Montgomery County DUI Lawyer
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is frightening and humiliating. A qualified lawyer can help you fight the charges while protecting your rights from overly punitive authorities.
DUIs are often assessed based on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Higher BAC levels usually lead to more severe charges. Penalties may also increase with higher BACs and prior DUIs on the driver’s record. Fighting DUI charges is not impossible, and an attorney can help you challenge evidence like breath test results and highlight the failure of law enforcement to abide by specific legal protocols. Speaking of breath tests, they are common in many DUI cases. Refusing to submit to chemical testing (i.e., breath testing) after being arrested may lead to additional charges and penalties.
You can call (215) 302-0171 and schedule a free review of your case with our DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long.
How DUIs Are Charged in Montgomery County
Not all DUIs are assessed the same way. Various factors might affect how the authorities evaluate your case and press charges. Several distinct categories of DUI offenses come with varying penalties and consequences.
The lowest tier of DUIs is referred to as “general impairment.” To be charged with general impairment, a suspect must have a BAC of at least .08%, the legal limit, but less than .10%. Your BAC might not be measured until some time after you are arrested, and your BAC levels might decrease during this time. You can be charged if your BAC is at least .08% but less than .10% up to 2 hours after driving your car.
In addition, general impairment DUIs may be assessed if you consume any amount of alcohol that inhibits your senses and prevents you from safely operating your car. You might still be charged even though your BAC was less than the legal limit if your driving ability is so impaired that you cannot drive safely.
The next tier of DUI offenses is called “high rate of alcohol.” Drivers at this tier must have been in actual physical control of their vehicle while also having a BAC of at least .10% but less than .16%. The highest tier of DUIs is referred to as the “highest rate of alcohol” and involves driving with a BAC of at least .16% or more.
Another DUI tier exists for people driving while under the influence of controlled substances. Since controlled substances are not measured in the blood in quite the same way as alcohol, there are no minimum or maximum measurements imposed. Having any controlled substance in your system that impairs your ability to drive might result in a DUI charge.
Penalties for Different DUI Offenses in Montgomery County
Penalties for DUI charges are often harsh and ripple across numerous aspects of the defendant’s life. Chief among these penalties is losing your driver’s license. Losing your license might make getting to work or school or running errands difficult. You might end up relying on others for rides or be stuck. An attorney can help you challenge your charges to avoid or at least reduce penalties.
Penalties for a first-time offender tend to be the least severe. For the charge of general impairment, a first-time offender may expect at least 6 months of probation, a $300 fine, and to attend drug and alcohol classes or counseling.
For those charged with a high rate of alcohol, first-time offenders should expect to face at least 48 hours of jail time, a fine of at least $500, and drug and alcohol counseling.
The highest rate of alcohol and DUIs for controlled substances carry serious penalties, even for first-time offenders. If you are charged at this level, you should immediately contact an attorney for help. For a first offense, you might face at least 72 hours of jail time, a fine of least $1,000 and up to $5,000, and counseling for drug and alcohol abuse.
First offenses are often charged as ungraded misdemeanors, and defendants might lose their license for 12 months. However, first-offenders facing charges for general impairment can sometimes hold on to their license, depending on the circumstances.
If you have a prior DUI on your record, you may be sentenced differently and more harshly for a second offense. If your second offense is for general impairment, you might be sent to jail for at least 5 days. You might also be fined at least $300 and up to $2,500. Finally, you will need to go to drug and alcohol counseling.
A second offense for a high rate of alcohol is quite severe, and you should consult a lawyer. You might be sentenced to at least 30 days in jail, a fine of no less than $750 and up to $5,000, and mandatory alcohol and drug education and counseling.
For the highest rate of alcohol, sentencing for a second offense can be very intimidating. Defendants might be jailed for at least 90 days and fined no less than $1,500 with no maximum limit. You will also be made to go to drug and alcohol counseling.
Depending on how you are charged, a second DUI may result in the suspension of your license for 12 to 18 months.
Third Offense and Beyond
The penalties might be extremely serious if you are facing sentencing for a third or subsequent DUI offense. For a third or subsequent offense of general impairment, you may face at least 10 days in jail, be fined at least $500 and up to $5,000, and have to go to alcohol and drug counseling.
A third or subsequent offense for a high rate of alcohol may result in a jail sentence of up to 90 days, a fine of not less than $1,500 nor more than $10,000, and drug and alcohol counseling. For a fourth offense at this level, you may be sent to jail for at least 1 entire year.
If you are facing your third or subsequent offense for the highest rate of alcohol, you might face at least 1 year in jail, a fine of at least $2,500 with no upper limit, and drug and alcohol education and counseling.
A third DUI often leads to a suspension of your driver’s license for at least 18 months.
Speak to Our Montgomery County DUI Lawyers for Help
You can call (215) 302-0171 and arrange a free evaluation of your case with our DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long.