It is a stubborn and widespread misconception that because they are common, DUI charges are “not a big deal.” In reality, that is a myth which could not be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that, as a part of Pennsylvania, Delaware County takes a hard stance on intoxicated driving charges. If you are convicted, you will be subject to extremely costly and inconvenient penalties. The charges you are facing have the potential to leave a lasting imprint on your professional and personal life alike.
If you’ve been charged with drugged or drunk driving, it is absolutely critical that you take immediate action. An experienced defense attorney can advocate on your behalf and protect your legal rights, and may be able to have the charges against you lessened or dismissed altogether. To schedule your free and private case evaluation with a Delaware County DUI lawyer, call the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates today at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania. Let’s start reviewing your options together.
Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates: Delaware County DUI Attorneys
During this difficult time, you deserve the support of a dedicated and knowledgeable legal team. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our committed attorneys are equipped with more than 30 years of experience representing thousands of clients facing charges like yours. We have handled more than 5,000 DUI cases alone, and over 98% of our first offense DUI clients do not receive jail time or a criminal record. When you need a law firm with decades of practical experience and a track record of outstanding results, you can call on Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates.
When Can DUI Be Charged?
While the phrase “driving under the influence” is generally associated with alcohol, both alcohol and drugs can trigger DUI charges.
Where alcohol is involved, your BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) is the major variable. If your BAC is 0.08% or higher as detected by a breathalyzer or other means of chemical testing, you can be charged with drunk driving. For some motorists, that threshold is even lower: 0.04% for CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) drivers, and just 0.02% for school bus drivers and people under the age of 21.
Where narcotics are involved, BAC obviously cannot be used. However, drugs may be detected through other means of chemical testing (e.g. blood, urine). Strange driving patterns (e.g. weaving, drifting, speed shifts) can also be a red flag for law enforcement, while any visible paraphernalia is another strong indicator of drugged driving. The Pennsylvania State Police also use DREs, or Drug Recongition Experts, to help identify and assess possible drug intoxication.
Qualifying for Pennsylvania’s ARD Program
For certain DUI offenders, there’s good news in the form of Pennsylvania’s ARD program. ARD stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition” — but what does that mean for you?
In simple terms, ARD is there to help give people with clean records a second chance. If you qualify for enrollment in the ARD program, you will not have to plead guilty, you will not be convicted, and your charges will be dismissed. However, not everyone will be eligible for participation.
In order to be placed into ARD, two conditions must be met:
- You must have a clean record dating back 10 years. Ungraded misdemeanors are an exception to this general rule.
- The DUI must not have resulted in any deaths or injuries.
You will not qualify for ARD if you do not meet the above criteria. You will also be unable to qualify if your incident involved a passenger who was younger than 14 years of age.
Ultimately, acceptance into ARD lies with the District Attorney. Your arresting officer will also contribute feedback, so the way you interact with police is extremely important.
Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania classifies drunk driving offenses based on a few different factors, such as tier (or BAC) and number of offenses.
- Tier 1: BAC of 0.08%-0.099%
- Tier 2: BAC of 0.10%-0.159%
- Tier 3: BAC of 0.16% or greater.
The higher your tier or BAC is, the tougher the consequences become. For example, a tier one first offense does not necessarily have to include jail time, but a tier three first offense can result in several days in jail.
Number of Offenses
Just as increased BAC leads to increased penalties, the same rule applies to the number of separate incidents. For example, if a DUI is a first offense, the driver can be charged with a $300 fine; but if it is a third offense, that fine skyrockets to $5,000.
In addition to fines and jail time, there are several miscellaneous driving-related penalties which are specific to DUI. For example, depending on the details of your offense (tier, prior record, etc.) you may be required to:
- Perform community service.
- Have an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) breathalyzer installed in your car.
- Receive substance abuse counseling.
- Take road safety classes.
Furthermore, your license can be suspended. While a first offense with a tier one BAC will not necessarily trigger a suspension, a third offense can result in the loss of your driving privileges for an entire year. In some circumstances, suspension can last as long as 18 months.
If you’ve been arrested for intoxicated driving, the attorneys of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates may be able to help. To schedule a free and private legal consultation, call right away at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.