Being arrested for DUI in Bensalem can have serious consequences. From a legal standpoint, getting charged with a DUI can make you vulnerable to hefty fines of up to $10,000, the loss of your driver’s license for up to one year, and even up to five years of jail time.
But that’s not all; a DUI charge can also result in huge increases in your car insurance rates. It may even lead to losing your job if your employer finds out about it.
With the stakes so high, the worst thing you can do is represent yourself in court or hire an attorney who doesn’t have the case-specific experience needed to successfully fight for you. A seasoned Bensalem, PA DUI lawyer can pursue a favorable result so that a DUI does not ruin your life.
The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis can help. Mr. Kellis has more than 25 years of experience with DUI cases, and as a former prosecutor himself, he knows how the system works — and how prosecutors and police officers think.
Armed with this knowledge and experience, Mr. Kellis is qualified to fight every aspect of a DUI case, including the results of field sobriety tests, blood tests, and breathalyzer tests that can be used as evidence against you.
Will I lose my license if charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania?
The simple answer to this question is yes, you will lose your license by pleading guilty or being convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania. However, the length of the suspension depends on the offense.
A first-time DUI carries the potential for a 12-month license suspension if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .10% or higher. Many first-time offenders are eligible to participate in Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, which avoids jail time and decreases license suspension to 30, 60, or 90 days.
Second or subsequent DUI
Twelve to 18-month license suspension, the first six of which you cannot drive at all. After the first six months, you can drive only if you install an ignition interlock device (IID) for which you are responsible for buying.
Refusing the breathalyzer or blood test
In Pennsylvania, refusing a chemical test automatically triggers a 12-month license suspension. You can appeal the suspension by requesting a hearing within 30 days. Speak to a Bensalem, PA DUI lawyer as soon as possible so you don’t miss the 30-day window.
Drivers under 21
Underage individuals are subject to a 12-month license suspension if caught with any alcohol in their system. After serving six months of the license suspension, they may be able to drive with an ignition interlock device (IID).
Your Options After a DUI Arrest in Bensalem
After you are arrested for a DUI in Bensalem, you have a few different options. The two main options are to either plead guilty or not guilty. By pleading not guilty, you are telling the court that you are fighting your charges.
Your Bensalem, PA DUI lawyer may advise you to plead not guilty for a variety of reasons. These may include:
- The breathalyzer wasn’t properly calibrated
- The police didn’t have proper cause to pull you over
- The chain of evidence was broken
- You were improperly questioned
- You weren’t in control of the vehicle.
In other cases, your lawyer may advise you to plead guilty. However, they will likely only do so if the prosecutor has offered some kind of plea bargain. Plea bargains are common in DUI cases, especially if it’s your first DUI and/or you didn’t cause any injury or property damage.
In many instances, a DUI will be reduced to a reckless driving charge. Or, if the evidence isn’t particularly strong, the prosecutor may offer to drop your charges to a minor offense like speeding.
In some instances, you may qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. To qualify for this program, you must:
- Have never gotten a DUI before
- Not have any violent crimes on your record
- Have not caused any injuries or deaths due to your DUI
- Not have had any minors in the vehicle at the time of the DUI.
If you do qualify for ARD, there are strict rules you must follow. The judge may mandate community service, restitution, substance abuse therapy, highway safety classes, and other rules. You will have to pay for all of this out of pocket. If you complete ARD, you will be able to keep a conviction off your record. However, if you slip up even once, you will likely be sentenced for your DUI.
Because of the cost of the ARD program, taking a plea bargain may be better for your situation. Your Bensalem, PA DUI lawyer will help you determine all of your options after you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence.
Local Courts Where Your Case May Be Heard
Your DUI case will most likely be heard in a district court. There are 18 such courts throughout Bucks County. However, only two of them are in Bensalem. So, if you’re arrested for DUI in Bensalem, no matter where you’re from, one of these two courts will likely be where your case will be heard.
The Bucks County website provides the location of these courts. In addition, it provides information about the judges presiding over these courts (as of July 9, 2019):
Judge Michael W. Gallagher
2404 Byberry Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
Judge Joseph P. Falcone
3237 Bristol Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, we are familiar with these courts and judges. That means we know how to make solid arguments and follow particular procedures in their courtrooms.
That kind of knowledge and experience can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to find the right Bensalem DUI lawyer.
Your Experienced DUI Attorney in Bensalem, PA
Although you may be tempted to plead guilty to a DUI charge so you can move on with your life, this decision may put a huge blemish on your record. When you hire a capable Bensalem, PA DUI lawyer like Steven Kellis, you will discover other options available to you.
Mr. Kellis can argue to get the charges reduced or potentially dropped. If these options are not viable, pleading to a lesser charge could be the best alternative, which may result in a less serious criminal charge and/or increase the odds of getting your charge expunged in the future.
And if your case does go to court, Mr. Kellis can vigorously fight for you by using a number of strategies. For example, Steven Kellis can make arguments about the validity of breathalyzer tests; whether or not a police officer had probable cause to stop, detain, or arrest you; and whether or not you were given a Miranda warning at the appropriate time during the process.
These details have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.
Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer Today
Don’t leave the outcome of your case to chance by putting it in the hands of an attorney that doesn’t have the know-how to get the job done. When you’re in such a vulnerable position, you should trust only an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney with your case.
To find out how Steven Kellis can help you, contact us for a free consultation now.