Getting arrested for driving under the influence is a scary ordeal. After your arrest, you’re left wondering if you’ll lose your license, how to defend your case, and what happens next.
The facts and circumstances of every DUI charge are different, but an experienced Conshohocken DUI attorney will know how to best handle your case.
Call the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis at (215) 977-4183 to schedule your free consultation today.
Penalties for DUI Convictions
Pennsylvania uses a sliding scale when assessing penalties for DUI. The penalties you face depend largely on whether it’s your first offense and how high your blood alcohol content (BAC) is.
For example, first-time offenders, i.e., those who haven’t been arrested for DUI within the past 10 years, with a low blood alcohol content face a fine of up to $300 and a maximum of six months probation.
Penalties for repeat offenders or first-time offenders with a high BAC can increase up to a $10,000 fine, five years’ imprisonment, participation in mandatory, court-ordered classes, and suspension of their driver’s license for 18 months.
There are also other factors that can increase the penalties and fines for DUI.
Just because you were arrested for DUI doesn’t mean that the charge has to follow you for the rest of your life. Call a Conshohocken DUI attorney now to get started on your defense.
Why It’s Important to Have an Attorney in a DUI Case
From the moment you’re released after a DUI arrest, the clock starts ticking against you. Within the first 10 days after your release, you must schedule a DMV hearing to appeal the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. A knowledgeable Conshohocken DUI attorney with experience in these hearings can be instrumental in helping you retain your driving privileges, even if it’s just a limited license that allows you to continue driving to work.
Quickly retaining a DUI defense lawyer will also help to ensure that all necessary evidence against you is collected and reviewed and that any other defenses that may be available to you are preserved. Time is of the essence, and the sooner an attorney can start working on your case, the better the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
DUI Defense in Conshohocken, PA
In addition to representing you at your DMV hearing, attorney Steven Kellis will review the facts and circumstances of your case to mount an optimal defense. Many clients believe that failing a field sobriety test or breathalyzer means they will automatically be found guilty; however, this is not always the case. Even if you failed the field sobriety test or breathalyzer, there are still several ways to defend your DUI charge.
Some common ways to challenge DUI charges in Pennsylvania include:
- Lack of probable cause for the initial traffic stop
- Failure of the arresting officer to follow proper procedure during the arrest
- Insufficient evidence
- Factors that can make the breathalyzer or field sobriety test inaccurate or unreliable
The actual defenses available are fact-specific, and require the expertise of a qualified Conshohocken DUI lawyer to review your case to determine which defenses may be available to you.
In some cases, the accused may be eligible for the Pennsylvania ARD Program. The idea of this program for first-time offenders without any prior criminal convictions is that you essentially plead “no contest” to certain non-violent criminal charges by choosing not to defend yourself in court. In exchange, the state will enroll you in a 6-12 month (sometimes 24-month) probation program that includes Highway Safety classes and a possible temporary license suspension.
Completing the program allows you to avoid the fines, jail time, and criminal penalties associated with a DUI conviction. It does have a fixed cost, though, because of fees and other assessments. These usually total anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 over the course of the program.
People who complete the program are eligible to petition the court to have their DUI arrest expunged from their records.
Other options for DUI defenses include completing the Pennsylvania Section 17 Program, or your DUI may be able to be dropped to a wet reckless charge. Our Conshohocken, PA DUI lawyers will explain all options to you so you can make an informed decision.
DUI Statistics for Conshohocken
DUI arrests are common in Conshohocken, PA, but DUI-related road fatalities are fortunately rare.
State trooper arrest figures provide another view of how common DUI charges are in Conshohocken. A large number of stops and arrests from DUI in Montgomery County are made by state troopers in Troop T. This troop performed 167 DUI arrests in 2018.
According to the most recent statewide statistics from Pennsylvania DOT, there were 7,700 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, making up 26% of total traffic fatalities. In the same year, Montgomery County saw 168 alcohol-related crashes that led to various degrees of injury, six of which were fatal.
After you have been arrested for a DUI in Conshohocken, you will have appointments to make at various courts located within Montgomery County.
Your first appointment is a Preliminary Hearing. It takes place at the Magisterial District Court that has jurisdiction over the area in which you were stopped and arrested.
The most common District Court Magistrate Judge for DUI arrests in Conshohocken is:
Judge Francis J. Bernhardt
625 West Ridge Pike
Building “B”, Suite 101
Conshohocken, PA 19428-1188
Other possible Magistrate Judges you may face after a Conshohocken DUI arrest include:
- Judge Deborah A. Lukens — Lafayette Hill, PA (Parts of Conshohocken)
- Judge William I. Maruszczak — King of Prussia, PA (West Conshohocken)
After your preliminary hearing, the presiding magistrate judge will determine if the prosecution has probable cause to continue their case. If your case does continue, you will attend an Arraignment at the County Court of Common Pleas for criminal cases. The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas is located at:
Montgomery County Courthouse
2 E Airy St
Norristown, PA 19401
If your case proceeds to a jury trial, the trial will take place at the Criminal Court located in the Montgomery County Courthouse at the above address.
Plea Options for DUI in Conshohocken
You have several options for responding to your DUI charges after a Conshohocken arrest:
- File motions to have your charges amended, reduced, or dismissed.
- Enter a “not guilty” plea and defend your charges, up to the point of a jury trial.
- Cooperate with the prosecution to enter a “guilty” plea in exchange for reduced charges and/or sentencing.
- Enter the ARD program (after your arraignment).
Contact a Conshohocken DUI Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Conshohocken, it’s vital to retain an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can make a difference in the outcome of your case. Mr. Kellis has extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania DUI laws and experience handling DUI cases and attending evidentiary proceedings.
Mr. Kellis will handle your case personally, and is available around the clock to consult with you. Complete our online form to arrange your free consultation today.
Our attorney serves those facing DUI charges in all of Eastern Pennsylvania.