In Pennsylvania, driving under the influence is a criminal offense. If convicted, you will face costly fines, suspension, or revocation of your driver’s license, mandatory alcohol education classes, an increase or cancellation of your auto insurance policy, having to install and drive with an ignition interlock device, probation, and possible jail time.
DUIs are very serious, especially with the increasingly stringent laws passed in Pennsylvania in recent years. You need a DUI attorney in Chester, PA to represent you and fight tirelessly for your legal rights.
Call our office at (215) 977-4183 to schedule your free case consultation.
Act Swiftly to Schedule a DMV Hearing
Being charged with DUI doesn’t mean your life is over. An experienced DUI attorney in Chester, PA can help, but it’s important to act quickly. Deadlines can come up as soon as 10 days after your arrest that can affect your ability to drive.
For example, requesting a DMV hearing can help keep your driver’s license from being suspended after your 30-day provisional license expires.
However, DMV hearings are more complicated than they seem. It’s important to hire a DUI lawyer with experience and familiarity in the legal process to help you keep your driving privileges.
DUI Statistics for Chester, PA
With the second-highest volume of DUI arrests in Pennsylvania, Chester County residents need to take drinking and driving more seriously.
One bright spot is that Chester ranks relatively low for its rate of DUI-related road fatalities. Out of 67 counties, it ranks 52nd: statistically, one out of every 8,243 residents died in a DUI-related crash between 2013 and 2017.
Even with that “bright spot,” it’s clear that Chester, PA has a DUI problem. One of the best ways to help citizens recuperate and rehabilitate themselves is by introducing effective legal representation.
If you were arrested for a DUI in the city of Chester, let experienced attorney Steven E. Kellis help. Call (215) 977-4183 now to schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD)
The ARD program acts as a pre-trial diversion for first-time offenders facing certain non-violent criminal misdemeanor charges. Individuals who enter the program participate in a state-sponsored supervision program similar to probation. They also have to attend educational programs for responsible substance use.
After successful completion of ARD, the participant can petition to have their DUI arrest and charges expunged from their record.
There are substantial costs associated with ARD and related programs. However, these costs are much lower than many DUI fines and sentences, and they allow alleged DUI perpetrators to avoid jail time.
This can seem like a tempting option for certain first-time offenders, but individuals can only participate once. As such, it may be in your best interest to explore other options. You can choose to fight charges or have them dropped through procedural motions, like a motion to dismiss evidence.
To fully evaluate all of your options and for advice in choosing the best one for your unique circumstances, call Chester, PA attorney Steven Kellis.
DUI Plea Options in Chester, PA
A not guilty plea means that you intend to fight the prosecution’s case. This doesn’t always mean that you prove you were not driving under the influence. Instead, you can prove that the case lacks evidence or that the prosecution violated due process.
A guilty plea should only be made when there are no good options for fighting charges, and only after making a plea arrangement with the prosecution. Appointing a Chester, PA DUI lawyer can give you options for negotiating a plea in exchange for reduced charges or more lenient sentencing.
Pleading “no contest” acts as a guilty plea, with all the penalties therein. For certain minor traffic violations, a nolo plea can offer certain benefits. However, a DUI charge usually carries penalties too heavy for this option to be beneficial.
Penalties for DUI
Penalties for DUI can include anything from hefty fines to jail time. The actual penalties you face will depend on several factors, such as:
- Whether this is your first DUI, or you’re a repeat offender
- Your blood alcohol content
- The type of vehicle you were driving (non-commercial, commercial, or a school bus). Pennsylvania’s new grading system imposes increased penalties for non-commercial drivers based on their level of intoxication: General Impairment (.08 – .099 percent), High BAC (.10-.159 percent), and Highest BAC (.16 percent and higher).
- Whether there were any property damages, vehicle damages, or bodily injuries
- If there were any passengers in the vehicle under 14 years old
- Whether a minor was driving under the influence
Depending on the circumstances of your DUI, you can face fines ranging from $300-$10,000; imprisonment for up to 6 months; suspension of your driver’s license for up to 18 months; up to 150 hours of community service; court-ordered alcohol highway safety school; substance abuse treatment, and more. An experienced drunk driving defense lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case to help you pursue the best possible outcome.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late – Schedule a Free Consultation Today!
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Chester, PA, it’s important to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24 hours per day and are dedicated to helping you achieve a favorable outcome.