Philadelphia DUI Lawyer for College Students
College is meant to be a memorable four years for students to learn, grow, and have fun. However, facing a criminal charge such as driving under the influence (DUI) can turn your college experience from a dream into a nightmare. If convicted for DUI in Philadelphia, you will face not only harsh penalties that will interrupt your college life, but also years of future consequences when trying to launch a career with a criminal record.
At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, our team of experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyers for college students knows how to fight for your rights and to get your charges dismissed or downgraded to something less serious. We understand the severe ramifications a DUI conviction can have on a young person’s future and we will leave no stone unturned mounting an aggressive defense for you. If you or your child is a college student who has been charged with DUI in Philadelphia, call us today at (215) 302-0171.
What Happens at a DUI Stop in Philadelphia
A typical DUI stop begins with you being pulled over for erratic driving or some sort of minor traffic violation. Often, police officers wait in areas outside bars and other places where young people are known to drink and drive to keep lookout for anyone driving in a way that suggests they might be intoxicated. After you are pulled over, if the officer smells alcohol or drugs on your breath or in the vehicle, or notices that you are acting strangely or slurring your words, they may conduct further tests to determine whether to charge you with DUI.
These “roadside tests” include the possibility of a portable Breathalyzer test (PBT). This handheld device is less accurate than the Breathalyzer machines at the station, and its results cannot be used as evidence against you in court. However, they can be used as a basis to make the initial arrest and get you back to the station for further tests.
Other tests conducted at the roadside include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand Test. The HGN test involves the officer moving a pen or other object back in forth in front of your eyes, asking you to follow the pen with your eyes, and noting whether your eyes move involuntarily while the test is being conducted. For the walk and turn test, you are asked to put your foot heel-to-toe and take 9 steps forward, turn around, and take 9 steps back. The one leg stand test involves the motorist balancing on a single leg for 30 seconds.
If the officer concludes after these tests that they have sufficient cause to believe you are intoxicated, they will place you under arrest and transport you to the local police station.
Refusing a Breathalyzer, Blood or Urine Test in Philadelphia
When you arrive at the station, the officer will want to perform a test on the Breathalyzer machine to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). They may also want blood or urine samples for testing. While you may be tempted to refuse to incriminate yourself by complying with these tests, unfortunately, if you refuse you will be charged with a separate crime of refusal.
Refusal is an entirely different crime that you will charged with in addition to DUI. It comes with its own set of penalties, including driver’s license suspension, jail time, and fines, that can often be harsh. As such, it is always best to cooperate fully with Breathalyzer and other required tests after a DUI stop.
Penalties for College Students Charged with a DUI in Philadelphia
The type of DUI charge you face depends on which of three tiers you fall into. These tiers are classified by how high your blood alcohol content was at the time of the stop. If your BAC is undetermined or between .08% and .099%, you will be charged with “general impairment DUI.” If your BAC is between .10% to .159%, you will be charged with “high BAC DUI.” If your BAC is .16% or higher, you will be charged with “highest BAC DUI.”
However, if you are a minor under 21, as in the case of many college students, you can be charged with DUI anytime your BAC is .02% or higher. Furthermore, you will automatically be charged as high BAC DUI even if your BAC is below the range described above for that tier. As such, minors face harsher penalties for first-time offenses.
General Impairment DUI
If charged with general impairment DUI, a first-time offender faces up to 6 months of probation and fines up to $300. If this is your second DUI conviction or beyond, you will face even harsher penalties including up to 2 years in prison.
High BAC DUI
A first-time offender charged with high BAC DUI faces penalties including a 12-month license suspension, between 48 hours and 6 months in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines. Note that conviction for even a first-time offense for drinking and driving under this tier – the tier where minors are automatically charged – comes with a mandatory sentence of 48 hours in prison. If it is your second offense or more, harsher penalties including up to 5 years in prison apply.
Highest BAC DUI
If this is your first DUI offense, a charge under the highest BAC DUI tier subjects you to such penalties as a 12-month license suspension, between 72 hours and 6 months in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines. However, for offenses beyond your first, you can face very steep punishments including up to 5 years in prison and an 18-month license suspension. Drug DUIs are always charged under this tier, no matter how much of the drug is found in your system.
If You or Your Child is a College Student Charged with DUI, Call Our Office Right Away
At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, our Philadelphia DUI lawyers for college students have years of experience fighting cases like yours in the Philadelphia court system and bringing them to a successful conclusion for our clients. When you face not only the risk of harsh penalties including mandatory jail time, but also the risk of your entire future being defined by this single incident, you need someone on your side advocating for your rights. Call our office today at (215) 302-0171 for a free consultation.