Bucks County DUI Lawyer

After being arrested for drinking and driving in Pennsylvania, you will undoubtedly have many questions about how to proceed. The legal process can be complex, and you could jeopardize your defense without proper guidance. Following an arrest, contacting an attorney experienced in DUI law who can advise you of your rights is essential.

Bucks County DUI lawyer

Bucks County DUI lawyer Steven Kellis has worked both the prosecution and defense side of Pennsylvania DUI charges and has been handling cases like yours every day for 25 years. He has relationships with police officers and the courts and can guide you through the legal system to get the most favorable outcome possible for your case.

If you have been charged with DUI or are a victim of an accident resulting from a drunk driver, it is essential to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. Steve Kellis understands Pennsylvania DUI law and will fight for your rights so that you can get the best possible outcome for your case. Call 215-940-1200 or contact his office online today to schedule a free consultation.

What are potential DUI penalties?

The penalty for a first-time DUI offense is a $300 fine and six months of probation; however, there is no mandatory suspension or prison sentence. The penalty for a second offense is five days to 6 months in prison, a $300 to $2500 fine, and having your license suspended for 12 months. A third offense results in 10 days to 2 years in prison, a $500 to $5000 fine, and a 12-month license suspension.

The severity of your penalties increases depending on how high your blood alcohol content (BAC) is and the number of times you have been convicted. An ignition interlock system must be installed for one year if you have a second or third offense. It may also be mandatory that you go to alcohol abuse screening and treatment and do community service.

What is a good defense strategy?

While your DUI case is pending, your Bucks County criminal defense attorney will utilize the discovery process and build your defense by investigating and evaluating the prosecution’s evidence against you. This includes detailed information about your arrest, field sobriety and police reports, breathalyzer and blood testing results, maintenance records of the chemical testing instruments used, and any other information relevant to your case.

Your Bucks County DUI lawyer will also have the opportunity to question witnesses and collect information from the arresting officer and other police officers who participated in your arrest and processing at the police station. A defense strategy will be built based on the information gathered and whether or not there was an illegal arrest or inaccurate test results. Your attorney will then determine what motions should be filed. These motions may be used to try to suppress or throw out improperly obtained evidence in your case.

Bucks County underage DUI lawyer

If you’re under the age of 21, you are not allowed to have any alcohol in your system if you are driving. It doesn’t matter if you are below the legal limit for drivers 21 and older (.08 BAC) or are not impaired. Since you cannot legally consume or purchase alcohol, you cannot legally have any alcohol in your system when you are behind the wheel of a car.

Since the presence of any alcohol in your system can lead to serious underage DUI charges, the best way to beat an underage DUI charge is to avoid one in the first place by:

  • Taking advantage of ride-sharing options such as Uber or Lyft.
  • Calling a taxi.
  • Asking for a ride home from a sober friend.
  • Contact family or friends to come pick you up.
  • Sleeping wherever you have been drinking and driving home the next day after you’ve had more than enough time to completely sober up.

What are chemical testing requirements?

Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, meaning anyone obtaining a driver’s license automatically agrees to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing. The testing is usually requested by law enforcement officers as part of a traffic stop and is used to determine the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. Refusal to take a breath, blood, or urine test after being stopped for an alleged DUI is illegal and automatically triggers additional charges. Refusal will result in your driver’s license suspension for at least a year.

A two-and-a-half-year suspension can result if you refuse the test and you are determined to be DUI, depending on your BAC. If you refuse to test and have a prior drunk driving conviction, you will receive an eighteen-month suspension for refusal plus eighteen more months for DUI.

What is a preliminary hearing?

Once you’re released from the initial DUI arrest, you must appear before the court to answer the charges. The local magistrate will send a letter by mail informing you of your preliminary hearing date. You must attend the hearing; otherwise, an arrest warrant will be issued in your name.

Every person arrested for DUI is entitled to a preliminary hearing. At this hearing, the Commonwealth, or the state of Pennsylvania, must prove that you committed each element of the DUI crime of which you are accused. Given the importance of this hearing, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney who may be able to suppress evidence against you. Some people submit to the courts and plead guilty to the charge. But that is the worst thing you can do, as you will forfeit your right to challenge the charge and take the case to trial.

At your hearing, the Bucks County judge will set your bail and order you to make an appointment for a Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluation within 72 hours. This evaluation is an initial alcohol assessment that every person accused of DUI must complete. Depending on the results of the evaluation, you may later be ordered to have alcohol and drug counseling or treatment.

