A driving under the influence (DUI) charge comes with a negative social stigma that is often disproportionate to the crime. When faced with this charge, many people simply want to plead guilty and be done with it.
However, that can be a serious mistake that could haunt you for years to come.
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, every facet of every case is thoroughly examined before any recommendation is made. Mr. Kellis is a former prosecutor who is now an esteemed and respected advocate for the accused. As a veteran jury trial lawyer with 25 years of courtroom experience, he relishes the chance to battle for his clients’ rights.
Call today to have Mr. Kellis personally review your charges during your free, no-obligation initial consultation.
Levels of DUI in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania divides DUI into three tiers based upon BAC. These tiers are officially referred to as:
- General impairment, charged when a driver’s BAC is between .08 and .10
- High rate, charged when the driver’s BAC was between .10 and .159
- Highest rate, charged when the BAC is over .160
If a driver refuses to take a chemical test the DUI is charged as general impairment, but carries the same penalties as a highest rate DUI. All drug DUIs are charged at the highest rate.
Potential Penalties that a York County DUI Lawyer Can Have Reduced or Dismissed
DUI is a criminal offense that could result in harsh penalties. By working with a drunk driving defense attorney, you can fight back against the prosecutor and attempt to limit punishment, which could include:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Driving restrictions
- Jail time
- Criminal record
- Community service
Methods for Challenging DUI Charges
It’s important to understand that a DUI charge does not always equal a conviction. The prosecution bears the burden of proving the allegations against you beyond a reasonable doubt, and there are many sophisticated methods that your York County DUI lawyer can take in defending a DUI case.
Among them are:
- Challenging the traffic stop: There must be articulable reasons to have pulled you over.
- Challenging the selection of field sobriety test (FST): Only certain approved tests may be given.
- Challenging the administration of the FST: The FST must be given in the prescribed manner.
- Challenging the breath test: Breathalyzer results are notoriously unreliable. A proficient DUI lawyer is frequently able to cast doubt on the test or even have the results excluded.
- Causation of an accident: If there is an accident involved in your case, and you are charged with causing an injury, it is not enough that the prosecution shows you were intoxicated. They must prove that you were the cause of the accident.
- Moving to strike a prior: If you have a prior conviction, and even if there is nothing that can be done in your current case, there is the possibility of striking the prior and having this case charged as your first.
The penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania vary greatly depending on the level of blood alcohol. The punishment can range from no loss of license and no jail time to lengthy sentences behind bars, loss of driving privileges, and hefty fines. With so much at stake, you need an accomplished York County DUI lawyer to represent you.
York County Extreme DUI
Pennsylvania updated its DUI laws about 10 years ago, lowering the BAC (blood alcohol content) threshold to .08. These changes were made in response to a federal law that tied federal highway money to the states lowering their DUI thresholds to .08.
Generally, the penalties for first offenders were lowered, while the penalties for repeat offenders were increased. The revised Pennsylvania DUI laws also provide for increased penalties for defendants with higher BACs than those with lower BACs.
Whether or not you were aware of this change, you need a knowledgeable York County DUI lawyer to defend you and work toward having your charges dropped or reduced.
York County Underage DUI Lawyer
Many young people believe that if they drive well, even after consuming alcohol, they don’t have to worry about getting a DUI. The truth is that your driving skills often have nothing to do with whether or not you are targeted for a DUI stop.
This is because York County police officers have many different ways of deciding when and where to pull you over if they suspect you may be guilty of an underage DUI.
Even if you’re driving well, you could be pulled over and forced to undergo a DUI evaluation. You could be stopped at a drunk driving checkpoint, pulled over for traffic violations unrelated to your driving, or be pulled over for minor traffic offenses that police might (under normal circumstances) ignore.
These police tactics are just a few of the tactics that any experienced York County underage DUI lawyer is familiar with addressing and defending.
York County DUI Accidents
DUI penalties can vary greatly, mainly due to sentencing enhancements. Sentencing enhancements occur when the prosecutor increases the potential punishment in your DUI case, resulting in increased fines, longer jail time, and prolonged license suspensions.
Some of the sentencing enhancements common in DUI cases involving accidents include:
- Aggravated assault while under the influence, an extremely serious charge that is considered a second-degree felony under the DUI laws in Pennsylvania. Aggravated assault while under the influence can carry severe punishments including a maximum of 10 years in jail and up to $25,000 in fines.
- Involuntary manslaughter is a first-degree misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law, with a potential punishment of up to five years in prison. If the defendant committed involuntary manslaughter as the parent, caregiver, or custodian of a child under the age of 12, Pennsylvania law increases the criminal charge to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
- Vehicular homicide, a third-degree in Pennsylvania, may result in a mandatory prison sentence of a minimum of three years and up to ten years, with three additional years added for each additional death.
According to the DUI laws in Pennsylvania, the district attorney is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim’s injury was a direct cause of your alleged drunk driving and DUI charges.
If they do, you will likely face severe penalties that could change your life forever.
Defending DUI Charges in York County, PA
The most effective point of action you can take in ensuring that your rights are protected is to retain an attorney that specializes in DUI cases. Many law firms practice a wide range of law, including civil cases, and often appoint their most junior associates to handle DUI cases to get them experience in the courtroom.
Do not settle for the services of anything but a proven entity in the DUI field. York County DUI lawyer Steven Kellis will personally review the charges against you for defects and areas of possible challenges.
Call Pennsylvania DUI attorney Steven E. Kellis at (215) 977-4183 for your free initial consultation.