DiCindio Law LLC | April 11, 2022 | DUI
What Are Your Choices? What to Do After Getting Your First DUI in West Chester, PA
A DUI (driving while under the influence) arrest can have devastating consequences on many aspects of your life, even if this is your first time dealing with police, prosecutors, judges, and the court system in Chester County or Pennsylvania.
What you do after (and during) a first DUI arrest is important in how your case is ultimately resolved. Continue reading to learn more about what you should do after your first DUI arrest in West Chester, PA.
What Are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania General Assembly Title 75 – Chapter 38 outlines when a DUI can be charged and the consequences of a conviction.
A first DUI conviction in West Chester could result in:
- Up to six months in prison
- A maximum $5,000 fine
- Loss of driving privileges for up to one year
- The requirement to attend treatment and/or alcohol highway safety school
The penalties depend on your blood alcohol content (BAC) and are more severe if your BAC is over a certain level. For example, if your BAC is below 0.10 and you have no prior DUI offenses, your penalties are up to six months probation and a $300 fine.
A DUI conviction can impact your freedom and the ability to get (or maintain) employment or schooling. It can also affect your auto insurance premiums and sometimes even housing in the future. So it is imperative you speak to a skilled West Chester DUI lawyer to help you with your case.
Can My DUI Case Be Fought?
Many defenses may apply in your case. For example, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can challenge the traffic stop to ensure that it was lawful. If the stop and/or detention was unlawful, the DUI findings may be suppressed, and the DUI could be dismissed. A police officer must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired before asking them to take any roadside test or breathalyzer, so your lawyer may challenge the validity of the stop on these grounds.
Other defenses that can be raised include:
- Errors in the breathalyzer test, including maintenance and calibration issues
- Constitutional rights violations
- Chain of custody issues with your chemical testing sample
- You weren’t actually driving while intoxicated
- A medical condition affected your BAC
Other defenses may apply. It’s best to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your situation and determine the best strategy for your case.
Are There Any Rehabilitative Programs Available for Individuals Charged With DUI in West Chester, PA?
Other options may include diversionary programs that help keep DUI charges off of your record if you qualify and can successfully complete the program. While some tasks you will be asked to complete within the program are similar to those you’d be tasked with upon conviction, the difference is there isn’t a conviction on your record. Instead, the charges will ultimately be dismissed upon successfully completing the program.
In Chester County, there is an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program that is run by the District Attorney’s office. It applies to individuals with minimal or no prior convictions. Within the program, you will be given instructions on what is required to complete the program, including alcohol education classes, treatment requirements, and community service.
If for some reason you violate the terms of the program or do not successfully complete it, you will be removed from the program, and your DUI prosecution will commence. However, if you successfully complete the ARD program, your charges will be dismissed.