Cumberland County DUI Lawyer
Society trusts forensic science. Countless criminal investigation TV shows depict detectives, scientists, and police officers collecting evidence to put the “bad guys” behind bars. The reality, however, is that forensic science often yields ambiguous and even inaccurate results. In DUI cases, drivers who are pulled over and arrested may have been subjected to faulty or improperly administered blood alcohol tests.
Our DUI attorney at the Dorward Law Firm has over a decade of experience demonstrating inadequate evidence, police misconduct, and the innocence of drivers in Cumberland County and throughout the state of Pennsylvania. His extensive training in DUI law informs and enhances his litigation skills, and his commitment to every single client fuels his tireless efforts.
If you are facing a DUI conviction in Cumberland County, call (717) 429-0411 to consult with Attorney Dorward as soon as possible.
Understanding the Stakes: Consequences for a DUI Conviction in Pennsylvania
As with most other states, Pennsylvania’s penalties for driving under the influence differ depending on the number of your offenses and the degree of your intoxication. The state organizes DUI into 3 levels: general impairment (undetermined or .08 to .099% BAC), high BAC (.10 to .159%), and highest BAC/controlled substance (.16% and above). The penalties increase in severity depending on the category of impairment.
Penalties for general impairment may include:
- First offense: misdemeanor, 6 months’ probation, $300 fine,alcohol safety course, and/or treatment
- Second offense: misdemeanor, 12-month license suspension, jail time (5 days to 6 months), fine ($300 to $2,500), alcohol safety course, treatment, and/or 1-year ignition interlock
- Third offense or higher: 2nd degree misdemeanor, 12-month license suspension, imprisonment (10 days to 2 years), fine ($500 to $5,000), treatment, and/or 1-year ignition interlock
For high BAC and highest BAC, penalties are even more severe. Fines may be as high as $10,000, and prison sentences could be as long as 5 years. The court may suspend your license for up to a year and a half.
The court will categorize you differently, however, if you:
- Are a minor, school vehicle/bus driver, or commercial vehicle driver
- Were involved in an accident resulting in injuries or property damage
- Were under the influence of a controlled substance
- Refused breath or chemical testing
If any of these categories applies to you, you may be automatically placed into the high BAC or highest BAC level, despite having a lower BAC. Furthermore, your record may not be expunged after 10 years, as is usually the case with passenger vehicle drivers.
Building Your Defense Against a Cumberland County DUI Conviction
When we devise a strategy for your defense, we have a few different options. Certain circumstances may warrant a reduction or complete dismissal of your charges, and we will closely examine your situation and gather all necessary evidence to determine the most appropriate method.
We may be able to protect you from a conviction by proving one or more of the following:
- You were not driving. Police may charge you instead of the actual driver, especially if you were involved in an accident with multiple passengers in one vehicle. Prosecutors must also prove you were intoxicated at the time of driving.
- The traffic stop was invalid. Police must have a valid reason for pulling you over. If they did not lawfully pull you over, but they obtained incriminating evidence as a result, the Fourth Amendment and the Exclusionary Rule work together to protect you. While the Fourth Amendment prohibits unlawful search and seizure, the Exclusionary Rule prevents prosecutors from using evidence collected during unlawful search and seizure.
- Field sobriety tests or chemical tests were invalid. Sobriety tests are subject to human error and problematic circumstances. Sandals or high heels, for example, might have made the test more difficult to pass. A police officer may have failed to provide proper instructions, or conducted the test in a poorly lit area or on an uneven surface. A breathalyzer might not have been calibrated correctly, or blood might not have been drawn properly. Any of these examples could result in a dismissed case.
Every case is unique, and we will do everything in our power to find evidence (or lack thereof) that demonstrates your innocence.
Get in Touch with the Dorward Law Firm Today
If you need a lawyer in Cumberland County who will listen to your situation with respect, compassion, and shrewd attention to detail, Shawn Dorward is the attorney for you. He has handled hundreds of DUI cases and earned the trust of drivers throughout Pennsylvania.Put 10+ years of experience on your side. Call (717) 429-0411 or schedule your appointment online today.