Being charged with a DUI is a criminal offense in the state of Pennsylvania that carries harsh penalties. When it happens to you, it can cause tremendous stress, especially if it’s your first arrest. You’ll likely have concerns about losing your driving privileges, substantial fines, and possible jail time.
Your first step should be contacting an experienced DUI lawyer who can advise you of your rights and guide you through the legal system. You’ll need an advocate who understands drinking and driving laws to protect you from the potentially negative consequences of your charge.
Attorney Steven Kellis has been serving Pennsylvanians in DUI-related cases for more than twenty years. He will scrutinize all aspects of your arrest and has the knowledge and expertise to help you get the best possible results for your offense.
Having been a Senior Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted hundreds of drinking and driving cases, he understands both sides of DUI law. He will fight to reduce your charge or have it thrown out altogether. His practice is focused solely on DUI, and he offers a straightforward approach to helping his clients in Berks County and throughout the state.
Pennsylvania’s “Per Se” DUI Law
In Pennsylvania, there doesn’t need to be proof of impairment or drunkenness to be convicted of a DUI. The legal requirement is that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher. That means you can be arrested even if you don’t feel drunk; you have broken the law by having a BAC that is too high.
The .08% threshold is lowered for commercial drivers to .04% and bus drivers and those under 21 to .02%
No matter your BAC level at the time of your arrest, you have the right to legal counsel. Steven Kellis provides a formidable defense strategy to all his clients, and he will work to have your charges reduced or dropped.
Berks County DUI Accidents
In Pennsylvania, when a drunk driver operates a vehicle with a high rate of alcohol (a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or higher) and causes bodily injury, vehicle damage, or property damage, the following penalties apply:
First-time offender – Mandatory minimum prison term of at least 48 hours and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.
Second-time offender – Mandatory minimum prison term of at least 30 days and a fine of between $750 and $5,000.
Third-time offender – Mandatory minimum prison term of at least 90 days and a fine of between $1,500 and $10,000.
Fourth or subsequent violations – Mandatory minimum prison term of at least one year and a fine between $1,500 and $10,000.
Berks County Underage DUI Lawyer
Pennsylvania law has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to underage drinking. If any alcohol is detected in the blood or breath of an underage driver, they can be charged with underage DUI.
While drivers 21 and over get a bit of leeway when it comes to their BAC, drivers under the age of 21 are in danger of getting a DUI even after just one small drink. The consequences of getting a DUI at such a young age can be severe because often, the consequences go beyond traditional legal consequences. These may interfere with college applications and could be very expensive and time-consuming.
These problems, among many others, are why you must contact an experienced Berks County Underage DUI Lawyer if you have been convicted of DUI.
Resolving Your Charge
There are remedies to a DUI offense, especially if you are facing your first drinking and driving arrest. In Pennsylvania, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Discharge (ARD) program is available to help first-time offenders stay out of the system while still addressing your alcohol-impaired driving charge. The program is designed to rehabilitate the offender and cuts down on court costs and time required for trials and other legal proceedings.
The ARD program can quickly and completely resolve your case without having your driver’s license suspended. You’ll be placed under supervision, but in many cases, will still be able to keep your job and ability to provide for your family while resolving your case. An experienced Berks County DUI lawyer can help you get into the program and benefit from its advantages.
After completion of the program, your charges will be dismissed and you’ll be able to file a petition for an expungement, which will give you a clean record. If asked by a school, creditor, or employer, you can then legitimately respond that you have not been convicted of a crime. Your record will be sealed, and only available to the District Attorney in the event that you are arrested again.
The ARD program is available only if this is your first DUI arrest. However, if you’ve had more than one offense, other defenses can potentially be used to minimize your charge or have it dismissed entirely.
Police officers are human and make mistakes. Your case could be thrown out if there was no proper cause for your traffic stop, or if the officer failed to read you your Miranda rights. And while standard field sobriety tests have been used in drunk driving arrests for decades, they are not always accurate.
For example, a medical condition could cause someone to fail a field sobriety test, leading to their arrest. This would be cause to have the case thrown out. There is also the possibility that the breathalyzer test wasn’t administered properly and you had a false reading.
As you can see, due to the potential for human error, these tests may have faulty results. You will benefit from an experienced Berks County DUI lawyer who will evaluate the facts of your case and determine the defenses that will best resolve your charge.
Cities we serve in Berks County
Contact Steven Kellis
A DUI can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety due to the potential complications of the offense. You will need an attorney who thoroughly understands Pennsylvania drinking and driving laws and can aggressively defend you against the prosecutor’s assertions. We offer a free evaluation of your case and are available 24 hours a day. Contact our Berks County law firm today to discuss options for successfully resolving your pending DUI charges.