Aggressive Pennsylvania DUI/DWI Lawyer Fights to Protect Your Rights
Bethlehem attorney mounts strong defense and works to restore your driving privileges
Drunk-driving charges in Pennsylvania hold the potential for criminal penalties, including jail, as well as the loss of your driver’s license for a lengthy period of time. It’s important to understand your rights if you are stopped for allegedly driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You also need experienced, capable counsel to protect your rights. At the Law Office of David Kennedy Bifulco, P.C. in Bethlehem, I have represented clients in DUI/DWI cases in the Philadelphia area for more than two decades. I will fight to achieve the best outcome possible in the circumstances of your case.
Counseling on your rights at a DUI/DWI traffic stop
Pennsylvania, like many states, follows the rule of implied consent, meaning that as a condition of holding a driver’s license, you agree to submit to a breath or blood test if you are suspected of drunk driving. Refusing to take a test is an offense in itself that will result in immediate license suspension. Your license also will be suspended if you take the test and it shows a blood alcohol level (BAC) of at least .08 percent. You are better advised to take the test, since it preserves your right to raise challenges later on.
Providing prompt, effective assistance after arrest
Once a breath or alcohol test has been given and you are found to be driving while impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an arrest will follow. You have the right to refuse to answer any police questions to avoid self-incrimination. You also may refuse a request to search your vehicle. You should ask to contact a lawyer and, if possible, call the lawyer on your cellphone at the scene or at the police station. Whenever I get the call, I take prompt action to secure my client’s release.
Challenging the evidence in court
As your attorney, I will conduct discovery to obtain and preserve evidence useful in mounting a defense. Among the defenses I can raise is whether the police can articulate facts supporting their suspicion that you were driving while impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If they can’t, you may have been illegally subjected to a breath or blood test. If the police at the scene failed to read you a statement laying out the consequences of refusing the test or of failing it, the test results may not be admissible in court. Challenges may also be raised to the police officers’ conduct of the test and to the equipment’s functionality.
Mitigating the consequences of conviction
In Pennsylvania, the penalties for DUI/DWI generally depend on the degree of intoxication determined by the breath or blood test.
- General impairment — A BAC level of .08 percent to .099 percent carries, on a first offense, a sentence of up to six months’ probation and a $300 fine.
- High BAC — A BAC of .10 percent to .159 percent can draw 48 hours to six months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000 for a first offense, plus a 12-month license suspension.
- Highest BAC — A BAC of .16 percent or higher, or driving under the influence of a controlled substance, can draw 72 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 on a firsts offense, plus a 12-month license suspension.
- Test refusal — For refusing to take a breath or blood test, you may be subject to a one-year suspension of your license on a first offense or 18 months on a second or subsequent offense.
Second and subsequent convictions result in greater penalties. Wherever possible, I work to reduce your charges and to seek the least punishment the law allows.
In addition, you must complete an alcohol highway education program and may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicles for a prescribed length of time. There are also court fees and costs, along with license restoration fees and increased insurance premiums.
Contact a knowledgeable Pennsylvania defense lawyer for a free consultation
I understand the intricacies of Pennsylvania DUI/DWI law and have succeeded in frequently getting charges dismissed or reduced. Call the Law Office of David Kennedy Bifulco, P.C. at 610-676-0650 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation at my Bethlehem office.