If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, it's important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case. Even if you don't have a case that will be successful at trial, knowledgeable legal counsel can help negotiate the best possible outcome. Bucks County DUI defense lawyer John M. Kenney has defended and resolved DUI/DWI cases in communities including Bristol, Morrisville, Fairless Hills, Yardley, and Langhorne for more than 30 years.
Pennsylvania, like most states, has a legal limit of .08 percent blood alcohol content (“BAC”) for adult drivers. Pennsylvania's DUI laws have tiered penalties based on blood alcohol content, with higher penalties assessed for defendants with higher BACs. The tiers are: "general impairment," "high rate," and "highest rate."
Prosecutors charge a general impairment DUI if your blood alcohol content is between .08 and .099 percent. They charge high rate impairment if you have a BAC between .10 – and .159 percent. If your BAC is over .160 percent, they charge a highest rate DUI. Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test may be charged with a general impairment, but the highest penalties may be imposed. First time offenders are usually given education and treatment.Procedure During DUI Cases
Every DUI case starts with an arrest. Next there is a preliminary hearing where your attorney reviews the evidence against you as well as the circumstances of your arrest. There are often good reasons to negotiate your case or press the prosecution for a dismissal of the DUI charges. One of the most important concerns is whether the police had a legal reason to pull you over as a drunk driver.
In order to pull you over for an investigatory DUI stop, the police must have a "reasonable suspicion" you are drunk driving. Alternatively, the police must have probable cause to pull you over for traffic violations like speeding, dangerously weaving through traffic or running a red light. Once the police pull you over, they may continue to detain you if you have obvious signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, watery or red eyes, or an odor of alcohol.
Often, these signs are not so pronounced that an officer knows for sure you were drunk driving. An officer is trained to use field sobriety tests to determine if you are intoxicated. He may also request that you take a breathalyzer. If you refuse to take the test, the police may not have enough evidence to prove you were actually under the influence. Your attorney will also investigate whether the breathalyzer test results were accurate; there are a number of technical measures that must be taken to ensure accuracy. A machine that has not been properly calibrated or has malfunctioned before, for example, may be subject to doubts about its accuracy.
An experienced attorney will consider whether you are eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD). This is an alternate program for people who have no prior criminal or DUI convictions. Those who are allowed to participate will not have a DUI charge on their public criminal record and will not lose their driver's licenses as a result of the DUI.Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer
If you have been accused or charged with a DUI, you probably have a lot of questions and you need clear, honest answers. Mr. Kenney is a straight shooter who can help you understand the charges, negotiate to reduce the charges, or get a plea deal, and take your case to trial if that becomes necessary. For a free initial consultation, contact experienced Levittown DUI defense attorney John M. Kenney at (215) 547-3031 or by completing our online form.