In many ways, Driving Under the Influence cases are the bread and butter of Lehigh County police and prosecutors. In many jurisdictions, DUIs account for almost half the arrests and more than half the convictions. In recent years, law enforcement officers have received new tools, like DUI checkpoints, to arrest more people. At the same time, Pennsylvania lawmakers have passed tough new criminal laws to help prosecutors convict more defendants.
If you are charged with DUI, the deck is stacked against you. Your best chance lies with an assertive attorney, like the one you will find at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin. Our Allentown DUI attorneys challenge the prosecutor’s evidence, whether the case is based on chemical test results or circumstantial evidence. Our goal is to get the charges thrown out of court. Barring that, we are committed to the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Either way, we never stop fighting for you.
Possible DUI Consequences in Lehigh County
All criminal convictions carry direct consequences, such as incarceration, court supervision, and high fines.
Most crimes also carry indirect, collateral consequences. With regard to DUIs, the collateral consequences may be worse than the direct consequences. The indirect effects often include:
- Drivers’ license suspension,
- Higher auto insurance rates,
- Driving safety courses, and
- Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs).
According to some estimates, these collateral consequences cost between $8,000 and $10,000 over two or three years.
In some cases, it’s possible to reduce a DUI charge to something like a reckless driving charge. Both these cases are serious misdemeanors. However, reckless driving does not have nearly as many collateral consequences as DUI.
DUI Enhancements in Allentown
Subsequent DUI is one of the most common enhancements in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has a ten-year lookback period. So, for charging and sentencing purposes, a DUI remains on your record for a decade. For other purposes, it may remain on your record forever.
BAC level is also relevant in Pennsylvania. Not all DUIs are the same. Charges vary based on BAC level, as follows:
- General impairment (.08 to .09 BAC, or test refusal),
- High BAC (.10 to .15), and
- Highest BAC (.16 and above).
The higher the BAC level, the greater the direct and indirect consequences.
Other enhancements may apply as well. These include things like a DUI with a child passenger, DUI collision, and having an open container. Sometimes, prosecutors bring these enhancements as separate criminal cases.
Defense Strategies in an Allentown DUI
About 80 percent of Pennsylvania DUI cases involve chemical tests. According to prosecutors, these tests are scientifically sound, use a streamlined process, and are hardly ever inaccurate. But the reality is often different. For example, if the defendant burps or belches in the twenty minutes prior to the test, the additional mount alcohol particles often skew the test results.
In the other cases, prosecutors must rely on circumstantial evidence. This evidence usually comes from the field sobriety tests, like the walk-and-turn. These tests are highly subjective and have little scientific basis.
Count on Hard-Hitting DUI Attorneys
DUI is perhaps the most serious and most commonly-charged misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Allentown, contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin. Convenient payment plans are available.