Being convicted of driving under the influence in Bethlehem can turn your life completely upside down. You may face thousands of dollars in fines, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You could be facing jail time, which means losing your job and possibly forfeiting your living situation. You may also be required to pay for alcohol highway safety school and substance abuse treatment, in addition to the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.
Mitigating the Impact of a DUI
On top of all of that, your license may be suspended, you may find it difficult to stay employed, and you could even struggle with finding good housing. While being arrested for a DUI can be terrifying, it’s clear that a conviction can devastate nearly every aspect of your life.
That’s why it’s so important to have a Bethlehem DUI lawyer on your side if you have been charged with inebriated driving. At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, we have represented people charged with DUIs in the Lehigh Valley for over 25 years. We know how the local courts work, and we know how to build a successful defense on your behalf.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Bethlehem, call us at (215) 940-1200 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced DUI attorney.
What Are My Plea Options After a DUI Arrest in Bethlehem?
After you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you will come before a judge to enter a plea. You have two main options: guilty and not guilty. By pleading not guilty, you are telling the court that you are fighting your charges for any number of reasons. Before you decide to plead not guilty, you must have a Bethlehem DUI lawyer representing you to fight on your behalf.
There are many different defenses your lawyer may employ to show you shouldn’t be found guilty of DUI. Some of the most common include:
- The breathalyzer wasn’t calibrated properly and therefore gave a false reading.
- You weren’t in actual control for the movement of the vehicle (75 Pa. C.S. § 3802).
- There was no probable cause to pull you over in the first place.
- There was a break in the chain of evidence, meaning the evidence could’ve been tampered with at some point.
- The arresting officer didn’t properly administer field sobriety tests.
- You were involuntarily intoxicated, such as if someone spiked your drink or lied about how much alcohol is in your drink.
- You were sober enough to drive when you first got behind the wheel, but your blood alcohol content increased while you were driving because your last drink hadn’t been fully absorbed yet.
Similarly, a guilty plea should never be entered without the counsel of an experienced attorney. You may feel bad about driving drunk, and just want to take your punishment. Though this may seem like a valiant move, it’s not a smart one. There are times in which pleading guilty is in your best interest. However, this is only the case if the prosecutor is offering a plea deal.
Plea deals are put in place for both the benefit of the person arrested and for the benefit of the state. By offering a plea deal, the prosecutor saves the court time and money by not having to go through a trial.
In return, your charges are reduced from a DUI to something much less severe. Most commonly, DUI charges are reduced to reckless driving or, if the evidence is rather weak, a moving violation like speeding.
However, if you don’t have a lawyer, you won’t receive any kind of plea bargain from the prosecutor. They know you aren’t intimately familiar with laws and court procedures, so they can find you guilty pretty quickly. If you do need time to find a Bethlehem DUI lawyer, you can ask the court to grant you extra time.
What About the Pennsylvania ARD Program?
For some people arrested for DUI, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program may be an option. This is an option for first-time DUI offenders who have no history of violent crimes, and whose DUI didn’t cause injury or death to another person. There must have also not been a minor in the car at the time of the arrest. If you complete this program, your DUI will be dismissed, and the arrest can be expunged from your record.
However, the ARD program is not right for everyone. With this program, you may be required to undergo substance abuse treatment, highway safety classes, and installation of an ignition interlock device. These are all quite costly.
Also, you might be required to perform community service and other time-consuming tasks. If you slip up even once, your original charges will stand, and you will likely be charged with a DUI.
Instead, work with an experienced Bethlehem DUI lawyer to figure out all of your legal options. In some cases, you may be able to prove you’re innocent. In other cases, you might be able to get a plea bargain that’s more favorable than ARD.
Get the Help You Deserve from a Bethlehem DUI Lawyer
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, we have the skills and experience to get you a favorable outcome in your DUI case. For nearly 30 years, we have worked with state prosecutors to negotiate plea deals, and have fought for our clients’ innocence in court. We know what it takes to make sure a DUI charge doesn’t become a devastating conviction.
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Bethlehem, call us at (215) 940-1200 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced DUI attorney.