Given the importance of this hearing, you will need the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney in Bucks County who may be able to suppress evidence against you, file motions to dismiss your charges or provide advice at crucial steps of your DUI case process.

Resolving your charge with the help of a Bucks County DUI lawyer

You must resolve your DUI by entering into a plea agreement with the Commonwealth or by going to trial on the charges you are facing. Your attorney will evaluate the evidence, present your options, and help you make an optimal decision based on your case. If you decide to go to trial, your lawyer will advocate on your behalf throughout the trial proceedings, which may be before a judge or a jury, depending on the circumstances.

Driving under the influence charge is a severe criminal offense that can hurt your life and future employment. You must get help from an experienced attorney who will assist you in building a solid defense for your DUI charge while guiding you through the legal process.

What are your plea options for Bucks County DUI charges?

When facing your DUI charges, you will be given several plea options:

  • Delaying Your Plea: You may be allowed to postpone your plea to a later court date to obtain legal representation or seek motions that could potentially dismiss or reduce your charges.
  • Not Guilty: A not guilty plea means you believe you can make a case for your innocence. Proving your innocence can mean either irrefutably showing you were not guilty of the crime or disputing aspects of the prosecution’s case.
  • Guilty: You can choose to make a “guilty” plea, but you should only do so in cooperation with the prosecution. They may be willing to grant you more lenient sentencing or reduce your charges in exchange for a guilty plea and a speedy resolution to the case.
  • Nolo Contendere: A “nolo” plea means “no contest.” It can benefit minor traffic violation cases compared to a guilty plea, but for more severe charges like a DUI, it is not beneficial compared to a “guilty” plea arrangement.

A DUI lawyer in Bucks County can help you evaluate your options and choose the one that offers the most potential benefits for your case outcome.

Pennsylvania’s ARD program

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in Pennsylvania is designed to help certain first-time offenders for non-violent crimes avoid a formal trial and prosecution. During your arraignment — or sometimes before — you may be allowed to enter ARD and stop your case’s criminal proceedings.

ARD requires you to submit to drug counseling, abide by certain restrictions, and participate in a probation-type program. Upon completion of the program, the prosecution may drop all charges pending against you relating to your DUI. You can petition to have these charges removed (expunged) from your record.

Entering ARD may seem like the perfect escape hatch from DUI charges, but the reality is that you may have better options available. Once you participate in ARD, you will never be able to do it again. You may wish to fight your charges instead by entering a “not guilty” plea and working with an experienced Bucks County DUI lawyer.

Bucks County DUI accidents

The different levels of DUI offenses in Pennsylvania vary based on a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) within two hours of operating a vehicle.

In the case of an accident involving a DUI, prosecutors are required to prove that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol within two hours of the accident. Still, If a driver flees the scene of an accident, neither form of evidence is likely to be available.

DUI statistics for Bucks County

Bucks County has a relatively high rate of DUI prosecutions compared to other Court of Common Pleas cases. According to statistics from the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Bucks County had 2,048 DUI criminal cases in 2018, making up 27.5% of the Court of Common Pleas’ docket. For comparison, in Pennsylvania, DUI cases comprise only 25.2% of the expected pleas caseload.

Fortunately, Bucks County is not known for a high rate of DUI-related fatalities. A report ranking the 67 Pennsylvania Counties by their rate of DUI-related fatalities adjusted for population found that Bucks County ranked 57th overall, with one DUI-related fatality per every 9,240 residents.

Find your DUI court in Bucks County.

The court where you will be expected to appear will differ depending on where your Bucks County DUI arrest occurred. You can visit the official Bucks County website to view the list of magisterial district courts and locate the one with jurisdiction over your case.

Cities we serve in Bucks County

Contact a Bucks County DUI lawyer at our firm.

Facing charges for a DUI can be intimidating. You may not know your legal options, and you may be worried about your possible future. Working with an experienced DUI lawyer in Bucks County can help you know exactly what options you have available. You and your attorney may be able to reduce the severity of your DUI charge by seeking to reduce the charge, challenging evidence, filing a motion to dismiss charges, or any other tactics available.

Steven Kellis has the experience and knowledge to provide you with skilled legal representation for your DUI case. With his assistance, you can explore the options available to address your charges and make the best decisions for you and your family. Call 215-940-1200 or contact Steven Kellis online today for a free consultation.

Bucks County Office

196 West Ashland Street
Doylestown, PA

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