Reading, PA DUI Lawyer

Image credit: Readingpa.gov

Driving in Reading, Pennsylvania under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime that can result in a suspension of your driver’s license, jail time, fines, probation, drug counseling, and other penalties. If you have been arrested for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you need an experienced Reading PA DUI lawyer you can trust.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, you will find a skilled DUI defense attorney who brings extensive knowledge of drunk driving law and decades of experience to the table. Mr. Kellis was a former prosecutor of drunk driving cases who has more than 25 years of experience in front of a jury. The extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania DUI laws and the long history of representing clients makes PA DUI Defense Attorney Kellis the kind of advocate you need to help you respond to your drunk driving charges.

Driving in Reading Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

You can be charged with a crime any time you are driving in Reading under the influence of drugs or alcohol that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. While most people assume a charge of drunk or impaired driving is possible only when your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds .08 percent, you can also face criminal charges whenever the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were too impaired to be driving your vehicle.

The most common type of evidence used in cases where someone is accused of driving in Reading under the influence is a BAC test. There are a variety of tests including field sobriety tests, a breath test, blood tests and urine tests designed to assess your BAC. You don’t have to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, but you do need to agree to have your BAC tested in some way if police have reasonable cause to believe you are drunk – otherwise, you could face criminal charges and lose your license under PA implied consent laws.

A Reading DUI lawyer can help if you have been charged with refusal to submit to a BAC test, as well as in circumstances where you are arrested for being over the limit or impaired.

Why You Need a DUI Lawyer in Reading PA

Penalties differ for impaired driving offenses depending upon whether the incident is the first drunk driving charge and on how high your blood alcohol content was. Some of the possible consequences of conviction include:

  • An evaluation for drug or alcohol addiction
  • Court-ordered counseling or rehabilitation
  • Incarceration
  • Fines
  • A permanent criminal record
  • The suspension of your driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Community service

In some cases, jail or prison time is mandatory – including a required 48-hour minimum in jail for a first offense if your BAC is .10 to .159 percent when tested by law enforcement. With mandatory minimums, the only way to avoid jail is to get the charges dropped or win a not-guilty verdict.

Your DUI defense attorneys can help you deal with the charges, explore defenses, negotiate a plea deal or gain entry into diversion programs. The right choice will depend upon the specifics of your case.

Where Are DUIs Heard in Reading?

In 2018, there were 1,094 DUI cases heard in Berks County. All of these were misdemeanor charges. The data does not include any charges that were pleaded down to lesser offenses. It also doesn’t include cases that were dismissed through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD).

Your arraignment will likely be held at the County Court of Common Pleas. During your arraignment, your charges will be read, and you will be able to enter your plea (generally guilty or not guilty). The Berks County Court of Common Pleas is located at:

633 Court Street
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: (610) 478-6208

If you plead not guilty, your case will advance to the magisterial district court. There are eight such courts in Reading. These include:

MDC 23-1-02
Judge Carissa L. Johnson
1150 Muhlenberg Street
Reading, PA 19602
Phone: (610) 374-9288

MDC 23-1-03
Judge Kyley L. Scott
Berks County Services Center 3rd Floor
633 Court Street
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: (610) 378-5101

MDC 23-1-05
Judge Alvin B. Robinson
633 Court Street
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: (610) 373-2127

MDC 23-1-06
Judge Dean R. Patton
3200 Reading Crest Avenue
Reading, PA 19605
Phone: (610) 929-4440

MDC 23-2-01
Judge Stuart D. Kennedy
441 Morgantown Road
Reading, PA 19611
Phone: (610) 375-7101

MDC 23-2-02
Judge Eric J. Taylor
401 Walnut Street
West Reading, PA 19611
Phone: (610) 374-7721

MDC 23-2-03
Judge Sandra L. Fegley
10 Fairlane Road
Reading, PA 19606
Phone: (610) 779-5137

MDC 23-3-09
Judge Tonya A. Butler
2312 Fairmont Avenue
Suite 500
Reading, PA 19605
Phone: (610) 373-4424

What Is Implied Consent?

When you get your driver’s license, you automatically agree to consent to any kind of chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, if an officer suspects you are driving inebriated. This is called “implied consent.” However, this only applies if you are legally pulled over. In addition, you do have the right to refuse a chemical test, but doing so carries penalties of its own.

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended for 12 months. If you have refused a chemical test before, your license will be suspended for 18 months. This is in addition to any suspension you receive for the DUI. You will have to pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back.

You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. An IID requires you to blow into a tube to prove you’re driving sober before the engine starts. These devices can be costly to install and maintain. If you do install an IID, you may be able to get your license back sooner.

In virtually all cases, it’s best to not refuse a chemical test. Even if you believe the officer didn’t pull you over with proper cause, take the breathalyzer. Your Reading DUI lawyer can argue that the arrest was improper, and therefore have the chemical test thrown out as evidence. If you refuse the test, you may still have to deal with a license suspension and other penalties, even if you are found not guilty of the DUI or your charges are pleaded down to a lesser offense.

Contact Our Reading PA DUI Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence in Reading, it’s vital to enlist a Reading drunk driving defense lawyer to help. At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, you will find a litigator with the experience and skill needed to advocate for you. Contact us today to learn how we can help with your case.

The DUI defense attorneys on our team serve all of Eastern Pennsylvania. This includes the Allentown, Bethlehem, Broomall, Chester, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown and Upper Darby areas.