DUI Attorney - Easton, PA - Lehigh Valley
If it’s your first time being arrested for a DUI you have a lot of questions. Will you be going to jail? Will your license be suspended or revoked? Will you 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), if 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 - a first-time DUI charge can range from probation to house arrest, or jail time served for as little as two days or as much as a year and sometimes more. Long-term impacts can include a criminal record that will appear on a background check that can negatively affect your ability to gain employment.
Everytime a driver incurs a DUI conviction on their record Pennsylvania 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 misdemeanor. These penalties 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.
It is absolutely imperative that you fight your first DUI and keep your record clean. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney immediately will make all the difference. Timothy J. Prendergast - an Easton, PA native - brings nearly two decades of practice/experience to the table and a lifetime of education. He can begin working on your case right now.
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 BAC and prior criminal record.
A driver’s BAC is divided into three categories:
- 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 and up to six months of probation (these factors can also be affected by other circumstances - were you involved in an accident? Was anybody hurt? etc.)
- 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, a one-year license suspension, and up to $5,000 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.
- Highest Impairment .16 and above: If you fall into the highest impairment category you may incur a felony charge on your record for a second offense (instead of a third). The other consequences are similar to the high impairment category - risk of having to spend up to six months in prison, a one-year license suspension, and up to $5,000 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.
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program
If you’re a first-time offender, with no prior criminal convictions, who falls into the high or highest impairment category, 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.