The Lehigh Valley does not have many options for public transportation, and people typically get around by driving. After drinking, though, this is incredibly dangerous and can lead to drunk driving charges. If you or a loved one is facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to talk to an experienced Easton DUI defense lawyer about your case.
The DUI defense attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates represent those who have been charged with drunk or drugged driving in Easton and the surrounding areas. Our attorneys can fight the case against you by challenging traffic stops and arrests, questioning blood test results, and fighting to get your charges dropped or dismissed. To schedule a free consultation with our Easton DUI lawyers, contact our law offices today at (215) 372-8667.
Types of DUI in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania DUI statute can be found in 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802. This statute has various subsections, 7 of which form the primary DUI offenses in PA. These 7 subsections cover different types of DUIs based on different blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels or different substances in your bloodstream:
- “General” Alcohol DUI: This subsection makes it illegal to drive if you have enough alcohol in your system to make you “incapable of safely driving.” There is no BAC threshold for this subsection, and it is usually charged in cases with borderline BACs or BAC test refusals.
- “Low-Tier” DUI: This subsection covers driving with a BAC of .08% or higher but under .10%.
- “Mid-Tier” DUI: This subsection covers driving with a BAC over .10% but under .16%.
- “High-Tier” DUI: This subsection covers driving with a BAC of .16% or higher.
- Drug DUI: This subsection makes it illegal to drive with various drugs in your system. A blood test is required to prove this offense. Sometimes, this cannot be charged if you have a prescription for the drugs.
- “General” Drug DUI: This section makes it illegal to drive with enough drugs in your system to “[impair] the individual’s ability to safely drive.” There is no blood test required, but there are also no restrictions on what drugs this applies to.
- Combination of Drugs and Alcohol: This subsection makes it illegal to drive with a combination of drugs and alcohol in your system to any “degree which impairs the individual’s ability to safely drive.”
Note that some of these DUIs require blood tests and some do not. Police and prosecutors rely on bloodwork and chemical breath tests to prove certain levels of drugs or alcohol in your system. This means the blood must be drawn and tested properly. If police do not need a blood test to prove a “general” DUI, they will rely on field sobriety tests and other information to prove you were drunk or high. Our attorneys can challenge the blood tests and other evidence to fight your case.
DUI Penalties and Sentencing in Easton, Pennsylvania
Alcohol-based DUIs have increased penalties as the amount of alcohol in your system goes up. This means “general” alcohol DUIs have the lowest penalties and DUIs with a BAC of .16% or higher have the worst penalties. Any drug-based DUI is automatically punished with the harshest penalties.
While a DUI with a BAC test refusal is not charged as a separate type of DUI, there is a separate offense for refusing a BAC test. Additionally, DUI refusals also automatically receive the harshest punishments.
A DUI or drug DUI charge can generally result in the following:
- Jail time
- Alcohol safety school
- Alcohol treatment
- Use of an ignition interlock
- Insurance surcharges
- Various fees and court costs
While jail time and license suspension aren’t usually an issue for first-time offenders with a BAC under.10%, offenders can expect a $300 fine, up to 6 months of probation, alcohol safety school, and other treatments or penalties. You also have to go through the stress of appearing to multiple court dates.
Our attorneys can challenge the evidence in your case quickly and aggressively to help you fight your case. However, there are other ways to avoid these serious penalties, such as ARD.
Pennsylvania’s ARD Program for First Offense DUIs
Many people accused of DUIs without serious injuries or property damage may qualify for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD). ARD is a program unique to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is designed to spare first-time offenders who are unlikely to repeat their offense. Completing ARD results in having your charges dropped and provides you with a clean criminal history.
The district attorney has final say on who can participate in an ARD program. The DA’s office is in charge of handling and approving requests, not the prosecutor in the courtroom or the judge hearing your case. Generally, you must have a clean record and no previous ARD participation within the last 10 years to qualify for ARD.
The ARD program puts DUI offenders through education and alcohol treatment to help them avoid future DUI offenses. It may also come with a license suspension, though penalties are ultimately lower than what you would face after a conviction. Applying to ARD may also require you to plead guilty to the offense, so you should always discuss your application with a lawyer.
ARD is not right for everyone, and you may be able to fight your case instead of accepting ARD. If your case involves an illegal traffic stop or arrest, you may be better off taking your case to trial. Talk to an attorney about the options you have after being charged with DUI in Pennsylvania.
Call our Easton, PA DUI Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Easton, Pennsylvania, do not speak to the police about the charges against you. Let our attorneys handle your case for you. Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates offers committed DUI representation in Pennsylvania. You can call our experienced Easton, PA DUI defense attorneys today at (215) 372-8667. Our lawyers offer free, confidential, no-obligation consultations on DUI cases.