DUI Lawyer - Easton, PA - Lehigh Valley
If it’s your first time being arrested for a DUI, you probably have a lot of questions. Will I be going to jail? Will my license be suspended or revoked? Will I have a criminal record? Is this considered a felony?
DUI charges can have serious consequences and a damaging impact on your life. Depending on your blood alcohol content (BAC), whether you are involved in an accident, if you are under the influence of other substances at the time of your arrest, or if you have a criminal record – even a first-time DUI charge can land you in jail for a lengthy period. Long-term consequences include loss of your driver’s license, and a criminal record that will appear on a background check, which can lead to trouble finding employment.
Every time a driver is convicted of a DUI offense in Pennsylvania, the law punishes them more harshly. If this is your third DUI, it is automatically considered a felony. A felony will impose more severe penalties than an infraction or a misdemeanor. Penalties for a felony DUI can include up to five years imprisonment, up to $10,000 in fines, a one-year license suspension and mandatory participation in a drug/alcohol education course. Other possibilities include community service requirements, continued court supervision, and the installation of an interlock ignition device (IID) in your vehicle.
Even if it is your first DUI, it is imperative that you fight your charge and keep your record clean. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney immediately will make all the difference. Timothy J. Prendergast brings nearly two decades of practice/experience to the table, and he can begin working on your case right now. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us today.
A great dui attorney who can advocate for your rights and provide the representation you need will be key to achieving the best results for your situation. Timothy J. Prendergast’s experience, familiarity with the criminal justice system, and expertise with DUI cases, makes him the ideal lawyer for your case.
FIRST-TIME DUI PENALTIES
Pennsylvania law determines the penalties for DUI charges based on the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, and their prior criminal record.
A driver’s BAC is divided into three tiers:
- General Impairment .08 to .099: If you fall into the general impairment category and it’s your first offense you won't necessarily face a prison sentence. You will however be at risk of a $300 fine, up to six months of probation, and mandatory DUI school. These penalties can also be affected by other circumstances - Were you involved in an accident when you received your DUI charge? Was anybody hurt? Did you refuse a breathalyzer? Did you have other substances in your blood? The answers to these questions will have an impact on your sentence. As the number of DUIs you receive increases, the penalties for these charges become exponentially more severe, even at this lowest tier, if it is your second or third offense, jail time is almost guaranteed.
- High Impairment .10 to .159: If you fall into the high impairment category you are at risk of having to spend up to six months in prison, incur a one-year license suspension, and be charged with up to $5,000 in fines for your FIRST offense. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to prevent you from drunk driving for at least one year. If you are being charged with your second (or more) DUI in this tier, you can receive up to five years in prison.
- Highest Impairment .16 and above: If you fall into the highest impairment category and are convicted of a DUI you will be losing your license for at least one year, you can be given jail time for even your first offense and depending on the number of DUIs you have been convicted of in this tier, be facing up to $10,000 in fines. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to prevent you from drunk driving for at least one year.
Other Negative Consequences of a DUI include:
- You may have to pay a higher car insurance rate.
- You may have to attend alcohol highway safety school or enroll in a treatment program.
- You may have a criminal record.
- You may be given a harsher sentence if you caused an injury or death by driving drunk - which also puts you at risk of being sued for damages in a civil court.
- You may be ordered to attend drug or alcohol treatment.
- You may be ordered to pay for drug and alcohol testing.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program
If you’re a first-time offender, with no prior criminal convictions, then you may qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program is aimed at offenders who are deemed to be receptive to treatment and rehabilitation. The program focuses on dismissing charges and expensive court proceedings in exchange for rehabilitation and prevention of future charges. Participants in the program will be under court supervision for six months, have their license suspended for up to three months, pay fines up to $5000, receive drug and alcohol treatment (based on a mandatory drug and alcohol evaluation), and participate in alcohol highway safety school. Other requirements include probation and community service. Successful participants can petition the court to expunge their record.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Drivers in Pennsylvania can also be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs. This can include street drugs like heroin and marijuana, as well prescription medication. Police can test for the presence of these drugs via urine and/or blood screens. If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence of drugs, it is very important you retain an experienced attorney to defend you, as you will be facing the loss of your driver’s license, expensive fines, a criminal record, and even jail time.
Retaining an experienced DUI attorney to advocate for your rights and provide the representation you need will be key to achieving the best results for your situation. Timothy J. Prendergast’s experience, familiarity with the criminal justice system, and expertise with DUI cases, makes him the ideal lawyer for your case. If you are facing a DUI charge, call us today.