25 Jan 19

Philadelphia DUI Lawyers

| by

Last Updated on: 1st September 2023, 12:35 am

One of the most common criminal charges in Philadelphia is driving under the influence (DUI). Although it is a common criminal offense, it’s also so has one of the most strictest penalties the state has. For example, you could spend as long as two years in prison if you are convicted DUI for the third time. That’s why it is important to contact a DUI lawyer immediately to learn more about fighting your DUI charge.

Philadelphia DUI Categories

The Commonwealth breaks a DUI offense into three separate categories. Let’s start with explaining what will cause a driver to get a DUI charge. In Philadelphia, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. This is according to Pennsylvania law outlined in 2003 Act 24 of the Crimes and Offenses Statute.

The higher the BAC level, the higher the DUI charge. Here is the punishment for a first-time DUI charge:

1. General Impairment: 0.08 percent to 0.099 percent
2. High Blood Alcohol Concentration: 0.10 percent to 0.159 percent
3. Highest BAC: 0.16 percent and higher. The highest BAC includes drugged driving and refusing to take a breathalyzer test. Drugged driving involves operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, not alcohol. A breathalyzer test is a roadside test police give to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol. It takes a sample of your breath. It is against the law to refuse to take the test because each driver provides implied consent to the test when they operate a motor vehicle.

It is important to contact a Philadelphia dui lawyer if you are charged with first, second, third or subsequent DUI charge.

Factors In a First DUI Offense

In the Commonwealth, prosecutors like to make examples out of first time DUI offenders in hopes of preventing a second offense. They also want to prevent other from driving under the influence. If you have a clean driving record and no criminal history, you still face some harsh DUI penalties. Some factors that influence the outcome of a first-time DUI conviction include:

1. Your age
2. Age of any passengers in the vehicle
3. The degree of injuries sustained by victims (if there was a crash) or any property damage
4. Your alleged level of impairment (general, high BAC or highest BAC).
5. Your driver status such as working as a commercial vehicle driver

DUI Penalties in Philadelphia
As we mentioned, DUI penalties increase with each DUI offense or the circumstances surrounding the offense. Here are some of the penalties associated with a DUI conviction:

First DUI, General Impairment is a misdemeanor. You face six months of probation, fine and alcohol highway safety school and treatment (if ordered).
First DUI, High BAC is an ungraded misdemeanor. You face two days to six months in county jail, fine, license suspension and safety school and treatment.
First DUI, Highest BAC is an ungraded misdemeanor. You face three days to six months in county jail, license suspension, fines, safety school and treatment.

The DUI charges can increase if prosecutors have other factors develop later. These factors include being charged with additional DUIs and someone was injured or property was damaged.

Contact Our Law Offices about Your DUI Case

When facing a DUI charge, you need the best DUI Philadelphia lawyers in town. We are your DUI Philadelphia lawyers. By emphasizing certain details and facts, while seeking to suppress other evidence that will hinder the case, we mitigate the consequences of the charge.
We will work to get your case dismissed while we build a solid defense for you. It is your legal right to defend yourself against this charge. It doesn’t matter if you think Commonwealth prosecutors have all the evidence they need to convict you. This is your moment to defend yourself against a DUI charge and avoid the harsh penalties associated with a conviction of DUI. Contact us now.

Philadelphia DUI Lawyers

There are several reasons that someone may drive carelessly. In some cases, careless driving is not the person’s fault. For example, one is taking a medication that causes them to get drowsy while they are driving. They drive over the guardrail because they fell asleep behind the wheel. This is an example of careless driving, and one can still get a ticket for it.

If you get a moving violation ticket, then there are many problems that can result. You may get points on your license. You may also have to pay more for your car insurance. You may also get your license suspended. That is why it is important for you to have a good Philadelphia dui defense attorney. You may be able to minimize or avoid punishment.

Key Things You Will Need to Know About Careless Driving

You can get a ticket if you are caught driving carelessly. Careless driving is the act of driving without regard for the safety of others or property. It is important to note that careless driving is not as serious reckless driving. Reckless driving is intentional.

You may get three points added to your driving record if you are charged with careless driving. The consequences may be worse if you injure someone while you are driving carelessly. You can be fined $250. If you kill someone, then you may have to pay $500. You may also spend up to 90 days in jail if you hurt or kill someone while driving carelessly.

Examples of Careless Driving

  • Making illegal lane changes
  • Holding a cell phone while you are driving
  • Falling asleep while driving
  • Speeding
  • Not using signals while turning
  • Not obeying the traffic lanes

What You Will Need to Do if A Police Officer Pulls You Over

  • You should turn the ignition off, but you should not get out of the car unless the police officer tells you to.
  • You should not argue with the police officer
  • You will need to be polite when interacting with the police officers.

