Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Delaware County and can have many consequences. Under Pennsylvania State Law 75, Section 3803, the grading of DUI offenses, an individual who has three or more prior offenses or has been previously convicted of homicide by DUI, commits a felony of the third degree if they are found to be DUI again. Along with the felony DUI, they will most likely be charged with driving on a suspended license, so there will be additional jail time possible for that charge. There will be two fronts to fight for the defendant if they are facing felony DUI charges.
Felony DUI charges are difficult to defend because they are taken very seriously by the prosecuting bodies and the officers. There will be extra efforts taken to make sure they get blood or breath evidence or to use a refusal to provide evidence against the person who is being prosecuted.
A felony DUI requires a serious defense because of the nature of how severe the consequences are for a DUI felony. Following a charge for driving under the influence, it is best to seek help from a Delaware County felony DUI lawyer. One of the first steps a knowledgeable DUI attorney will take is to investigate the prior offenses to determine if they would count against the defendant and make it a felony. Additionally, the defense attorney will investigate the car stop, the evidence the police have to bear, and any signs of intoxication so that they can be rebutted at a trial or a preliminary hearing.
In Delaware County, a felony DUI penalty is at least ten days to two years mandatory for a low amount of alcohol, 0.08 to 0.10, fines of $500 to $5,000, license suspension for one year, and ignition interlock for one year.
If the person has a BAC between 0.10 and 0.16, then the mandatory jail sentence is one year to five years, $1,500 to $10,000 fine, 18 months license suspension, and ignition interlock for one year. Then, if the person has a BAC 0.16 or higher, or drugs in their system, then the penalties are one to five years mandatory jail time, $2,500 to $10,000 fine, license suspension for 18 months, and an ignition interlock for 18 months.
An attorney who is experienced with driving under the influence cases could help those who have been charged with a DUI avoid the harsh consequences of a guilty conviction.
A felony DUI will have a similar case process but much higher possible consequences than a misdemeanor DUI. A felony DUI will start with a preliminary hearing to hear the charges at a magistrate courthouse local to the area where the arrest or car stop took place. From there, it will move on and go to the entire level at the common pleas court, but it will be taken seriously by the prosecutors and the court because this means the person is on their third or more DUI offense within the last ten years.
It is important to seek the help of an experienced lawyer because defending the case properly at the magistrate court for later success at the common pleas court when defending these cases includes knowledge of how the police force operates, how the courts like to operate, and knowledge of Pennsylvania law as it applies to DUIs.
You should not try to handle your case alone. Let a knowledgeable Delaware County felony DUI lawyer help. Call today to schedule a consultation.