If you have been arrested for drunk or drugged driving, you need an experienced DUI lawyer in Norristown, PA to represent you. The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis can provide the legal services you need to respond to your DUI charges and obtain the best result.
When you sign the application for your driver’s license, you are agreeing to submit to any request for chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). “Chemical testing” refers to blood, breath, or urine testing upon suspicion that you were driving drunk.
This is known as “implied consent,” and it applies to you even if you were unaware that it existed. If you refuse the police officer’s request to submit to chemical testing, you could face far more severe consequences. Refusing a breath, blood, or urine test could result in a suspension of your driver’s license, and you could be faced with the highest BAC penalties.
What are the Penalties for Drunk Driving in Norristown?
The penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania vary depending upon whether you have prior offenses, whether you caused an accident, and how high your blood alcohol content (BAC) was.
If your blood alcohol content is found to be above the legal limit (.08 percent) or if police have other evidence to prove you are intoxicated, you could face fines, the suspension of your driver’s license, the required use of an ignition interlock device, and even incarceration. You’ll also have a criminal record.
Jail time can be levied even for your first offense if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .10 percent to .159 percent. The law mandates at least 48 hours of jail time and allows for the court to sentence you for as long as six months of incarceration.
A BAC at this level for a first offense will also result in a fine between $500 and $5,000, a required drug and alcohol evaluation, and a 12-month suspension of your license.
The consequences of a conviction are serious and only get worse for repeat offenses or higher BAC levels. A DUI lawyer in Norristown, PA will help you understand the charges and penalties you face and explore options for arranging a plea bargain, entering a diversion program, or fighting the charges.
Is there an ARD Program in Norristown, PA?
If this is your first DUI and there are no aggravating factors surrounding your DUI charges and you have no prior convictions, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program may be a good fit for you.
If you qualify for and ultimately complete the ARD program, you can have your DUI expunged. Please do not hesitate to contact a Norristown, PA DUI lawyer to discuss your eligibility.
DUI Statistics in Norristown
Situated in Montgomery County, Norristown sees far too many DUIs every year.
While there are no statistics that show exactly how many people are arrested for DUIs each year in the county, we can get a picture of DUI convictions based on court-ordered Court Reporting Network (CRN) evaluations. These evaluations are in place to determine if the person arrested for a DUI needs court-reported rehabilitation and other treatment options.
On average, Montgomery County performs about 2,750 CRNs annually. These evaluations are conducted before any trial takes place. Even those who accept a plea deal or take part in Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), thereby avoiding prosecution, generally still receive a CRN evaluation.
Though there are thousands of DUIs annually, the good news is that Montgomery County has relatively few drunk driving deaths every year. From 2015 to 2017, there were 0.71 deaths per 100,000 residents, making it the third-lowest county rate in Pennsylvania. By contrast, Susquehanna County saw a DUI fatality rate of 7.69 per 100,000 residents.
DUI arrests may be lower in Norristown than in other areas of the state, but you still run the risk of being arrested if you get behind the wheel after having a few drinks. If you are arrested, you need a Norristown DUI lawyer to represent you in court.
What are the Plea Options for a Norristown DUI?
After being arrested for DUI in Montgomery County, there are a few pleas to choose from. The first is “no plea.” With no plea entered, you are essentially asking for more time to weigh your options, such as which Norristown DUI attorney you should hire.
The second option is to plead “not guilty.” Unless you have an airtight case, you should never consider this option without the help of your lawyer. If you plead not guilty, your case will go to trial. You will have to present facts and evidence to prove your case, which is never advisable without an attorney. Make sure you hire an experienced lawyer who can skillfully argue on your behalf.
Finally, you may enter a plea of “guilty.” No matter how bad you feel about drinking and driving, never plead guilty without the counsel of an experienced DUI lawyer in Norristown PA. Your lawyer can work with state prosecutors to formulate a favorable deal in exchange for a guilty plea.
This is called a plea bargain. A plea bargain often means you get a lesser charge, like reckless driving, for not taking up the court’s time with a trial. However, it is virtually impossible to secure a good plea deal without the help of a lawyer.
Technically, there is a fourth option, which is to plead “nolo contendere,” or “no contest.” While this can be useful in traffic infraction cases, it should never be used in DUI cases. With a nolo contendere plea, you technically don’t admit guilt, but you still face the consequences of a DUI.
Contact an Experienced Norristown PA DUI Lawyer
The prosecutor has to prove you are guilty of drunk driving, and there are different defenses that can be raised to help avoid conviction. It’s crucial to retain an experienced DUI attorney in Norristown as soon as possible after the drunk driving arrest to ensure you take the necessary steps to protect your rights.
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, you’ll be represented by a Norristown PA DUI lawyer with the experience, skill, dedication, and compassion you need. A career background as a prosecutor for DUI cases has given DUI Defense Attorney Steven Kellis a unique understanding of how prosecutors approach drunk driving claims. This perspective can help you decide the best course of action for your own matter.
For more than two decades, attorney Steven E. Kellis has been a strong legal advocate for those accused of drunk driving. Contact us at our Pennsylvania DUI attorney in Norristown for your free, no-obligation consultation.