Philadelphia takes driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol seriously. When you are pulled over for a traffic stop and are subsequently arrested for a DUI, you can expect serious consequences if convicted, and these consequences include both the court-ordered sentence as well as collateral consequences, which include things like difficulty attaining loans, federal aid, housing, employment, among other things -- depending on the nature of your conviction.
That said, if this is your first DUI offense, with the help of an experienced Philadelphia DUI defense attorney, you may be able to prevent a conviction or reduce the consequences of a conviction.
What is the offense of DUI in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania's DUI law is governed by Title 75, Chapter 38 Driving after Imbibing Alcohol or Utilizing Drugs, § 3802. Typically, you are illegally intoxicated while behind the wheel in Philadelphia (as elsewhere in Pennsylvania) when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher unless you are:
- under the age of 21, in which case the illegal intoxication BAC level is .02%; or
- a commercial driver, in which case the illegal intoxication BAC level is .04%.
Can an Experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney defend me against the first-offense DUI?
Oftentimes an experienced DUI lawyer can help you get your charges reduced or dismissed. The DUI attorney can do this by putting forth a well-structured and strategic DUI defense plan, utilizing tools like motions to suppress to prevent evidence in certain situations from being admitted into evidence and being used against you. Motions to suppress are often used when the traffic stop or search and seizure were unlawful, and if so, then the evidence flowing from that unlawful stop and/or search can be excluded from evidence.
Your attorney will also offer witnesses and expert testimony to contradict the prosecutor's arguments against you. Many times the blood test or breath test equipment may not have been properly maintained. Other times, the police and medical professionals may have failed to administer the tests properly or may have failed to handle the blood specimen safely and thereby diminishing the integrity of it. In these situations, your attorney may be able to argue that the evidence may have been compromised. If so, then the charges may be reduced or dropped.
It may be beneficial to remind you, too, that Pennsylvania must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, anything less should result in an acquittal at trial. At Lento Law Firm, we understand just how a first-offense DUI conviction can negatively impact your life and so we make it our priority to challenge the prosecutor when appropriate to ensure the outcome of your case is in your favor.
What happens if convicted of a first-offense DUI in Philadelphia?
Each DUI case is different and that means what happens in one person's first-offense case may not happen in yours. In your case, maybe everything was working properly, both the equipment and the officers, and as such, the prosecutor's case against you may be solid. What happens if you are indeed convicted of a first-offense DUI in Philadelphia really depends on whether you retained a lawyer who was able to secure your participation in a diversion program, like ARD, which can help you avoid a criminal record.
If you were not offered ARD, then you can anticipate the following penalties for a first-offense DUI in Philadelphia:
- Up to six months of probation
- $300 fine
- Alcohol highway safety school
- Drug or alcohol treatment (if ordered).
Contact an Experienced First-Offense DUI Attorney in Philadelphia Today
A first-offense DUI charge can be scary for anyone in the Philadelphia area. Our DUI defense legal team is experienced and committed. Contact Joseph D. Lento today either online or at 215-535-5353.