loved one was arrested for an alleged DUI, contact our Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyers immediately. Call Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755-3115 to arrange for a free, confidential consultation.