If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, you are likely experiencing anxiety and will need to make informed choices about your case. A DUI conviction can have a negative impact on your job, reputation and family. Pennsylvania law carries harsh penalties for drinking and driving, especially if it’s your second or third offense.
At our Lehigh County law firm, we understand that this unexpected situation in your life requires the support and guidance of an experienced Lehigh County DUI lawyer. We focus solely on drinking and driving charges and understand your plight.
Lehigh County DUI lawyer Steven Kellis has a long history of serving DUI clients and will fight hard to help you mount an effective defense for your case.
Building a Defense Strategy
Attorney Steven Kellis is knowledgeable about both sides of DUI law in Pennsylvania, having served as a Senior Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted hundreds of drinking and driving cases before starting his practice as a DUI defense attorney.
As your personal advocate, Mr. Kellis will meet with you in order to get a clear picture of the circumstances of your arrest. He will then obtain all evidence from law enforcement officials and the prosecutor in order to evaluate your case. After careful scrutiny of the facts, he will determine the best defense strategy for your charge.
After careful scrutiny of the facts, he will determine the best defense strategy for your charge. Mr. Kellis will seek answers to the following questions:
- What were the conditions under which field sobriety tests were performed, and what was the experience and training of the officer(s) who conducted the tests?
- Were the breathalyzer results reliable, based on the operator’s experience and skills, and the machine’s calibration and maintenance records?
- Did the officer have probable cause to stop you for a traffic violation?
- Did the arresting officer properly and fully read you your Miranda rights before asking about your actions?
These questions are important as they may lead to the development of defenses that can be useful in minimizing your charge or having it dismissed altogether.
Penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania
There may be multiple issues in your case beyond a simple DUI charge. For instance, you may also be faced with the administrative suspension of your driver’s license and other criminal charges related to the incident that led to your DUI.
In Pennsylvania, there are three categories of impairment based on your blood alcohol content: General (.08 to .099%), High (.10 to .159%) and Highest (.16% and higher). Your penalties, potential jail time and fees will be determined by your level of impairment. Any BAC over 0.10 percent is considered to be an extreme DUI in Pennsylvania.
If you have a drunk driving charge and are involved in an injury accident, or if there is property damage, the penalties are further increased. Minors, commercial drivers, bus drivers, or anyone involved in an accident that causes injury to another person or property damage, may be charged with high BAC penalties even if their blood alcohol content was categorized as general impairment.
It is also important to understand that your sentence can be subject to enhancements if you have prior offenses or if you refused chemical testing. Saying no to a breathalyzer or blood test will not help your case.
If you already refused the breathalyzer, it’s even more important that you contact a Lehigh County, PA DUI lawyer for help.
Lehigh County DUI Accidents
Driving under the influence is a crime nobody intends to commit. Most are at risk for an arrest at some time in their lives, either because they drove after consuming alcohol or taking prescription drugs.
Pennsylvania’s DUI statute makes it illegal for an individual to drive, operate, or be in the actual physical control of a motor vehicle under any of the following conditions:
- When they have had a sufficient amount of alcohol to render them incapable of driving safely.
- When there is any amount of an unprescribed controlled substance, including all illegal drugs, present in their blood.
- When the influence of any drug or combination of drugs, including prescription medications, makes them incapable of safe driving.
Lehigh County Extreme DUI
The vast majority of third offense DUI cases are in the highest DUI category. The mandatory minimum for this DUI category is as follows:
- One to five years incarceration
- 18-month driver’s license suspension
- A fine ranging from $2,500 to $10,000
- Drug and alcohol treatment
- A guardian interlock device must be installed on all vehicles owned by the defendant during the first year after his driver’s license is restored
County Treatment Programs
Many Pennsylvania counties, including Lehigh County, offer some type of DUI treatment program for third offense DUI defendants. Participants may be permitted to stay in the community rather than going to state prison, which allows them to maintain employment.
Lehigh County sponsors the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Repeat Offender Project, a county funded program that provides early and increased levels of treatment, education, supervision, and surveillance to convicted repeat DUI offenders. Offenders participate in seven classes, each of which is two and a half hours long. The Program also uses Victim Impact Panels to educate the offenders.
Lehigh County Underage DUI Lawyer
It is very easy to be charged with an underage DUI. Less experienced alcohol consumers tend to have a lot of difficulty keeping track of how much they drink. Even when people do try to keep track of how many drinks they have had, gauging one’s own sobriety is tough.
Police officers are often on the lookout for younger drivers late at night because the legal standard for underage DUIs is much lower than for regular DUIs. In Pennsylvania, drivers under the age of 21 are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system if they are operating a vehicle.
Underage DUIs in the county can result in many different penalties including:
- Increased insurance premiums
- Additional charges stemming from the initial DUI charge
- A possible criminal conviction on the driver’s record
- Possible jail time, ranging from 90 days to up to six months for multiple underage DUIs
- Very hefty DUI-associated fines
- Expensive DUI-related classes
These are just a few of the consequences of an underage DUI conviction. You may face other repercussions if you are found guilty of an underage DUI. It’s important to speak with a Lehigh County, PA DUI lawyer who has years of experience and can represent you when facing these kinds of serious consequences.
Contact Our Law Office Today
You will benefit from speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. Attorney Steven Kellis has the background and experience to advise and help you through all aspects of your DUI case, no matter if you received an extreme DUI, DUI accident, or underage DUI charge.
Contact our office today to make an appointment for a free consultation to help you address your offense and make decisions that are best for you and your family.
Lehigh County Office
3477 Corporate Parkway
Center Valley, PA