DWI or DUI charges can open the doors to chaos for the accused. Much more than a simple traffic violation, a drunk driving conviction can threaten your finances, freedoms, reputation, and future. If you are confronting DWI charges, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights and liberties.
Contact the skilled Harrisburg criminal defense attorneys
at Curcillo & Maclay for the assertive and strategic representation you need to challenge DUI allegations. Our firm, which is backed by over 90 years of collective practice experience, provides aggressive legal advocacy to the criminally accused.
DUI Penalty Tiers in PA
State law has divided DUI charges into three tiers: general impairment, high rate of impairment, and highest rate of impairment. These levels are determined by the assessed blood alcohol content (BAC) of the defendant. Strict sentencing guidelines are based on what tier you fall into and how many previous offenses you have on your record, if any.
Generally, the higher the tier and the more frequent the offense, the stiffer the penalties. Even first offenders can receive damaging penalties. DWI / DUI penalties in PA include:
License suspension for one year
Up to 6 months in jail
Fines as much as $5,000
Mandatory highway safety education
Court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment
Challenging the Charges
Our team of attorneys includes former prosecutors and a former law professor. We know what judges are looking for when deliberating charges or deciding sentencing. As seasoned legal advocates, we have no qualms in challenging the charges against you or suggesting more lenient sentencing.
& Maclay will not hesitate to employ every method in our strategic arsenal to vigorously defend our clients. Some of our DWI / DUI defense methods include:
Challenging the reasoning behind DUI suspicion
Questioning the procedures carried out in field sobriety tests
Examining the accuracy of BAC tests
Requesting Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) programs in lieu of sentencing
DWI / DUI arrests trigger simultaneous processes, one in criminal court and the other with the PA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You have only 10 days after your arrest to petition for a DMV hearing to protest the suspension of your driver's license.
DUI convictions can threaten your driving privileges, financial stability, and personal freedom. If you have been charged with a DWI in PA, don't delay in obtaining the experienced and aggressive legal representation you need and deserve!
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD): A Second Chance for First-Time Offenders
The ARD program is intended to keep first-time offenders out of the criminal justice system. Depending on the PA county in which you were arrested, you may be eligible for ARD for crimes such as first-offense DWI or DUI, shoplifting, theft, or other non-violent crimes.
The benefits of completing an ARD program are considerable. You will be able to stay out of jail, avoid a driver's license suspension in the case of DUI, and keep your record free from a criminal conviction.
We are highly knowledgeable about county programs and use this knowledge to help clients navigate the system. We serve Dauphin, Perry, Cumberland, and Lebanon counties.
The ARD Process
The primary requirements for admissions to an ARD program include a clean record and an offense that meets the criteria in the specific county. We will attend your preliminary hearing and request ARD if you meet the qualifications.
Once your application is approved by the district attorney's office, you will have another hearing before the judge, during which we will advocate for your placement in the ARD program. The judge will then determine how long you will need to remain in the program, and what you will need to do to demonstrate successful completion of ARD.
Once you have completed the conditions set forth by the judge, we will help you have your record expunged or cleaned. It is critical to have the expungement process completed correctly because potential employers and licensing agencies conduct criminal background checks.
If your record is not properly expunged, it will seem as if you never completed ARD. We work to ensure that this does not happen to you and that your second chance is a true opportunity.
Challenge Your DUI Charges With Advocacy From a Harrisburg DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (also known as "drunk driving" or "driving after imbibing"), you need an attorney who can help you challenge your arrest and your charges. At the law firm of Curcillo & Maclay, our legal team has more than 90 years of combined legal experience, which includes experience defending clients from driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) charges.
Our firm founder, DUI defense attorney, Joseph A. Curcillo, III, has more than 25 years of experience handling criminal cases. As a former prosecutor, he has an in-depth understanding of how the prosecution and law enforcement will build a case against you.
He and the other lawyers on our legal team understand what is at stake in your case and will fight to have your DWI / DUI charges dismissed, or the penalties reduced.
The Importance of Hiring Skilled Defense Counsel
The type of attorney you
select to represent you can majorly impact the outcome of your case. It is best to work with a lawyer who has extensive experience in the field of criminal defense as well as in DUI defense. A skilled and experienced DUI attorney knows what questions to ask to challenge the case against you, including:
Why were you stopped? A police officer must have a good reason to pull you over, such as erratic driving, a broken taillight, or other traffic violation. If the officer did not observe you driving or did not have a sufficient reason to pull you over, then it may have been an illegal stop.
Were field sobriety tests properly performed? Police officers must follow very specific procedures when using field sobriety tests. If they failed to follow those procedures, then we may be able to challenge your arrest.
Was the Breathalyzer or blood test accurate? Breath tests and blood tests must be performed according to police procedures and by a trained professional.
What was your physical condition? An injury, medical condition, or prescribed medication may have led to your arrest, even if you were not intoxicated. Your age and weight may also be a factor in your ability to perform a field sobriety test.
Miranda Rights in DUI Cases
A police officer does not have to read you your Miranda rights until you have been taken into custody and are subject to custodial interrogation. This means that any admission you make to officers before being placed into custody can be used against you in court, even if you had not yet been read your rights.
Multiple Offense DUIs
1. Are you accused of a second or subsequent DUI offense?
Have you been arrested for drunk driving for the second, third, or fourth time? With each conviction for driving under the influence — also known as DUI, DWI, or driving after imbibing — the consequences only get worse. You could face jail time, increased fines, and even the loss of your driver's license.
You don't have to face these charges alone. At our law firm, Curcillo & Maclay, we will stand by your side and help you fight these charges. We provide an aggressive defense for clients facing multiple drunk driving convictions, including felony DUI charges. From our office in Harrisburg, we represent clients throughout Central PA.
Our service areas include Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, Perry, and Cumberland counties.
2. How are the penalties determined?
The penalties you face if you are convicted of another DUI can vary based on a number of factors:
Blood alcohol content (BAC) — The higher your BAC, the more jail
time you could be facing.
Number of previous DUI convictions — If this is your second DUI and you had a high BAC, you could face a mandatory 90 days or up to 5 years in jail and an 18-month license suspension. If it is your third DUI and you had a high BAC, you could spend up to 5 years in jail and face an 18-month license suspension. The more DUI convictions you have on your record, the more severe your penalties will be.
Related traffic violations — If you were charged with reckless driving, arrested with a suspended license, or were driving without insurance, your penalties will increase.
Call 717-651-9100 Today for an Appointment.
& Maclay, we know how to passionately fight for the rights of our clients. We have over 90 years of combined experience as courtroom litigators.
Our mission for 21 years has been dedicated to result-oriented and creative legal strategies combined with in-depth knowledge of the law.
Your rights, liberties, and welfare are our primary concerns.