Can I Get Another Charged With Another Crime?

It is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania to text while you are driving. That is why if you are caught texting while driving, then you may face additional charges. You may be charged a fine. You will also have to pay court courts. Additionally, you may be fined if you are caught driving without a seatbelt.

Why Do I Need A Philadelphia DUI Attorney if I Am Facing A Careless Driving Charge?

It is best for you to speak with a Philadelphia DUI attorney as soon as you are caught driving carelessly. This is especially important if you have hurt someone or damage property. If you have prior offenses, then the penalties may be worse. An attorney will help you determine the best course of action to take.

It is possible for you to get your case settled out of court. However, if your case does have to go to court, then your careless driving attorney will be able to represent you. The attorney will work hard to discredit evidence that the prosecutors try to use against you.

The Top Defenses That Can Be Used for Careless Driving

  • Your driving did not endanger people or property.
  • The police did not advise you of the rights that you have. This is known as the Miranda violation.
  • The police investigation was sloppy. For example, the police did not document any evidence that could be used in your favor.
Points System in Pennsylvania

Many people mistakingly believe that once you get a driver’s license in Pennsylvania that the privilege is for life. That simply is not true. There are different ways that you can lose your license for a period of time. The state has implemented a points system. Every time you are issued a certain citation, you will receive so many points added to your driving record. If you reach a certain limit, penalties will be incurred. There is also the potential that your insurance company will raise your rates as a result of this. Because of this, it is important for you to fight any traffic ticket that you receive in order to possibly get the number of points reduced or taken away altogether. This is best done with a professional and experienced Philadelphia dui lawyer working on your behalf.

The Points System Explained

You can think of the points system for your driver’s license in a similar fashion to that of demerits when you were in school. Having a few might be ok, but none is better. When you get too many, there will be consequences. In the state of Pennsylvania, a certain number of points will be added to your driving record with each traffic citation that you receive. The number of points depends upon the severity of the offense.

Here are some examples of traffic violations and the number of points attached to each:

  • Failing to stop when there is a red light – 3 points
  • Not paying attention when there is a flashing red light – 3 points
  • Not yielding where there is oncoming traffic – 3 points
  • Passing on a hill in an improper manner – 3 points
  • Not yielding properly – 3 points
  • Going around a train gate that has been lowered – 4 points and a license suspension
  • Failing to stop for a school bus when its red lights are flashing – 5 points and a license suspension
  • Going over the posted speed limit in a school zone – 3 points
  • Failing to yield when there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk – 2 points
  • Driving in a careless way – 3 points
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident that results in damage to property – 4 points
  • Excessive speeding – 3 to 5 points depending on how much over the speed limit you were going

As you can see, there are quite a few violations that can result in points being added to your driving record. These can add up quite quickly if you have had a particularly bad year of driving, so it is important to have a Philadelphia dui lawyer working on and fighting these violations before you suffer more severe consequences.

Accumulating Six or More Points On Your Record

As you will notice, two violations will easily result in you having six points. When that happens, your insurance company will be automatically notified of that fact. This is when you can almost count on your rates going up. You will also be required to take another written exam, and pass it. This must occur within thirty days of your sixth point. If you do not pass by then, your license is suspended until such time that you are able to pass the test. There are also more severe penalties if you accumulate another six points.

Contact Our Office

The bottom line is that you want to do everything that you can to keep points off of your driving record. If you are issued a traffic citation, it is better to let us fight it for you. Just letting the points hit your record is not usually a wise thing to do. We will do our best to help you keep your driving record as clean as possible.

Philadelphia Drag Racing Lawyers

Imagine this scenario. You and your buddy just bought a few performance vehicles. According to the salesperson, your vehicle can accelerate at the drop of a dime. You wonder if your car can outperform your buddy’s car. What’s the harm in a little drag racing to satisfy your curiosity?

Although drag racing can be fun and exciting for some people, you should be aware that it is illegal in Pennsylvania. Police officers are on the look out for these types of activities. If you get pulled over for drag racing on a Pennsylvania road, you could be arrested on the spot.

Drag Racing in Pennsylvania: What You Should Know
The only place that it’s acceptable to race other cars is on a speedway. When you participate in a drag race on a road, you are breaking the law.

A common misconception is more than one car has to be involved in drag racing. The reality is you can be charged with drag racing if you’re speeding down the road trying to set a record.

Another interesting thing is spectators can be ticketed for watching a drag race. You don’t even have to be a driver to be held accountable for drag racing.

Consequences of Drag Racing
It’s a privilege to be issued a driver’s license from the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles. Like all privileges, your driving privileges can be revoked if you operate your vehicle in an unsafe manner.

Your license could be suspended for up to six months as a result of drag racing. In addition, the court could require you to pay expensive fines.

