A common but serious charge in Lower Merion face is DUI (driving under the influence). From significant fines to mandatory jail time, DUI convictions can negatively affect your life both in the short and long term. Even if it is your first offense, the penalties could be severe.
If you or a loved one was arrested for DUI, you should immediately contact our Lower Merion DUI defense lawyers to discuss your options and possible defenses. DUI arrests should not be taken lightly. Contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 372-8667 to arrange for a free, confidential legal consultation.
Penalties for DUI Charges in Lower Merion
The penalties imposed for drunk driving in Lower Merion are serious. If you were arrested with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08%, could be charged with DUI. The legal consequences of a DUI conviction will depend on your BAC level, whether you have any prior offenses, or whether you caused any damage or significant harm to anyone. The penalties include the following:
- Monetary fines ranging from $500 to $10,000
- Six months of probation
- Mandatory prison time from 48 hours to six months
- Required participation in a drug and alcohol treatment program
- Suspension of your driver’s license
Defending Drunk Driving Charges in Lower Merion, PA
Because of the significant impact a DUI conviction could have on your life, it is important to either present an aggressive defense or to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution to mitigate the consequences. Our experienced DUI defense attorneys will thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case to determine the best options available. In certain circumstances, we may recommend ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition), work with the prosecution to enter a plea agreement, or prepare a defense to take your case to trial.
Field Sobriety Testing
One method Lower Merion law enforcement officers use to see if you were driving under the influence is the administration of standard field sobriety tests. An arresting officer will ask a driver suspected of driving under the influence to perform a series of physical activities to determine if you were either mentally or physically impaired. These physical challenges range from walking a straight line and turning to balancing on one leg for a specific amount of time.
Because these tests are standardized, police officers are trained to administer them in a specific manner. Any deviation from the instructions or the standard order of the activities, can be used to challenge the results of the test. Furthermore, your ability to perform the physical activities could be hindered by other reasons – you could be tired, sick, or nervous. Our Lower Merion DUI defense attorneys will review exactly how these tests were conducted, and if there were errors, we will argue that the results are not reliable.
DUI Blood Testing
A blood or chemical test could be used to determine if your BAC is above the .08% legal limit. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our attorneys have the experience to know what to look for when challenging the results.
A glass tube filled with a precise chemical mixture is used to collect the blood. Your BAC could be artificially elevated if the chemical amounts are incorrect or if the tube was contaminated. Additionally, the test results could be spoiled if an alcohol-based swab was used for sterilization.
Your body continues to absorb alcohol well after you finished drinking. This makes the time the test was administered is crucial in determining an accurate BAC. If too much time passes between the stop and the test, your BAC might be considerably higher than at the time you were driving or might be thrown out on a statutory basis.
Lower Merion police will also use a portable breathalyzer to test your BAC. While the results of these tests are not admissible in court, chemical breath tests can often be used instead of blood tests. Timing is also an issue with breath tests. If a test is administered two hours after you were driving, the results are not admissible.
Properly administering a breath test requires adhering to strict guidelines. Any deviation from the set protocols could open the results up to questioning. For example, an accurate result requires the driver to avoid eating or drinking anything for 20 minutes before the test is given. If a police officer failed to maintain constant observation during this time, our DUI defense attorney will challenge the test results.
To help ensure accurate results, the breathalyzer should be routinely serviced and calibrated. Our Lower Merion DUI defense attorney will gather maintenance logs and the manufacturer’s calibration specifications to ensure the device was in proper working condition.
Sobriety Roadblocks and Checkpoints
Lower Merion law enforcement might use sobriety roadblocks to stop and test multiple drivers. To avoid constitutional challenges, sobriety checkpoints must comply with a number of requirements. If you were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and arrested for DUI, we will examine all aspects of the stop and arrest to ensure the roadblock was legal. Some of the factors we will look for include the following:
- Were you stopped for an unreasonable amount of time?
- Did the police officers search you, your passengers, or the vehicle?
- Did the police provide adequate notice of the stop, such as postings in the newspaper?
- Was the checkpoint set up on a stretch of road that had experienced a problem with drunk driving in the past?
- Was your car stopped according to a systematic method or was it based on observable factors like your age or race?
Call Our Lower Merion DUI Lawyers for a Free Consultation
A DUI conviction could have long-lasting negative repercussions. If you have prior offenses, the penalties will be worse. You need to act quickly and call our Lower Merion DUI defense lawyer to understand all of your available options. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 372-8667to arrange for a free, confidential consultation.