DUI Lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Federal and state legislation has dropped the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) to .08 percent. The commonwealth has tiers of severity for DUIs, their penalties and how the courts view each case. Possible consequences for committing a DUI in Philadelphia include loss of license, stiff fines, and court fees, counseling, the use of an Ignition Interlock Device and community service and probation. The commonwealth considers both BAC levels and the number of prior offenses at sentencing. Thankfully, the courts realize that treatment, especially for someone with their first DUI, offers an opportunity for rehabilitation.
Make sure you get the facts of your DUI case presented correctly, and that you are given the appropriate sentence. Contact Mark D. Hauser (267-258-4330), one of Philadelphia’s toughest DUI lawyers to defend your rights.
Levels of DUI
The three levels of DUI are general impairment, from .08 to .099 percent BAC; high impairment, from .10 to .159 percent BAC; and highest impairment, from .16 percent and higher BAC. Some drivers can automatically be placed in the high BAC category, such as commercial drivers, those who cause an accident, minors and school bus drivers. If a person suspected of DUI refuses to submit to a breathalyzer, he can be subject to the highest impairment penalties. Called implied consent laws, this means that anyone who obtains a driver’s license automatically agrees to take a breath or chemical test if stopped for a DUI. A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can advise you regarding your rights if this happens to you.
DUI Penalties in Philadelphia
A first-tier DUI offender in Philadelphia will need to pay a $300 fine, attend alcohol safety school, attend treatment if needed and be on probation for six months. A second-tier offender receives the same penalties, but his fines increase to between $550 and $5,000, and his license will be suspended for one year. In addition, he will need to spend between two days and six months in custody. For first- or second-tier offenses with priors or third-tier offenses, these penalties quickly escalate.
Pennsylvania offers a program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). ARDs in Pennsylvania usually apply to a first offense with no accident and proper license, registration, and insurance. In addition, the offender is disqualified if any children under the age of 14 were in the vehicle. The main focus of ARDs includes the completion of an alcohol-education driving class. The defendant will need to be screened and assessed to determine his level of alcohol or drug use. In addition to attending the driving class, he may need to complete alcohol or drug counseling. He must fully comply with the terms and conditions of the program as directed by his probation officer. The courts will retain supervision over him for at least six months. He must pay all restitution, treatment costs, fees, fines and surcharges.
Mark D. Hauser has more than 20 years of experience in DUI offenses and as an ARD lawyer. He can handle your case with competency and professionalism. He understands that the circumstances surrounding each case can vary greatly. As you confer with him, he will discuss an effective strategy to effectively fight your DUI case in court.
What are the Qualifications for ARD for a DUI Arrest in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania Generally?
First of all, what is ARD? Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is a special pre-trial intervention program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States for non-violent offenders with no prior or limited record. In the City of Philadelphia a person can qualify for the ARD Program if: 1. they have no previous misdemeanor or felony convictions (summary offenses are allowed); 2. they had proper license, registration, and insurance on the car in use during the arrest; 3. did not receive ARD in the last 10 years; 4. did not have a passenger under the age of 14 years of age; 5. was not involved in an accident where someone other than the accused was seriously injured 6. did not refuse the blood or breathalyzer test 7. did not leave the scene of the accident if there was one; 8. did not try to allude the police at the time of the DUI. Other counties in Pennsylvania have similar, but not identical rules for ARD eligibility.
What happens when a person enters the ARD program? The person receives no jail time, is put on probation for 6-12 months, pays fines of around $500.00, takes a safe driving course, and possibly attends drug counseling sessions if deemed appropriate. Their driver’s license is suspended for 30 days if their blood alcohol content is between .10 and .16, 60 days if it over .16 or if there is drugs in their system, and no suspension if it under .10. If the person completes the ARD program successfully, then their record with automatically be expunged approximately six months later. However, if the person is convicted of another DUI in the next ten years, this will be considered their second DUI despite the ARD program and the expungement.