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Pennsylvania DUI Lawyers

Defending Charges in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton, Lackawanna, Carbon, Luzerne and Monroe Counties

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, it’s essential to hire an experienced attorney who understands state DUI laws and will fight for your rights. The lawyers of Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. are dedicated legal professionals with a proven track record of defending the rights of the accused.

DUI Defense

Zachary B. Cooper Photo Whether a person is stopped for DUI for the first time or if the individual has a record with one or more prior DUI convictions, the selection of a DUI defense attorney can factor into how soon the person can put the matter behind them and look to a more positive future. A skillful attorney examines every aspect of a case, including the events leading up to the stop, medical history and general health of the person, and field sobriety and chemical testing procedures. An experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney uncovers all of the facts surrounding an arrest in order to find a potential weakness in the case the district attorney is trying to establish. In some cases, negotiations can result in reduced charges. In the event a case goes to trial, an astute lawyer with a command of the facts of a case leverages available opportunities in court to their client’s advantage. The attorney’s knowledge and experience are also invaluable for helping the person charged with a DUI to weigh their options for the most favorable outcome under the circumstances.

DUI Stops

Law enforcement officers are trained to look for instances in which a driver may be operating a vehicle in an erratic manner. Regardless whether the officer responsible for stopping a driver suspected for driving under the influence administered a more credible, standardized field sobriety test, or a less reliable, non-standardized field sobriety test, or some combination of tests, the results of such tests may provide a skillful DUI defense lawyer an opportunity to challenge the case that the district attorney is attempting to make. Similarly, if a driver is pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint in Pennsylvania and the methods used to determine that that vehicle should be stopped do not adhere to the proper protocol the courts have set forth to safeguard the driver’s constitutional rights, a DUI lawyer in Pennsylvania may challenge the validity of the arrest in court. Additionally, other aspects of a stop that lead to an arrest may offer opportunities to challenge a case, including evidence of audio and video recordings associated with the arrest and whether an individual was interrogated without being advised of their Miranda rights.

DUI Testing

Chemical testing is comprised of breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Some testing methods are commonly used for DUI (alcohol) stops, while others are frequently administered for DUID (drug) cases. Testing methods can be found to be unreliable. The results of a breath test can be open to challenge, as factors including elapsed time between driving and testing, the body’s metabolic processes, and calibration of testing equipment can bring a test result over the legal threshold into dispute. Blood testing is a common method used to measure blood alcohol content, though such testing is not necessarily precise, thereby providing a DUI attorney in Pennsylvania with a possible defense. Blood must be drawn and placed in a tube with the correct ratio of preservative to anticoagulant to obtain an accurate result. While urine testing has been found to be unreliable for ascertaining blood alcohol content, it is commonly used in driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases. The very nature of these tests means that it is not possible to determine when a substance was used by the individual in question.

DUI Court Process

It is vital to one’s DUI defense to be represented by qualified counsel at the preliminary hearing. If the judge presiding over the hearing finds there is probable cause, then an arraignment hearing is scheduled. If a person is facing a DUI charge for the first time, they may be eligible for ARD, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, a diversion program under the court’s supervision. Pretrial motions, including motions to dismiss charges and suppress evidence, are submitted by the person’s attorney at the arraignment or later on at the pretrial conference. In some cases, the accused may be best served by entering a plea agreement instead of having the case go to trial. The defense attorney can help assess whether such an agreement is in the best interest of the person. If a case goes to trial, a skillful and experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer further defends the rights of their client in the selection of the jury, development of opening statements, the calling of witnesses, presentation of evidence, and other procedures, including closing arguments.

DUI Sentencing

DUI sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania are broken down into a three-tiered system based on the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Each tier is further divided by the number of prior DUI convictions, if any, within the previous ten years (the state’s “lookback” period). Penalties are comprised of some combination of classification of the criminal conviction, probation/incarceration period, fines, license suspension, electronic monitoring (e.g., ignition interlock), mandated educational activities (e.g., alcohol highway safety school), and alcohol and drug assessment/compliance. For instance, a first offense of general impairment (tier I) will result in a maximum of six months’ probation and a $300 fine. It should be noted, though, that the higher the driver’s BAC or the greater the number of prior DUI convictions, generally speaking, the longer the period of incarceration and the larger the fine. Rehabilitation in lieu of a jail sentence may be an option under some circumstances, as the courts are taking a more treatment-centric approach to crimes involving the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer Today

DUI laws in Pennsylvania are extremely complex, and the lawyers at Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. have the technical expertise and legal knowledge you need to aggressively fight your drunk driving charge. Contact us online or call (215) 542-0800.

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