Chester County DUI lawyer

You’ve been pulled over for a DUI and spent the night in jail. This is the first time you’ve been arrested, and you are imagining the worst. How long will my license be taken away? Will I lose my job? These are realistic concerns. Severe penalties are associated with DUI, not to mention the stigma.

Your first step should be contacting an experienced DUI lawyer in Chester County who can offer a comprehensive plan to fight the charge. Steven Kellis is a former prosecutor for the state who has focused his Chester County law practice on DUI defense for the past 25 years. Attorney Steven Kellis understands both sides of Pennsylvania DUI law and will use aggressive tactics to get the best possible outcome for your case.

Find out what you can do to fight your DUI charge and seek the best possible outcome during a free, no-obligation case review with Steven Kellis. Call (215) 977-4183 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment.

Call a Chester County DUI lawyer if you've been caught behind the wheel.

Should I refuse a breathalyzer test?

You should never refuse a breath test when arrested for a DUI. In Pennsylvania, refusing either the breathalyzer or a blood test can result in losing your license for an additional year, on top of the typical drinking and driving penalties. Worse, you could forfeit your driving rights for a year even if you’re not guilty of DUI.

A two-and-a-half-year suspension can result if you refuse to take the test and you are determined to be driving under the influence, depending on your BAC level. If you refuse to test and have a prior drinking and driving conviction, you’ll receive an eighteen-month suspension for refusal plus eighteen additional months for DUI.

What are the possible DUI penalties?

Pennsylvania has several possible DUI penalties depending on the level of blood alcohol content (BAC) you have been tested for, how many prior DUI convictions you have on your record, and other circumstances.

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §3804 lists the following penalties for a DUI conviction with a 0.08 – 0.099 BAC:

  • 1st Offense: Misdemeanor, $300 fine, up to 6 months probation, highway safety school, possible treatment
  • 2nd Offense: Misdemeanor, $300 – $2,500 fine, five days to 6 months jail sentence, highway safety school, possible treatment, 1-year ignition interlock
  • 3rd Offense or Greater: $500 – $5,000 fine, ten days to 2 years in state prison, possible treatment, one-year ignition interlock

Higher BAC levels correspond with more strict sentencing guidelines. The categories of aggravated DUI include High BAC penalties for measured levels 0.10 to 0.159 and Highest BAC penalties for measured levels 0.16 and higher.

Your first conviction for a DUI of the Highest BAC level, for example, can bring at minimum a $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison.

Some DUI penalties are more challenging to quantify. Regardless of your sentencing level, they can have enormous consequences for your future. You may lose your license, job, or access to specific federally funded programs. The hidden consequences of a DUI are why many people choose to appoint an experienced Chester County DUI lawyer to help them reduce their charges or ask for more lenient sentencing.

What is an extreme DUI?

In Pennsylvania, any BAC over 0.10 percent is considered extreme DUI. This is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent BAC. If you are charged with extreme DUI, you will face harsher penalties, including longer jail time and higher penalty fees.

If a driver with a high blood alcohol level causes an accident with injuries, vehicle damage, or property damage, the penalties are further increased.

Extreme DUI sentencing enhancements

In most cases, DUI in Pennsylvania is considered a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for DUI convictions is typically two years imprisonment. Sentencing enhancements are based on two factors:

  • Prior offenses (conviction, adjudication of delinquency, juvenile consent decree, acceptance of accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD), or preliminary disposition)
  • Refusal of chemical testing

Chester County DUI accidents involving injury or death

The drunk driving laws in Pennsylvania specify that a DUI accident that injures or kills another person places liability on the impaired driving for several criminal charges beyond the normal range of DUI charges in the state, including:

  • Assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Vehicular homicide

DUI accident cases in Pennsylvania are severe criminal charges that can merit serious felony offense consequences, including prison time, immense fines, license revocation, permanent criminal records, and even civil liabilities.

What is the DUI legal process?

For many people with a DUI, this is their first criminal charge. Steven Kellis knows the importance of clearly explaining the legal process to clients who’ve come to him for help. If your case is a simple DUI, you may proceed quickly through the court system, which makes it even more vital that you get the help of an experienced attorney immediately after your charge. With guidance from Mr. Kellis, you’ll learn about Pennsylvania DUI laws and what to expect when you appear in court, allowing you to make intelligent decisions about your arrest.

What are some plea options for my DUI case in Chester County?

You have many plea options available in your case. The most important ones to consider include the following.

Delaying your plea

During your arraignment, you may be allowed to delay your plea until you have time to appoint a Chester County DUI lawyer. You may also be offered ARD or other pre-trial programs.

Not guilty

Entering a “not guilty” plea means you intend to defend your case in court. It does not necessarily mean that you can prove that you were sober at the time of your arrest, but instead that you think the prosecution doesn’t have the information needed to convict.


A guilty plea can be optionally entered, but you should always attempt to work out a plea deal with the prosecution before you do so. You and your Chester County DUI lawyer can seek to plea to lesser charges or request leniency in exchange for a reasonable trial.

“No contest” plea

A “no contest” plea can bring benefits for minor traffic violations, but for criminal cases like DUI, it is essentially the same as entering a guilty plea. Arranging a “guilty” plea bargain or requesting the advice of an attorney may be more beneficial.

Talking with an experienced attorney can help you assess all your options and select the one that offers the best chances at a favorable outcome.

The Chester County ARD Program

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a pre-trial diversion. Pennsylvania set up this program to help certain non-violent first offenders avoid prosecution in exchange for participating in a program.

The program may require fees, substance abuse counseling, probationary supervision, and other demands. Upon completing the program, DUI suspects may have all their charges dropped, and they can request to have the arrest removed (expunged) from their records.

Many may assume that ARD is their best option but want to consider alternatives carefully. You can only participate in ARD once, for one thing. If you could have your charges reduced or dropped, you would be in a better position than if you had entered ARD. Always review your available options carefully with an experienced Chester County DUI lawyer.

Challenging DUI evidence used in your case

Although drinking and driving cases may seem no more complicated than a traffic offense, Steven Kellis knows that a DUI has many potential problems. Irregularities and mistakes often occur when police officers make the initial arrest. There must be probable cause for an officer to stop your vehicle. Police officers sometimes make traffic stops that are not entirely valid.

Field sobriety and breathalyzer tests are usually administered by police officers when a person is suspected of driving under the influence. Due to the potential for human error, mistakes can be made during these tests, leading to unreliable results or being thrown out altogether.

Suppressing evidence or having evidence ruled inadmissible can result in reducing or dismissing your DUI charges when you have an experienced lawyer handling your case.

Find your district court in Chester County

The district court you will be required to appear at depends upon where you were arrested for a DUI in Chester County. Click to find a directory of all magistrate district courts in Chester County.

Cities we serve in Chester County

Call a Chester County DUI lawyer ready to help.

When you are facing a DUI in Chester County, enlist the assistance of a law firm that focuses its practice on representing clients charged with drinking and driving.

With more than 25 years of experience in DUI cases as both a prosecutor for the state and a defense attorney, Steven Kellis has the legal skills necessary to represent you in any DUI case effectively. Call (215) 977-4183 or contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Chester County Office

1055 Westlakes Drive, Third Floor

Berwyn, PA


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