An arrest for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania can be a stressful and downright frightening experience. It may feel like your life is quickly unraveling, and you may not know what the next steps in the legal process are. Without a Schuylkill County DUI lawyer by your side, you could easily make a mistake during your case.
Steven Kellis has the experience and knowledge you need to mount a strong defense. He has represented clients charged with driving under the influence for over 25 years. Before defending those accused of DUI, he was a prosecutor, so he knows both sides of the law. With his experience and his relationships with local courts, he can work with the legal system to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Law
In the state of Pennsylvania, by obtaining your driver’s license, you automatically consent to take a breathalyzer or other chemical test if you are pulled over. This is known as an implied consent law. Police officers use a breathalyzer to determine how much alcohol is in your system. In some cases, such as if you are suspected of being under the influence of drugs, a blood or urine test will be administered.
Legally, you do have the right to refuse a chemical test. However, there are consequences for doing so. Your license will be suspended for at least a year, on top of any penalties for the DUI itself. Even if you are found not guilty of DUI, you still face suspension. Depending on your blood alcohol content (BAC), you could face a license suspension for up to two and a half years.
Process of Arrest
Even if you are arrested, you have constitutional rights under U.S. law. A police officer cannot pull you over for no reason. They must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to arrest you.
Behaviors that warrant reasonable suspicion include:
- Failing to stay in your lane
- Following too closely
- Driving aggressively
- Swerving within a lane or between two lanes
- Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign
- Driving recklessly
Committing any of these traffic offenses provides reasonable cause for a police officer to pull you over. Many DUI arrests are also made at the scene of an accident where a drunk driver is at fault.
No matter the circumstance of your DUI arrest, DUI lawyer Steven Kellis will work to have your charges dropped or reduced. If you were arrested for a DUI in Schuylkill County, call The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis at (215) 543-6566.
The penalties you could face for driving under the influence depend on your blood alcohol content and any prior DUI convictions. For a first offense, you could face penalties ranging from up to six months probation and fines up to $300, up to no less than three days in jail, fines up to $5,000, and/or a 12-month license suspension.
For a second offense, you could spend five days to five years in jail, face a fine from $300 to $10,000, and a license suspension of 12 to 18 months. With a third offense, you face fines between $500 and $10,000, up to five years in prison, and up to 18 months without a license. In addition, second and third offenses require the installation of an ignition interlock device. You may also have to attend different alcohol treatment classes.
Whether it’s your first DUI charge or your fifth, it’s crucial you have a Schuylkill County DUI attorney by your side. Steven Kellis knows and understands Pennsylvania law, and can provide a strong defense in court. Contact him today for a free consultation.
Mounting a Strong Defense
After you hire a DUI defense attorney, they will begin the discovery process. During this period, they will gather and analyze all evidence, from breathalyzer results to statements from the arresting officer.
The discovery process is crucial in forming a strong defense. During this phase, your attorney will evaluate all the evidence and determine its efficacy in court. Some types of evidence are unallowable; these may be thrown out. Other types of evidence, such as results from breathalyzer or chemical tests, may not have been collected or conducted properly by the arresting officer.
Other reasons why your DUI case may be thrown out include:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion – A police officer must have a valid reason for pulling someone over. The officer must observe firsthand that the driver made a traffic violation in order to pull them over. If the officer fails to follow this and other procedures, the case against you may be thrown out on lack of reasonable suspicion.
- Unlawful arrest – Police officers must follow legal protocol during an arrest. The officer must have probable cause and must communicate the arrested party’s rights. If they do not follow these procedures, your case may be thrown out on the grounds of unlawful arrest.
- Improper use of a breathalyzer – Like other devices, breathalyzers must be maintained to get accurate and reliable readings. If the device malfunctions or has not been properly calibrated, the reading may be inaccurate and could inflate your results. This may result in a breathalyzer reading that is far higher than your actual level of intoxication.
Your Schuylkill County DUI attorney will file all necessary motions to have improperly-gathered evidence suppressed or thrown out, if applicable, and will begin mounting your defense based on their own evidence.
To resolve your case, you will need to either fight the charges in court or enter a plea agreement. After your attorney reviews all the evidence, they will advise the best course of action for your unique case. It’s important to consider all of your options, as a DUI conviction could have a serious impact on your life.
Contact a Schuylkill County DUI Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with DUI in Schuylkill County, contact Steven E. Kellis today for a free consultation. During your initial consultation, he will review the available facts of the case and explore your legal options with you. Time is not on your side; call today.