Driving under the influence (DUI) arrests and convictions can have long-lasting negative impacts on your life. The penalties are harsh, including substantial fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspensions. If you have multiple violations on your record, the penalties increase in severity.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, you need to immediately contact our experienced Cheltenham DUI defense lawyer for help understanding your options and preparing your defense. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 372-8667 immediately to arrange for a free, confidential legal consultation on your DUI case.
Penalties for DUI Charges in Cheltenham
A BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or higher will result in DUI charges in Cheltenham. The exact penalties you will face depend on your BAC level and how many previous DUI convictions you have. Additionally, if you caused any damage or injuries, the consequences will be more severe. Some of the penalties imposed include the following:
- Fines from $500 to $10,000
- Up to six months of probation
- From 48 hours to six months of mandatory jail time
- Participation in mandatory drug or alcohol treatment
- Installation of an ignition interlock on your car
Additionally, if in the unfortunate event that you killed someone, you will often be charged with vehicular homicide. The consequences for this include substantial fines and a minimum of five years in prison if you had a previous DUI violation.
Defenses to Drunk Driving Charges in Cheltenham, PA
We strongly advise that you take a DUI arrest seriously. Being arrested for DUI does not always mean you will be convicted, and there may be ways to have your charges dropped or reduced. Our Cheltenham DUI defense lawyers will try to mitigate the charges or recommend you for ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition). We can also thoroughly examine your arrest to challenge the evidence and procedures at trial.
Field Sobriety Tests
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed three “standardized field sobriety tests” to help law enforcement establish whether a driver is mentally or physically impaired. The tests include the “horizontal gaze nystagmus test,” the “one-leg stand test,” and the “walk and turn test.”
Cheltenham police officers will administer these tests on drivers they pull over on suspicion of driving under the influence. If you are unable to clearly follow the directions given or adequately perform the tasks assigned, that will be used as evidence of physical or mental impairment.
At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, we know that field tests are flawed. Your inability to successfully perform the required actions does not necessarily indicate you were intoxicated. Other possible reasons you performed badly could include possible sickness, tiredness, or anxiety. We will also ensure that the officers properly administered the test, or else the results would not be reliable.
Cheltenham law enforcement will usually use blood or chemical tests to determine a driver’s BAC. To properly administer a blood test, a police officer must make sure precise guidelines are followed. For example, timing is critical in obtaining an accurate result. Your body continues to absorb alcohol after you finished drinking. This means that the later the test is given, the higher the BAC might register. Additionally, contamination of the equipment used to administer the test could negate the results. Our Cheltenham, PA DUI defense attorneys understand the ways to challenge the results of blood or chemical tests.
While the actual results of field breathalyzer tests are not admissible in court, they can be used to show “probable cause” to get police the chance to administer more accurate chemical breath test at the police station. Similar to blood tests, the result of a breath test will reflect your BAC at the time the test is given, not your BAC at the time you were driving. Our experienced Cheltenham attorneys will fight to have any evidence obtained through a breath test thrown out if it does not comply with normal procedures or collection techniques.
Another way to challenge the results of a breathalyzer is to challenge the device’s accuracy. These are sophisticate, complex tools that need regular maintenance to achieve accurate results. Furthermore, if the device must be calibrated according to the manufacturer’s exact specifications. To prepare your defense, we will demand the breathalyzer’s service and calibration logs to determine if the results were reliable or admissible.
Sobriety Roadblocks and Checkpoints
Law enforcement will often use sobriety checkpoints to stop drivers to check for DUI offenses. While this tactic seems to violate the Fourth Amendment’s requirements for warrants and probable cause, Pennsylvania courts have held that the sobriety checkpoints are legal if they adhere to specific requirements. Our experienced Cheltenham attorneys will scrutinize all aspects of the stop to ensure that there was no violation of the requirements. For a sobriety checkpoint to be legal, it must follow certain rules:
- The stop must be brief.
- The Cheltenham police are not allowed to search the vehicle or the passengers without independent probable cause.
- Drivers must be given notice of the roadblock, such as in media reports or signs.
- The location of the roadblock must be on a stretch of road that has a history of drunk driving arrests and accidents.
- Cheltenham law enforcement must not randomly stop vehicles; they must use set protocols for which cars to pull over.
Call Our Cheltenham DUI Lawyers for a Free Consultation
The consequences of a DUI conviction can last well after any fines have been paid or jail time has been served. DUI convictions can restrict your transportation options because of license suspensions, and they can limit your ability to get to work. Additionally, a record of a DUI conviction can bar drivers from finding employment where driving is a requirement. If you or a loved one is facing allegations of DUI, contact our Cheltenham DUI defense lawyer immediately. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 372-8667to arrange for a free, confidential consultation with our Cheltenham DUI defense attorneys.