When you operate your vehicle at excessive speeds, other people lives are put at risk. Drag racing can cause serious injuries to other people or fatalities.

You’ve Been Arrested for Drag Racing in Pennsylvania: Now What?
It’s likely that you are trying to have a little fun when you drag race. However, the police won’t see it that way if you get caught. Their job is to protect the public from a variety of dangers.

Don’t be surprised if the police arrest you and take you to jail. If this happens, the worst thing you can do is attempt to resist the arrest or be confrontational. Calmly allow the police officers to arrest you without putting up a fight. Never try to keep police officers from doing their jobs.

If the arresting officers attempt to ask questions, politely decline to respond to the questions. Ask to speak with a criminal defense attorney.

How a Pennsylvania Attorney Can Help
Whether it’s drag racing or driving at excessive speeds, getting arrested and charged with a crime is serious business. You shouldn’t try to face the Pennsylvania court system without skilled legal counsel.

There are several benefits of hiring an attorney to work on your behalf. You won’t have to navigate through the Pennsylvania court system on your own. Your lawyer will review your case and attempt to discredit any adverse evidence.

Another benefit is your lawyer may be able to help you keep your driving privileges. Once your lawyer at Todd Spodek Law Offices reviews the case, the best course of action will be determined.

You should know that each case is different. Your case’s outcome depends on the evidence in your case. Regardless of the situation, you’ll have help from our experienced attorneys.

Todd Spodek Law Office is Here for You
Let our team of experienced lawyers defend you against your drag racing charges. We understand the drag racing laws in Pennsylvania. This knowledge is beneficial to achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Contact one of our offices in Philadelphia, Feasterville or Norristown to schedule your consultation.

Vehicular Homicide Lawyers

Johnny and Eric are both strapping 21-year old friends who like to live on the edge. One early morning around 2:00 a.m., they decided to use a four-lane street for drag racing. There were no other drivers to interfere with their fun, so they parked side-by-side at a streetlight. Eric’s girlfriend, Cathy, waved her arm to give them the go ahead, and off they went reaching over 100 mph. Before they could reach the gas station, their agreed-on finish line, Johnny lost control while driving too fast for the road’s curve. He swerved off the road and hit a vagrant who was walking roadside. The pedestrian died instantly.

In Pennsylvania, Johnny would be charged with vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is recklessly or with gross negligence causing the death of another while violating laws covering the operation of a vehicle or traffic regulations.

Gross Negligence

There are two types of negligence: simple and gross negligence. Simple negligence occurs when an individual owes a duty of care, fails to exercise that duty and injures or kills another person. The individual’s failure to exercise his duty of care is the direct cause of the injury or death.

For a driver, the duty of care is at minimum to abide by all traffic laws. This duty of care protects pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists. If a person runs a stop sign because he didn’t see it in time and kills a cyclist as a result, then he is negligent for failing to exercise care and consequently causing the death of the cyclist.

Gross negligence is simple negligence PLUS a reckless disregard for the safety of others. There is an element of awareness, willfulness or intentionality when someone acts with gross negligence. For example, in contrast to a driver who runs a four way stop because he didn’t see the sign, a driver who knowingly races through a four way stop is intentionally failing to perform his duty of care. If a pedestrian or any other person is killed because of a driver’s willful failure to perform his duty of care while he is driving, then he has committed vehicular homicide.

In Johnny’s case, he knowingly sped in excess of the speed limit, lost control as a result and killed a pedestrian.

Penalties for Vehicular Homicide

In Pennsylvania, vehicular homicide is a felony of the third degree, and the perpetrator may be sentenced to no more than seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. If the event occurred in an active work zone, then an additional five years may be added to the sentence. If there are additional violations, such as texting while driving or driving without a license, then an additional five years may also be added to the sentence.

What about DUIs?

If Johnny had been driving while under the influence when he killed the vagrant, then he has committed homicide by a vehicle while driving under the influence. This may be a second-degree or first-degree felony depending on any of the driver’s prior convictions. The sentencing for a second degree is three to ten years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $25,000. Unlike with vehicular homicide, which is a grossly negligent action, a charge of homicide by a vehicle while driving under the influence is not dependent on the driver’s willfulness to break traffic laws when he killed another person. This means that a person does not have to commit the action intentionally so that impairment due to drunkenness is not a defense.

Legal Counsel

A charge of vehicular homicide requires help from an experienced attorney. Expert assistance is essential to collecting the appropriate evidence, securing expert witnesses, and properly discrediting potentially damaging evidence. If you are facing a charge of vehicular homicide, contact an attorney to help guide you through the best approach to your defense.

Will I Have to Serve a Jail Sentence for My Philadelphia DUI?

