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Our firm has over 25 years of combined legal practice. Our Philadelphia criminal attorneys have been recognized by the top lawyer ranking services.
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We take on fewer clients than other firms. Each client works 1:1 on with one of our senior attorneys.
DUIs are no little charges. Like other states, Pennsylvania treats DUIs are serious offenses, and if you’re arrested for a DUI in Delaware County and ultimately convicted of it, then the consequences can be severe and long-lasting. To make matter worse, there are certain factors that can aggravate the charges, which means that if you’re convicted, you’ll be facing even stricter penalties than if you were convicted of a regular DUI in the state.
Some of the penalties for a DUI include incarceration, fines, fees, license suspension or revocation and more. You’ll usually have to spend at least 24 or 48 hours in jail, and until your case is resolved, your license will automatically be suspended by the DMV. If you had a child in the car with you when the incident occurred or if your BAC was above a certain percentage, then the charges could be amplified.
Moreover, if this isn’t your first rodeo with DUI charges, then they’ll most likely be aggravated too. Pennsylvania seeks to punish habitual or repeat DUI offenders more harshly. Not only might you have to pay higher fees and do more jail time, but you could also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for six months or a year upon getting your driver’s license back.
Getting your driving privileges reinstated after a DUI can be difficult too. You oftentimes have to jump through hoops to get the DMV to lift the ignition interlock requirement if you were ordered to have an IID installed on your vehicle. You’ll also have to pay a hefty reinstatement, and if you need to drive your vehicle before your court date, you’ll have to apply for a hardship or restricted license that lets you drive it in the meantime until the court convicts you or not.
Of course, there are other repercussions of DUIs too. In addition to the legal difficulties you’ll face, a DUI could also affect your job. For instance, if you drive for a living, then you could be fired, and even if you don’t, you’ll likely have to miss work days when you go to court dates, and some employers reserve the right to fire you for getting in trouble with the law.
Even if you don’t have a job and are looking for one, a DUI could negatively impact your job search. You’re required to report any arrests you’ve had within the past few years when you apply for a job, and not writing them down won’t do any good since most employers will run a background check and find out anyway. Explaining away a DUI can be difficult and could hinder you from getting the job.
Moreover, it could also cause you to have trouble in your relationships. You might feel judgement from family, friends and the outside world because of your DUI, and if you injured anybody in the crash, you could also be facing a civil lawsuit from the injured party suing you for the cost of medical expenses and damages.
You Need a DUI Lawyer
You should never enter the courtroom without legal representation, and this is especially so when you’ve been charged with a DUI. A DUI is something that has severe and lasting consequences, so you’ll want to fight the charges to the best of your ability. Delaware County DUI lawyers can evaluate the details surrounding your case to see if they can, in the best case scenario, get the charges dropped or, in the worst case scenario, mitigate the consequences of a conviction.
For instance, if your lawyer find that you weren’t lawfully pulled over in the first place, then the evidence could be ruled inadmissible, which could let you off the hook. In cases where the evidence does prove that you were indeed driving under the influence, a lawyer has the connections and negotiation skills to negotiate the best plea deal for you to secure you lesser penalties.
For decades now, the age at which you are generally permitted to possess and consume alcohol anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania has been 21. If you haven’t noticed, this means that there are many cases where individuals under that age might be tempted to consume alcohol with their ‘of age’ friends. A perfect example of this is on a university campus. If you look at the make up of the average student body, roughly half of the individuals will be old enough to drink alcohol, while the rest are still determined by the law to be too young.
If you are caught holding alcohol at a party on campus when you are under 21 years of age, you can be cited by the police as being in possession of alcohol when you are underage. This is a serious offense. As such, you will not want to take it lightly.
Why Is This Important?
You never want any citation to be on your record. It is difficult to make such items go away. It is important for you to know that the state of Pennsylvania is now cracking down in a big way on underage drinking. This includes the charge of possession of alcohol. One of their primary targets involve campus locations, and a heavy focus is at Penn State and Temple University. You will find that law enforcement officials are taking their responsibility more seriously in terms of citing underage drinkers.
Remember that being in possession of alcohol is not always the same as drinking alcohol. The law states that you can be cited even just for holding a can of beer, even if you are not drinking. This is a gray area, but a guilty verdict can still cost you a lot of money in fines. You may also have your driver’s license suspended as a result of this conviction. This is why you really need to start by retaining the services of a professional defense attorney who understands the law and will fight for your legal rights. If at all possible, you want the charge vacated. Barring that, you will be glad to have an attorney on your side who will work hard to get the charges reduced if at all possible.
Some Information About Underage Possession of Alcohol
If you are still not clear about this law, let us begin by reminding you that the state of Pennsylvania has been very clear that individuals under the age of 21 may not buy or even attempt to buy any alcoholic beverage. It does not matter where in the state this purchase is alleged to have taken place. In addition, you may not consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Again, it does not matter where the drinking takes place or who actually bought the alcohol in the first place.
Beyond this, it is also illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to even be in the possession of alcohol. If you are under the age of 21, you are not even allowed to transport knowingly or intentionally. As you can now tell, there are quite a few different ways you can be charged with an alcohol-related crime if you are under the age of 21. You will also be interested to know that state statutes define alcohol as being any beverage that contains 0.50 percent or more of alcohol when measured by volume. Beer and wine are included in this definition.
Contact a Lawyer
Being found guilty of possession of alcohol has some serious consequences. If you are or your child is faced with this charge, it is important to have our office retained right away. We will mount a vigorous defense on your behalf. There are options that you have to explore. We will go over those with you and propose the best possible defense strategy for you given your situation.