DUI (Driving Under the Influence) may be a common charge in Northeast Philadelphia, but it is still a serious one. The penalties imposed on drivers convicted of DUI include mandatory jail time, substantial fines, and the suspension of your license. Depending on the circumstances of your case – such as the number of past violations – those penalties could be much harsher.
DUI charges require the assistance of an experienced Northeast Philadelphia DUI defense lawyer. If you or a loved one is facing allegations of DUI in Philadelphia, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 701-6519 immediately to arrange for a free, confidential legal consultation.
Penalties for DUI Charges in Northeast Philadelphia
In Northeast Philadelphia, driving with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08% or higher will result in DUI charges. Penalties for DUI conviction depend on the exact BAC level, any prior DUI offenses, and whether damage or injury occurred because of the drunk driving. DUI charges can lead to a variety of penalties with short- and long-term effects, including the following:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Jail time
- Participation in a mandatory alcohol treatment program
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your car
Defenses to Drunk Driving Charges in Northeast Philadelphia
It is critical that you take any DUI arrest seriously. Our Northeast Philadelphia DUI defense lawyers will work to mitigate your charges, enter into a beneficial plea agreement, recommend ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition), or fight your charges at trial. There are many opportunities for strong defenses to DUI charges that deal with challenging the following evidence and procedures in your case:
Field Sobriety Testing
To help law enforcement officers determine whether drivers were driving under the influence, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed three “standardized field sobriety tests.” The tests include the “horizontal gaze nystagmus test,” the “one-leg stand test,” and the “walk and turn test.”
Often, Northeast Philadelphia police rely on these tests and other non-standardized tests to determine if a driver was impaired. Your ability to perform the tests as instructed will be used as evidence to prove you were physically or mentally impaired due to alcohol. However, if the instructions the police officer gave you deviated from the standard instructions, this could call into question the usefulness of the test results.
Our experienced attorneys are aware that field tests are flawed and that your ability to perform might not have been caused by something other than intoxication. For example, illness, fatigue, or anxiety could all affect your ability to properly perform a given test. We will argue that you were not impaired and that the field tests were not reliable in gauging intoxication.
DUI Blood Testing
One way that Northeast Philadelphia police officers determine if your BAC is above the .08% legal limit is through blood tests. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our attorneys are experienced in challenging the results of a DUI blood test.
An accurate result requires collecting the blood in a glass tube filled with a precise chemical mixture. The BAC could be artificially elevated if there is any contamination of the tube or if the chemical amounts are incorrect. Additionally, the use of an alcohol-based swab to sterilize the area before inserting the needle could taint the test.
The timing of the test is also essential in obtaining an accurate test result. The body absorbs alcohol well after your last drink. Because the test reflects your BAC at the time it was administered, it might be substantially higher than when you were driving. Tests must be taken within two hours of driving to qualify as legitimate evidence in your case.
A portable breathalyzer is a common way to test your BAC. The results of these tests are not admissible in court, but chemical breath tests can be used in place of a blood test in many cases. The timing of the test is an issue, as your body continues to absorb alcohol well after you stopped drinking. If the test was administered more than two hours after the stop, the results are inadmissible.
There are rigorous protocols and guidelines for giving a breath test. If the police officer failed to adhere to these guidelines, the results of the test could be questioned. For example, before giving the test, the driver must avoid eating or drinking anything for 20 minutes. If the police officer fails to observe the driver for the required time, the results can be challenged.
The device used for this type of testing requires careful maintenance and calibration. This helps ensure accurate results. Our Northeast Philadelphia DUI defense attorney will request documentation related to the breathalyzer, including maintenance and calibration records and the manufacturer’s calibration specifications.
Sobriety Roadblocks and Checkpoints
NE Philadelphia sobriety roadblocks may seem to initially violate the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution because they force drivers to stop without reasonable suspicion. Courts have held that this tactic is constitutional as long as police adhere to specific requirements. The Commonwealth bears the burden of demonstrating that the roadblock was constitutional.
For a Northeast Philadelphia sobriety checkpoint to legal, it must adhere to the following requirements:
- The stop must be brief.
- The vehicle or its occupants must not be searched.
- The police must provide advance notice of the checkpoint, such as news reports or signs.
- The police administration must base the location and time of the checkpoint on historical evidence of drunk driving and accidents.
- The criteria for vehicles to be stopped must be objective, not subjective.
Call Our Northeast Philadelphia 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 limit your ability to get to work. Additionally, a record of 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 Northeast Philadelphia DUI defense lawyer immediately. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 755-3115 to arrange for a free, confidential consultation with our NE Philadelphia DUI defense attorneys.