You’ve been pulled over for a DUI and spent the night in jail. This is the first time you’ve been arrested and 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.
While DUI charges often involve repeat offenders, the reality is that many DUIs are given to drivers who made a single mistake that many of us are capable of. However, driving over the legal limit always means that you’re not able to drive safely. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Chester County, you may rightly fear the consequences that a conviction will bring to your life and career.
Your first step should be contacting an experienced attorney 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.
Penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania
The consequences for drinking and driving in Pennsylvania are rigorous. If you are 21 years old or over, and your blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08 percent or higher you are considered to be DUI. You may also be convicted at a lower BAC rate if you are driving erratically. If you are under 21, the BAC is .02 percent or greater.
A first offense for DUI results in 6 months of probation, a $300 fine, and no suspension. A second offense results in 5 days to 6 months in prison, a $300 to $2500 fine, and a 12 month suspension. A third offense brings 10 days to 2 years in prison, a $500 to $5000 fine, and a 12 month suspension.
Penalties increase based on your BAC, the seriousness of injuries and damages resulting from driving while impaired, and the more times you are convicted. An ignition interlock system must be installed for one year if you have a second or third offense. Alcohol abuse screening and community service may also be ordered. There are more severe penalties for those with a higher BAC. Pennsylvania has a three-tiered approach to DUI based on BAC with increased penalties at each level.
Although drinking and driving cases may seem no more complicated that 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 completely 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, which can lead to the results being unreliable or thrown out altogether. Suppressing evidence, or having evidence ruled inadmissible, can result in your DUI charges being reduced or dismissed when you have an experienced attorney handling your case.
Should I Refuse the Breathalyzer?
You should never refuse a breath test when arrested for a DUI. In Pennsylvania, refusal of either the breathalyzer or a blood test can result in losing your license for an additional year, on top of the normal 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 DUI, depending on your BAC level. If you refuse testing and have a prior drinking and driving conviction you’ll receive an eighteen-month suspension for refusal plus eighteen additional months for DUI.
Guiding You Through the 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 important 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 smart decisions about your arrest.
Cities we serve in Chester County
Contact Our Chester County Law Firm
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 effectively represent you in any type of DUI case. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.
Chester County Office
1055 Westlakes Drive, Third Floor