Allentown PA DUI Attorneys

If you are facing Pennsylvania DUI charges, your life is about to get very complicated very quickly if convicted. First off the worst thing you can possibly do is ignore this. Skipping court will only result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. Even a misdemeanor DUI can result in suspended driving privileges.

Depending on the circumstances of your DUI, you can face fines ranging from $300-$10,000; imprisonment for up to 6 months; suspension of your driver’s license for up to 18 months; up to 150 hours of community service; court-ordered alcohol highway safety school; substance abuse treatment; and more.

Our experienced Allentown DUI attorneys will be able to review the facts of your case to help you pursue the best possible outcome.

Allentown, PA DUI Statistics

Allentown has a high rate of DUI arrests but a relatively low rate of DUI-related crashes and deaths.

According to information provided by the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, nearly a third (32.1%) of all Court of Common Pleas cases in Lehigh, PA are DUI arrests. For perspective, DUIs comprise 25.2% of Common Pleas cases in Pennsylvania.

On the other hand, Lehigh County ranks 51 out of the 67 counties for its rate of DUI-related deaths, meaning it has one of the lowest rates in Pennsylvania.

According to the Morning Call newspaper, Lehigh County saw DUI arrests soar towards the end of 2018, yet a lower rate of DUI crashes at the beginning of 2019.

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD)

The ARD program is designed to divert first-time offenders with DUI charges and no history of violent crimes or other serious violations from trial. Instead, they participate in a probationary period, mandatory classes, and a drug/alcohol counseling program. If the candidate successfully completes the ARD program, they can petition to have their DUI arrest expunged (removed) from their record.

ARD is only available once and only under certain circumstances. If someone opts to participate in the program, they may never do so again. What this means is that if you have the opportunity to fight and have your DUI charges dropped or lessened, you may be in a better legal position than an ARD participant.

ARD programs also come with a litany of costs. You must consider the entire financial burden and consequences when deciding to instead fight your case with the help of an Allentown DUI lawyer.

Where Your Case Will Be Heard After a DUI Arrest in Allentown

Trout Hall in Allentown, PA
Image Credit: Wikipedia

If you are arrested for a DUI in Allentown, Pennsylvania, your first court date is for a preliminary hearing. It will be held at the District Court for whatever district the arresting police officer had jurisdiction in.

Preliminary hearings are conducted by a Magistrate Judge. There are seven different Magistrate Judges with districts in Allentown. Their names, districts, and courthouse addresses are as follows:

  • District 31-1-01
    • Magistrate: Patricia M. Engler
    • 1201 Sumner Ave
    • Allentown, PA 18102
  • District 31-1-08
    • Magistrate: Michael J. Pochron
    • 3000 South Pike Ave
    • Allentown, PA 18103
  • District 31-1-02
    • Magistrate: Rashid Santiago
    • 1101 Hamilton Street
    • Suite 150
    • Allentown, PA 18101
  • District 31-2-01
    • Magistrate: Karen C. Devine
    • 501 Hamilton St
    • Basement
    • Allentown, PA 18101
  • District 31-1-03
    • Magistrate: Ronald S. Manescu
    • 1428 Hamilton St
    • Allentown, PA 18102
  • District 31-2-02
    • Magistrate: Jacob E. Hammond
    • 3404 Hamilton Blvd
    • Allentown, PA 18103
  • District 31-1-04
    • Magistrate: David M. Howells, Jr.
    • 1501 Lehigh St
    • Suite 104
    • Allentown, PA 18103

DUI Plea Options In Pennsylvania

There are several options for entering a plea after you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania:

Delaying a Plea

You can optionally delay your plea at your arraignment if you would like to appoint a lawyer or have some other legally sound reason to request a delay. This option is preferable for those who expected to get an offer for ARD but did not, who have not yet appointed a lawyer, or who have introduced motions to dismiss evidence, reduce their charges, etc.

Not Guilty

A “Not Guilty” plea means that you intend to defend yourself in the court of law with the hope that you will be acquitted. Remember that pleading “not guilty” can mean that you do not expect to be found guilty because the prosecution lacks evidence, committed a procedural mistake, or has given you some other reason to think you have a chance at not being convicted.

Guilty

A guilty plea can be entered, but you should first strongly consider negotiating with the prosecution with the help of an experienced DUI attorney in Allentown. You can often get charges reduced, request more lenient sentencing, or make other favorable agreements. Otherwise, you are handing over a “guilty” plea in exchange for nothing, which is not in your best interest.

Nolo Contendere

A “nolo” plea is the same as a guilty plea. It means “no contest” in that you do not wish to contest the charges. Pleading “nolo” can sometimes have benefits for certain minor traffic violations and other non-criminal charges, but it is never a good option when facing DUI charges.

Pennsylvania ARD Program

The Pennsylvania Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program, aka the PA ARD Program, is a program for first time DUI offenders who qualify for the program. It basically stands for accelerated rehabilitation disposition program. It is designed non-violent for first time DUI offenders who do not have aggravating factors in their DUI case. These are having a minor in the car at time of DUI arrest, no prior convictions, no history of violent crimes and your DUI did not involve injury or death to another.

If you complete the program successfully then your case will be dismissed and you can have your Delaware County, PA DUI defense lawyer then expunge the DUI arrest from your criminal history by filing a petition and an order. In ARD cases it is very important to have a competent Pennsylvania DUI lawyer handling it because they will take you through the PA legal system and help you gain entry into the ARD program. In addition, they must also do the DUI expungement for you after completion of the program. DUI expungement is not automatic once Pennsylvania ARD Program is completed. Call our Allentown PA DUI attorneys to discuss how they can help you and whether or not the PA ARD Program is a good fit for you.

Don’t Wait to Call Our Allentown PA DUI Attorneys Today

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Lehigh County, PA, it’s prudent to hire our Allentown PA DUI attorneys as soon as possible. It’s important to be proactive in handling your DUI case, and hiring a lawyer is the first step. Please contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24 hours per day, and are dedicated to helping you achieve a favorable outcome. There is no obligation and all consultations are confidential.

Our Allentown PA DUI Attorneys proudly serve those facing criminal, drug crime and DUI charges throughout Eastern Pennsylvania including the Allentown, Bethlehem, Chester, Easton, Jim Thorpe, Lancaster, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown and Upper Darby, Pennsylvania areas.