Philadelphia DUI Lawyer
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Generally speaking, the criminal justice system of Philadelphia definitely does everything in its own way, and this applies to Philadelphia DUI cases as well. You will probably be charged with a Philadelphia DUI based on your BAC—any level of BAC at 0.08 percent or above will result in a DUI arrest. If you refuse the BAC test, your driver’s license will immediately be suspended. In some instances, even when your BAC is less than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, you could still be charged with a DUI, if the officer feels your driving is impaired due to drugs, alcohol or a combination.
If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, we can help. Our team of attorneys has the experience, passion, and consideration to protect your future and your freedom during this difficult legal process. Contact us today at (717) 291-9400 or (877) 529-2422. Our Lancaster Office is located at 313 West Liberty Place, Lancaster PA 17603.
Be Ready to Go to Trial Following Your Philadelphia DUI
The first thing you need to know about the Philadelphia DUI process is that you have no right to a preliminary hearing—as you do in many of the surrounding counties. Philadelphia courts expect you to be ready to proceed at the first trial listing. This means that once charged with a DUI in Philadelphia, you essentially go straight to trial, other than your first hearing date when police and lab reports are given from the prosecuting attorney to you and your attorney.
Your Attorney May Be Able to Have Your DUI Charges Dismissed
Depending on what type of testing was done in your case (blood or breath) and where the arrest occurred, you will be assigned to a specific court room—first DUI court appearances are usually in room 404. Expect that the government may not have all its “ducks in a row,” so to speak, at the first trial listing, therefore may request a continuance.
If your attorney feels he or she did not receive all discovery necessary to build a strong case on your behalf, then he or she may file a motion to have all discovery turned over prior to the next court date. If all evidence is not properly turned over to your attorney, you may have your DUI charges dismissed.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI stop and subsequent arrest, your DUI attorney may potentially file a motion to challenge some aspect of your stop, field sobriety tests, breathalyzer test or something else about your arrest.
Because Philadelphia police officers often fail to administer field sobriety tests prior to a DUI arrest, they may actually have little reason to suspect a driver was impaired. If your attorney files a motion challenging your DUI stop or your arrest and the judge grants the motion, it is possible your DUI charge could be dismissed.
Field Sobriety Tests are Not Standard in a Philadelphia DUI Arrest, But Breath Tests Are
While field sobriety tests are not a standard part of a DUI arrest in Philadelphia, breath tests are. Philadelphia police officers use the Intoxilyzer 8000, and because the accuracy of the 8000 can be affected by specific physical conditions, the accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 8000 may be challenged. The officers who are responsible for ensuring the Intoxilyzer 8000 is working correctly may not have calibrated the machine as required. Perhaps you refused a breath test or requested a blood test. A private laboratory is used in Philadelphia to test blood for the purposes of DUI arrests. In some instances, the lab may have made errors when testing the blood, and your attorney may be able to challenge the results.
DUI Treatment Court in Philadelphia May or May Not Be a Good Choice for You
If the penalty for your DUI is a minimum of 90 days up to one year in jail, you may have an alternative. Philadelphia is one of the few counties in Pennsylvania which has a DUI treatment court which provides alternatives to spending the minimum amount of time in jail. The program does have fairly intensive requirements, therefore for many, is not particularly a good alternative to “normal” DUI penalties.
Why You Should Not Plead Guilty to Your Philadelphia DUI Charges
Many people charged with a Philadelphia DUI are embarrassed and simply want to have the charges over and done with as quickly as possible. Because of this, they may feel pleading guilty to DUI charges is the quickest way to move on with their life. If you are leaning this way, it is imperative that you discuss this with an experienced DUI attorney so you can fully understand the consequences of pleading guilty to your DUI charges. If you plead guilty, your driving privileges will immediately be suspended, you will face significant fines and fees, and you could even be sentenced to time in jail. Even at the very lowest level of DUI offense, you will face a mandatory insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for a period of three years, a DUI enforcement surcharge of $100, and six months to a year of having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle—even after your driving privileges are restored.
Philadelphia DUI Penalties
Like other aspects of its DUI process, Philadelphia also has a unique tier system as far as DUI penalties go. The tiers are based on BAC, as well as multiple DUI convictions. The lowest penalty category for a Philadelphia DUI is a BAC from 0.08 percent to .99 percent. The higher penalty category for a Philadelphia DUI is a BAC from .10 percent to .159 percent, and the highest penalty category for a Philadelphia DUI is .16 percent or higher. Therefore, if you are a first-time DUI offender in Philadelphia with the lowest penalty BAC, you can expect to receive up to six months of probation, a $300 fine, enrollment in an alcohol highway safety school and possibly, court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment.
If you have the lowest penalty BAC but this is your second DUI offense, you could face a one-year driver’s license suspension, enrollment in an alcohol highway safety school, from $300 to $2,500 in DUI fines and fees, five days to six months in jail, installation of an ignition interlock device for one year, and possibly, court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment. If you have the lowest penalty BAC but are being charged with a third DUI offense, you could face from ten days to two years in prison, fines from $500 to $5,000, a one-year driver’s license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device for a year, enrollment in alcohol highway safety school, and possibly, court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment.
With a higher penalty BAC, your first-offense DUI could result in a one-year driver’s license suspension, from $500-$5,000 in fines and fees, two days to six months in prison, enrollment in alcohol highway safety school, and possibly, court-ordered alcohol or drug treatment. A higher penalty BAC along with a second-offense DUI can result in fines from $750-$5,000, thirty days to six months in prison, a driver’s license suspension for one year, enrollment in alcohol highway safety school, installation of an ignition interlock device for a year, and possibly, court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment. A higher penalty BAC along with a third offense DUI could result in fines from $1,500-$10,000, ninety days to five years in prison, a driver’s license suspension for 18 months, installation of an ignition interlock device for one year, and possibly, court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment.
With the highest penalty BAC, your first-offense DUI could result in a driver’s license suspension of one year, from three days to six months in prison, fines from $1,000 to $5,000, enrollment in alcohol highway safety school, and possibly, court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment. The highest penalty BAC along with a second-offense DUI could result in a driver’s license suspension of 18 months, from ninety days to five years in prison, fines from $1,500 to $10,000, installation of an ignition interlock device for one year, enrollment in an alcohol highway safety school, and possibly, court-ordered treatment program. Finally, with the highest penalty BAC, a third-offense DUI could result in a driver’s license suspension for 18 months, from one to five years in prison, fines from $2,500 to $10,000, installation of an ignition interlock device for one year, and possibly, court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment.
Our Philadelphia DUI Lawyers Are There When You Need Us
If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI in Philadelphia, it is important to fight these charges aggressively. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Pennsylvania DUI attorneys are here to help you following your DUI charges. Our office is located at 1515 Market Street, Suite 1200 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to better serve you.