I Just Got Charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). What Should I Do?
You see the officer pull out onto the road as you pass by him and hope that he is not stopping you. Unfortunately, you see his red and blue overhead lights go on behind you and you pull over. “License and registration, please. Do you know why I pulled you over?” Your hope is that it is merely for speeding, but you fear the worst. “I’m going to need you to step out of the vehicle. Did you have anything to drink tonight?”
After field sobriety tests and being subject to a portable breath test, the officer requests you to submit to a blood draw. Should you submit or should you refuse? He has advised that you will lose your driving privileges for a year if you refuse the test, so you agree. The results of the blood test reveal a .14 blood alcohol content and you are ultimately charged with driving under the influence (DUI). What should you do?
The answer to that question is more complex than you might think. It depends on whether you have any prior criminal history, any prior DUIs, whether you have a valid driver’s license and insurance and the facts of your case. Even first offense DUIs can result in mandatory minimum prison sentences, if your blood alcohol content level is greater than or equal to a .10 percent. Pennsylvania has three different categories for DUI cases: 1) lowest tier – .08 to .099, 2) middle tier – .10 – .159 and 3) highest tier of .16 and higher. If you have no prior record, you had a valid license and insurance and the case did not involve an accident with another occupied vehicle you may qualify for a first time offender program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). More information about the ARD program can be found by clicking on the following link – ARD. If you have a prior conviction for DUI within the past ten (10) years of the date of your new offense, you will be facing a second or subsequent DUI with enhanced periods of incarceration, fines and license suspensions.
Whether it is your first or subsequent DUI, it is crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your case. An attorney will be able to advise you whether any constitutional challenges or defenses exist and will also be able to determine whether you qualify for any diversionary programs, such as ARD. Scott MacNair, Esq. , and Daniel Keane, Esq. represent clients charged with Driving Under the Influence in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. With over 37 years of combined experience, we posses the knowledge and defense strategies necessary to provide effective representation. A DUI can impact your job, your driving privileges, your finances and your freedom. So, please contact us to schedule a free consultation concerning your case.