Getting convicted of a DUI in Lower Merion can severely affect your future. You could lose your license for a year or longer. You will face hefty fines and possible jail time. The arrest and conviction go on your record, which can hurt your chances of getting a job. Some employers may even automatically fire you, especially if your job involves driving a company vehicle on a regular basis.
Protect Your Future, Get a Lawyer
For all of these reasons and more, it is important to properly defend yourself against criminal charges after getting arrested for a DUI. There are always options available to decrease your chances of landing in a worst-case scenario.
You can appoint a Lower Merion DUI lawyer to represent you and provide criminal defense for your case. The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis can offer experienced DUI defense services for anyone arrested in Lower Merion or Pennsylvania as a whole.
Schedule a free, no-obligation case review with Lower Merion DUI attorney Steven E. Kellis when you call (215) 940-1200, or contact us online today.
Pennsylvania DUI Laws
DUI defendants should be aware of a number of Pennsylvania laws that could affect them.
First, 38 § 3802(a-c) makes it illegal to operate a vehicle when you have consumed enough alcohol to affect your ability to safely drive. The text of this law can mean that you are technically committing a DUI even if you blow under the 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) limit.
If you have had any amount of alcohol and are pulled over for driving in a manner that the arresting officer deems unsafe, you can be charged.
38 § 3802(d) makes it illegal to drive when you are hindered by the effects of illegal drugs, controlled substances, and certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs that can affect your abilities.
Pennsylvania DUI law sets out different penalties for different levels of intoxication, as measured by a BAC breathalyzer or blood test. “General impairment” refers to BACs below 0.10, “High BAC” refers to any BAC between 0.10 and 0.159, and “Highest BAC” refers to anyone arrested with a BAC 0.16 or higher.
There are also laws that levy higher penalties against individuals convicted of multiple DUIs as well as individuals involved in accidents that caused injuries or deaths.
Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program
Pennsylvania operates its ARD program with the intent to lessen penalties for those who are charged with certain minor crimes, including low-level DUI charges. ARD participants cannot have prior convictions.
The program diverts you from trial, allowing you to instead complete a probation program, attend education classes, take substance abuse tests, and pay some fees. Upon completion of the program, it’s like you never even faced prosecution at all. You can petition the court to expunge the arrest after a certain period of time.
Participating in ARD is a good option for some people facing DUI charges in Lower Merion, but one should not assume it’s the only option. The primary reason is that you can only do ARD once. If you had the chance to fight your charges, chose ARD instead, and faced another DUI at a later date, you’ve effectively removed your ARD option.
Speak with an experienced Lower Merion DUI attorney to weigh your options and discuss whether participating in ARD is the best option for you.
DUI Plea Options in Lower Merion, PA
There are several plea options available when you attend your arraignment in Lower Merion:
- Delay your plea – This option can be used if you and your attorney are filing motions to have charges dropped or if you would like to wait until you have an attorney present. You may also not have to enter a plea if you are eligible for ARD.
- Not guilty – This option allows you to fight your DUI charges, either procedurally or in court. You can prepare a defense that disproves the prosecution’s case or that shows they committed errors that should allow the case to be dropped.
- Guilty – A guilty plea can involve an arrangement where you plea to lesser charges in exchange for more lenient penalties. If you intend to plead guilty, first discuss your options with an experienced Lower Merion DUI lawyer to see what arrangements can be made.
- Nolo Contendere -“No contest,” effectively meaning you won’t fight the charges. This is as good as a guilty plea, and provides no benefits to those facing DUI charges.
Other Charges You May Face for a Lower Merion DUI Arrest
In addition to a charge of driving under the influence, you may have a number of other charges related to your arrest. These may include driving without insurance, open container, drug possession, child endangerment, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of the accident, and others.
Your DUI lawyer in Lower Merion will help you weigh your options for each charge and develop a legal strategy for addressing them one-by-one. In some cases, you may be able to have all charges dropped at once if the reason for the stop is deemed invalid by the court.
Why You Need to Hire Lower Merion DUI Lawyers
There are many possible outcomes after a DUI charge, especially if you face a higher BAC level charge or multiple charges related to one stop. Without a DUI defense lawyer, you could face any number of stiff penalties, including incarceration, court-ordered evaluations and rehabilitation programs, hefty fines and fees, probation, a suspended license, and a permanent addition to your criminal record.
Appointing a lawyer allows you to examine your options and fight each individual charge. In many instances, having a DUI defense lawyer is the difference between the maximum penalties and moderate penalties thanks to an effective plea bargain. Other times, your DUI lawyer may be able to get pieces of evidence or specific criminal charges dropped because of mistakes made by police or the prosecutor.
Don’t let one arrest jeopardize your entire future. Think about the benefits a Lower Merion DUI lawyer can offer, and then contact us today.
Contact Our Lower Merion DUI Lawyers
Any time you face DUI charges in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, know that you have an ally at the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis waiting to provide you with legal guidance.
You can schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with no obligation when you call (215) 940-1200 or contact us online.