Pennsylvania has enacted tough DUI laws on a bid to prevent injuries and fatalities related to road accidents. In essence, drives convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania could pay hefty fines or spend a considerable amount of time in jail. Therefore, if you are facing a DUI charge, you should hire a qualified attorney. Here are six reasons why you need a drugged driving PA criminal defense lawyer:
Prove Your Innocence
Like most states across the US, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit in PA is 0.08 percent. However, this limit is subdivided into the following categories:
• General impairment (0.08-0.099% BAC)
• High BAC (0.10-0.159% BAC)
• Highest BAC (0.16% and higher)
With this in mind, an attorney can help you dispute DUI charges if you believe that your BAC level was lower than the limits listed above. For instance, some DUI laws apply only to adults and an “Adult” in Pennsylvania is defined as “An individual who is at least 21 years of age,” which means a minor is an “An individual who is under 21 years of age.” It is also worth noting that it is illegal for minors in PA to drive or operate a vehicle after taking alcohol that would cause a person’s BAC to be 0.02% or higher two hours after taking control of a vehicle. In this case, an experienced lawyer could look at the charges, cross-reference them with the applicable statutes, review the available evidence, and present solid rebuttal in court if you are a minor charged as an adult.
Lawyer to Fight Unfair DUI Expenses
The expenses associated with DUI charges can easily reach thousands of dollars depending on factors such as your driving history and location of arrest. For example, DUI traffic fines alone range from $300 to $10,000. Other costs include legal fees ($1,000 to $8,000), vehicle towing fee ($50), alcohol evaluation ($35 to $100), and license restoration ($100 to $1,000). Luckily, a qualified lawyer who has handled similar cases in the past can dispute unreasonable DUI costs saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Ensure You Can Continue Working
You would need a PA DUI lawyer if you are facing a conviction that could prevent you from driving employer owned vehicles. For example, you may not be able to drive any vehicle in Pennsylvania if slapped with an ignition interlock restriction. Fortunately, a DUI attorney can build your case around Pennsylvania’s “Employment Exemption” clause, thereby ensuring that you can continue working gainfully. Nevertheless, this exemption has legal restrictions and limits that only a qualified lawyer can interpret and argue in a court of law.
Fight Imposition Harsher Penalties
DUI prosecutors in Pennsylvania can call for harsher penalties that may not be reasonable. For instance, motorists who refuse to undergo breath or chemical testing to ascertain their BAC levels are usually subject to the highest BAC category penalties. If you have a good reason for refusing to undergo breath or chemical testing, a competent DUI lawyer can present your side of the story in court and prevent a legal travesty from occurring. Remember, the “Highest BAC” DUI charges come with severe penalties that include one-year ignition interlock, 72 hours to five years in prison, 18-month driving license suspension, and fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. In comparison, “General Impairment” DUI penalties include six months probation or up to two years in prison, $300 to $5,000 fine, and ungraded-2nd degree misdemeanor charges.
Help You Get Treatment
If you are addicted to alcohol and need help, your DUI attorney can build your case around seeking treatment rather than imposition of a custodial sentence. This approach is possible because PA’s DUI laws allow courts to impose drug and alcohol treatment penalties. In fact, section 3814 and section 3815 of Pennsylvania’s Chapter 38 legal treatise cover drug and alcohol assessments as well as mandatory sentencing requirements (in relation to alcohol/drug treatment). This can be a good outcome for you and other road users in several ways. To start with, an ignition interlock violation can land you in deeper trouble because it attracts an automatic 12-month IID extension as well as a longer license suspension period. By seeking addiction treatment, you would be able to avoid these harsh penalties.
Keep Your Driving Record Clean
One of the main disadvantage of a DUI conviction is it leads to automatic retention of your ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) records for up to ten years by the PennDOT. This can negatively affect your ability to access credit from financial institutions such as banks, seek employment, buy a house, or even rent a property. More specifically, banks typically carry out background checks on their clients before advancing loans, whereas employers run background checks on potential employees. Fortunately, a good PA DUI lawyer can help you fight DUI charges and more importantly, help keep your driving record clean.
If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you should contact or consult a competent PA DUI lawyer immediately. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence and prove your innocence, fight entry into the PennDOT’s ARD record database, fight unfair DUI expenses, ensure you can continue working (if you drive employer owned vehicles), and fight imposition of harsher DUI penalties.