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Don’t Face Drunk Driving Charges Alone – We Are Here To Fight For You

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Pennsylvania. If you were arrested for a DUI in central Pennsylvania, you need a knowledgeable and hard-hitting defense attorney to advise you on how to respond to the allegations, develop a defense strategy and negotiate for decreased penalties. That’s why you should contact Coover & Associates. Our lawyers have 25 years of combined legal experience in criminal defense work, in-depth knowledge of DUI laws and an effective track record both in and out of the courtroom. Regardless of your specific legal problem, we work tirelessly to help you find empowering solutions.

An Overview Of Pennsylvania’s DUI Laws

DUI laws in Pennsylvania criminalize driving, attempting to drive, or even merely sitting behind the wheel of a car while under the influence. A driver can be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. Even if the drugs in a driver’s system are prescribed and taken legally, they may still cause dangerous levels of impairment, especially if mixed with alcohol.

As in nearly every other state, the legal threshold for alcohol intoxication is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, as determined through a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Everyone responds to alcohol differently, however, so it is possible to be charged with DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08%. Since there are many different types of drugs and they can stay in the body well after intoxicating effects have worn off, measuring drug impairment is not as straightforward. Prosecutors may try to exploit this ambiguity to maximize your charges, which is one reason why it is critical to work with an experienced attorney like those at our firm.

Pennsylvania DUI Penalties For First-Time Offenses

The potential consequences of a DUI conviction are serious and have lasting ramifications. They vary based on a variety of factors, including the amount of alcohol measured in the body. There are three categories of BAC:

  1. General impairment: Lower levels of intoxication ranging from 0.08 to 0.099 BAC
  2. High impairment: High levels of intoxication ranging from 0.10 to 0.159
  3. Highest impairment: Highest possible levels of intoxication from 0.16 and higher

If you were convicted of a first-offense DUI, you could likely expect one of the following sentences:

  • BAC from 0.08 to 0.099: Probation, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes and alcohol treatment
  • BAC from 0.10 to 0.159: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes and alcohol treatment
  • BAC from 0.16 and up: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes and alcohol treatment
  • Controlled substances: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes and alcohol treatment

Penalties for DUI convictions are increased for repeat offenses and aggravating factors.

If your child is convicted of DUI, they face onerous penalties. Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy toward underage drinking. It requires that all individuals under the age of 21 convicted of driving with a BAC of 0.02% or higher face license suspension, county jail time and exorbitant fines.

Are There Any Special Programs For First-Time Offenders?

Pennsylvania offers Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), which will allow you to avoid jail or prison time if you were arrested with a BAC of 0.10 or higher. First-time DUI offenders may have the option of participating in the ARD program. ARD is a pretrial diversion program for nonviolent offenders. The district attorney’s office must recommend a person for inclusion in the program and the judge assigned to the case must approve the person’s participation as well. Essentially, the ARD program suspends the criminal court proceedings while the person completes certain requirements for the program.

The participant will be required to enroll in alcohol traffic safety school, undergo alcohol treatment, temporarily surrender their license, pay a fine and court costs, and follow probation for several months. If the person fully complies with all the requirements, then the criminal charges will be dismissed and the person is left with a clean criminal record.

You May Have More Options Than You Realize, And We Can Help You Utilize Them

One of the biggest mistakes DUI defendants make is assuming they need to plead guilty without speaking to an attorney. Police and prosecutors want you to believe that the case against you is open-and-shut. On the contrary, the evidence may be much weaker than it seems. Our lawyers will dig into the details of your case to determine if we can get the charges dismissed or severely reduced. If it proceeds to trial, we are prepared to build a compelling defense that exposes flaws in the government’s case against you.

Even if you ultimately do decide to take a plea, working with an attorney like those at our firm can result in a much more favorable plea deal, and can improve your chances of being approved for the ARD program mentioned above. The bottom line is simple: You won’t know what your options are, or how to exercise them, until you consult with an experienced and aggressive DUI defense attorney.

Help Is Just A Call Or Click Away – Contact Us Now

With offices in York, Carlisle, Chambersburg and Camp Hill, Coover & Associates provides thorough and experienced defense representation throughout central Pennsylvania. Our attorneys will answer your DUI questions, assist you with understanding the process, what you need to do and what we can do for you. To schedule an initial consultation, email us or call 717-461-7789.