Getting stopped for drunk driving is a serious offense and can have varying consequences depending upon different factors. No matter where you live in the U.S. though, it’s a crime to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above 0.08 percent.
Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates has worked with thousands of clients who faced DUI (Driving under the Influence) or DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) charges in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Our experienced team will stand with you, analyze the evidence stacked against you, guide you through the process and ensure you get the best possible outcome available.
What are the Penalties for a DUI Charge in Allentown?
In Pennsylvania, a person can be charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or street drug. For drivers under the age of 21, lower DUI thresholds apply. For instance, a BAC of .02 results in a DUI charge.
A DUI or DUID can result in:
- up to 30 days in jail
- 3-month license suspension
- at least 12 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- a $1000 insurance surcharge for 3 years
- a $250 – $500 fine
- a $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
- a $100 Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee
- a $100 Intoxicated Driving Program fee
- a Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75
- a Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
While jail time and license suspension aren’t usually an issue for first-time offenders in Pennsylvania for those with a BAC less than .10%, offenders can expect a $300 fine, up to 6 months of probation, attending alcohol safety school, and other treatments or penalties may be imposed.
Pennsylvania’s First Offense DUI Program: ARD
Also in Pennsylvania is Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, also known as ARD, which is a program unique to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and designed to spare first-time offenders, who are unlikely to repeat their offense.
Completion of the ARD program results in the dismissal of charges and provides you with a clean criminal history. The District Attorney has final say in who can participate in an ARD program, but generally you must have a clean record and no previous ARD participation within the last 10 years. Further, a minor under the age of 14 cannot have been a passenger nor can a third party have suffered injury or death.
Despite ARD’s benefits, you should consult with one of our experienced Philadelphia DUI defense attorneys before agreeing to any program. In some instances, the facts may dictate that you should fight the charges against you.
Aggressive Defenses to a DUI in Allentown
A DUI charge requires a vigorous and professional defense. Our experienced attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates will fight for the best outcome based on the specific circumstances of your case. While we cannot guarantee success, we are prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.
Depending on the facts of your case, including any previous violations, we could negotiate a plea agreement or, if you are eligible, ARD. We will thoroughly explain all the potential outcomes, offer our professional advice, and conduct your case according to your direction.
Field Sobriety Testing
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has standardized three specific field tests to test the intoxication level of a driver arrested for DUI. They are the one-leg stand test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the walk and turn test. The NHTSA has developed a reliable standard for law enforcement by developing a standardized score for these three tests.
Allentown police often use these three tests to determine if a driver is driving drunk. Any deviation between the instructions given by the police and your performance will be used by the prosecution to establish that you were physically and mentally impaired due to alcohol.
Our experienced attorneys know that these tests are flawed and your capacity to perform could be hindered by illness, fatigue, or nervousness. Our Allentown DUI attorney will use their depth of knowledge and our resources to demonstrate that the tests do not accurately reflect your level of intoxication.
Allentown police will use a blood test to determine if your BAC is above the .08 legal limit. Depending on when and how it was administered, our attorneys might be able to challenge this test. Several errors can occur when giving a blood test. Proper administration requires a glass tube containing a mixture of anticoagulant and perseverative. If there is any deviation in the correct amount of the perseverative or anticoagulant, the result could reflect an erroneously inflated alcohol level.
Additionally, when the test was administered could negatively affect the result. A blood test only indicates the BAC at the time the test was given. Unfortunately, your body can continue to absorb alcohol long after you have stopped drinking, therefore a test that is administered later could show a higher BAC than when you were driving.
One of the most common tests administered to someone arrested for DUI is the breath test. Your body continues to absorb alcohol well after you stopped drinking so the timing of the breath test is vital. If the police delayed administering the test, then it will not accurately reflect your BAC at the time you were driving. Furthermore, if the test was not given within two hours of the stop it cannot be admitted as evidence against you.
Our Allentown DUI attorney will determine if the breath test should be challenged. There are stringent protocols for administering a breath test. Any failure to thoroughly adhere to the stated guidelines can negate the test results. Furthermore, the device used to conduct the test requires careful maintenance and calibration for accurate results. Our discovery request will include all documentation related to the device, including usage logs, calibration specifications, and maintenance records.
Sobriety Roadblocks on Allentown Highways
Allentown police use sobriety checks at roadblocks set along stretches of local highways. Sobriety roadblocks have been held not to violate drivers’ constitutional rights if they adhere to specified procedures and guidelines. If you are stopped and arrested for DUI at a sobriety check, we can challenge whether it complied with Federal and Constitutional prohibitions based on Pennsylvania case law including:
- The method used to stop drivers must not be arbitrary, capricious, or based solely on the appearance of the driver. It has to be systematic. For example, every fifth car.
- Sufficient warning of the roadblock and sobriety checkpoint must be given.
- The roadblock must be positioned based on experience that intoxicated driving is prevalent on that stretch of highway.
- The stops must be brief.
- There can be no physical search of the vehicle.
Our experienced Allentown DUI defense attorneys will review every factor surrounding your stop to ensure that the police fully complied with every procedure and guideline.
Refusing to Take a Blood or Breath Test
Refusing to take a blood or breath test after a stop based on suspicion of driving under the influence could result in the suspension of your driver’s license for years. Pennsylvania law requires you to submit to the tests if you are arrested for DUI. The suspension of motor privileges is a civil matter, not a criminal one, so the burden of proof for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is lower than in criminal cases.
A refusal to take a test could be implied or expressed. Expressed is clearly stating that you will not allow the test to be administered. An implied refusal could constitute several different actions, such as being unable to perform the test due to injury or health reasons. Often, an officer will record an inability to perform the test as a refusal.
The arresting officer has a duty to explain the consequences of refusing to allow a test. If you are not apprised of the legal ramifications of refusal, the refusal could be challenged as you had insufficient knowledge of the consequences. Our Allentown DUI defense attorneys will carefully examine all of the details of the stop to determine if the arresting officer inaccurately recorded your conduct as a refusal.
DUI Defense Attorneys Serving Allentown, PA
A DUI conviction can wreak havoc on your life and leave ramifications like expensive fines, suspension of your license, high insurance premiums, court-ordered classes, community service or potentially jail time. Some consequences can last even longer like, trouble finding work, personal relationship struggles or qualifying for scholarships or other programs.
Don’t go through this alone. Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates offers experienced and committed DUI representation in Allentown, Pennsylvania. We work to reduce or entirely dismiss the charges against you. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, time is of the essence. Call us immediately and do not speak to the police. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We make emergency jail or holding center visits, and free consultations are available. You can reach one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys by filling out the available form or by calling (215) 701-6519.