Criminal Defense Attorney
Hank J. Clarke
Criminal Defense Attorney
For more than 30 years, we have been serving the legal needs of Central Pennsylvania including the Williamsport, Lewisburg, Canton, Towanda, Wellsboro, Sunbury, Shamokin, Danville, Bloomsburg, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas.
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Driving Under the Influence
In 2012, there were over 49,000 arrests in Pennsylvania for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substances, with over 400 fatalities. Over the past decade, there has been a sharper focus on driving under the influence with more funding for police scrutiny and more efforts for public awareness. This has paid off with a decline in DUI offenses and a 24% decrease in fatalities.*
However, in some cases, drivers have been victims of overzealous police officers or faulty testing equipment. If you have been drinking and driving, and the results of alcohol testing show you are over the legal limit, you should arrange a consultation with an attorney immediately so that he or she can review your paperwork to determine the best plan of action for defending the charges filed against you. Pleading guilty without legal representation is not a wise decision. Initially, your attorney may secure a lower bail and arrange for your release from jail so that you can continue working. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea agreement that will lower your fine, lower the length of incarceration/probation and possibly avoid or minimize the suspension of your driver’s license.
There are several options available for negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor. First-time offenders may be eligible for a pretrial diversionary program like ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition). ARD is a probation period, which, when successfully completed, allows for the charges to be expunged or removed from your criminal record. Certain criteria must be met before you can be admitted to this program. Your attorney can explain what is required for acceptance and outline the program requirements.
If you are a repeat offender of DUI, your attorney may be able to secure a reduced jail term and reduce the fines you will be required to pay. In addition, many counties in Pennsylvania have DUI Treatment Court and your attorney may be able to negotiate your entrance to this program. The goal of such a program is to provide rehabilitation in order to treat addicts and reduce repeat offenses and it may lower your length of incarceration.
There are three levels of Driving Under the Influence charges in Pennsylvania. Your penalties are determined by what your blood alcohol level is and how many prior DUI charges you have. DUIs within 10 years are counted as priors and enhance the severity of your sentence. The Judge can consider DUIs outside 10 years as well.
If you are arrested for a DUI, contact us immediately.
*The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility