Philadelphia Felony DUI Attorney

Driving under the influence (DUI) offenses are typically misdemeanors but can be charged as a felony under certain circumstances. A misdemeanor charge is bad enough and a conviction of the same can send you to jail in Philadelphia, among other penalties in addition to the collateral consequences of a criminal record. But a felony DUI carries much harsher prison sentences that can result in a significant amount of time behind bars.

Here's what you should know about Philadelphia felony DUI charges.

When does a DUI become a felony in Pennsylvania?

A DUI in Pennsylvania becomes a felony under certain  circumstances, which are primarily the following two circumstances:

  1. when the DUI is the suspect's third DUI within ten years and his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.16 or higher; or
  2. when the DUI charge is the suspect's fourth offense – and this is regardless of what his or her BAC was.

There are also DUI-related felonies. These include offenses that occur when the DUI suspect causes an accident and another person is either injured or killed. These offenses are actually enhancements of the underlying DUI and include:

Aggravated Assault while DUI

This offense is a second-degree felony offense and occurs when the DUI suspect negligently causes an accident and another person is seriously injured – serious bodily injury means that the person is at "substantial risk of death" or the injury results in disfigurement or an inability to function properly.

Homicide while DUI

This offense can be either a first- or second-degree felony offense and occurs when the DUI suspect negligently causes an accident and another person dies as a result – the felony degree is determined by whether or not the DUI suspect has any prior DUI convictions or completed diversion due to a DUI.

What are the consequences of a felony DUI conviction in Philadelphia?

The obvious and most immediate consequence of a felony DUI conviction in Philadelphia is the sentence that will be issued. Penalties for felony DUI enhanced convictions are severe and may include mandatory minimum incarceration, fines, license suspension, ignition interlock requirement, and/or participation in a victim impact panel.

Apart from the sentence, you will face what's known as collateral consequences. These kinds of consequences can impact your life well after you have paid your debt via completion of the sentence against you. Examples of this kind of consequence include:

  • Loss of employment and difficulty finding employment
  • Difficulty obtaining loans, e.g., personal, mortgage, school 
  • Problems with child custody
  • Loss of or inability to obtain professional licenses
  • Loss of or inability to obtain a security clearance
  • Problems traveling outside the country (e.g., to Canada).

What happens after a felony DUI arrest in Philadelphia?

After you are arrested for a felony DUI charge, you are taken into custody and booked. You will likely be held in a holding cell for a minimum of 12 hours but up to 48 hours before you are granted a preliminary hearing. 

You are then released either on bail or on your own recognizance. When a felony DUI is involved, a formal arraignment is held later in the process – after a preliminary hearing is held and the judge finds that probable cause exists that you committed the charges against you.

All DUI proceedings take place in Philadelphia at the Criminal Justice Center, also known as the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center, located at 1301 Filbert Street. 

Who do I contact if I have been charged with a felony DUI in Philadelphia, PA?

If you have been charged with a felony DUI in Philadelphia, your rights and freedom are at risk. You need an aggressive, smart DUI attorney who knows the court system in Philadelphia, who can navigate it with ease while defending your rights, and who can either negotiate a plea deal in your favor or develop a viable defense that can cause your charges to be reduced or dismissed.

The DUI lawyer you are looking for in Philadelphia is Joseph D. Lento. He has comprehensively and successfully represented numerous clients and will be committed to your representation, too. Contact Joseph D. Lento today online or by phone at (215) 535-5353 at the earliest available opportunity.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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