When a person is charged or convicted with a DUI in Philadelphia, there is a chance that he or she will need to serve time in jail. Whether jail time is necessary depends on the facts of the case and the previous record of the person who was taken into custody. It also depends on whether the judge or prosecutor is willing to be lenient on an individual.

Are You A First Offender?

If this is your first offense for driving under the influence, it is more likely than not that you will receive a sentence that doesn’t include jail time. In fact, it may be possible to keep your drivers license to help you get to work and other select destinations. Typically, those who have no prior record of driving drunk will receive a suspended sentence or put on probation. However, there is no guarantee that this will be the case, so it may be worthwhile to talk with an attorney prior to admitting guilt.

Are There Aggravating Circumstances?

Aggravating circumstances could increase the odds that you are sent to jail or prison after being convicted of DUI. For instance, if you hurt or killed someone, it may be tough to argue that you won’t be a threat to public safety. Another aggravating factor may be your blood alcohol content level at the time that you were taken into custody. In Illinois, those with a BAC of .16 percent or higher may be eligible for increased penalties regardless of their previous record.

Have You Shown Remorse for Your Actions?

Whether or not a person receives leniency from a judge or not depends on how remorseful that person may be. It may be a good idea to apologize to the judge or to anybody who you may have hurt because of your actions. It may also be a good idea to show that you have taken steps to make sure that it won’t happen again. Examples of such steps include entering rehab or speaking to kids about the dangers of drinking and driving.

What Do the Victims Have to Say?

If the person who you hurt thinks that you should not face the maximum sentence, a judge will likely take that into consideration. The same is true if the family of the victim who you killed while driving drunk suggests that you get off easy. However, this does not mean that you won’t be subject to jail time, and other facts in the case may prove as or more compelling when deciding your fate.

Do Prosecutors Think You Should Remain Free?

The prosecution is generally the party that drafts a plea agreement. In some cases, the judge may also be a party to such negotiations. If the prosecutor or the judge doesn’t believe that you should avoid a jail sentence, it is likely that you will spend at least 30-60 days behind bars. In some cases, you may be required to spend the full year in jail but with a portion of the sentence suspended.

Is House Arrest an Option?

While no one enjoys the thought of being cooped up at home for months at a time, it may be preferable to spending time in jail. House arrest may be ideal for those who have medical or other issues that may not be adequately addressed while in jail. It may also be helpful for parents or for those who need to take care of an ailing loved one. A judge will have to make the determination as to whether such an arrangement is in the best interest of the people of Philadelphia.

Can a Sentence Be Suspended?

Yes, a jail sentence may be suspended if there is reason to believe that doing so is appropriate. This may occur in cases where parents need to get to work to support their children or if a person’s BAC was at or just over the legal limit. In general, the judge must believe that you are not a threat to be a repeat offender when making such a decision.

If you are convicted of a DUI, there is a chance that you will spend time in jail. However, there are also numerous other ways that a case may be resolved. Therefore, make sure to talk with an attorney who may be able to help resolve the matter in a favorable manner.

What happens if I choose not to appear for my Philadelphia DUI arraignment

When you receive a DUI charge in Philadelphia, the court may set an arraignment date in the future. The court will order you appear at the arraignment date. You may wonder what happens if you don’t go to your Philadelphia DUI arraignment. Here’s what you can expect if you choose not to appear at your Philadelphia DUI arraignment:

The court may re-notice the arraignment

If you’re lucky, the court gives you the benefit of the doubt, and they send out another notice for a second arraignment date. The notice goes to the address that you give law enforcement at the time of your arrest. If the address isn’t valid, you may not receive this notice.

The second notice that the court sends out is a new order to appear in court for an arraignment. A second arraignment date is optional on the court’s part. They can skip this step and proceed straight to penalties and a bench warrant.

The judge may find you in contempt of court

Even if the court re-notices your arraignment for a later date, the court may simultaneously issue a show cause notice for contempt of court. That’s an order that you prove to the court that you shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for willfully failing to appear at your arraignment date. The court can fine you or even revoke your bond if they hold you in contempt of court.

The court may swear out a warrant for your arrest

The court has the option to issue a warrant for your arrest. They don’t have to give you multiple chances to appear in court. They also don’t have to contact you to find out if you have a good reason for missing court. The court can jump right to issuing a bench warrant for your arrest. When the court issues a bench warrant for your arrest, the police can arrest you and hold you in jail until you can appear before the judge. The end result may be that you spend several days in jail waiting for an available judge.

They may come and arrest you

The police may wait until you come to law enforcement’s attention. You might find yourself pulled over in the future for a routine traffic stop only to find yourself arrested and transferred to jail to address the DUI charge. On the other hand, the police may come to your location to make their arrest. When you choose not to appear for your Philadelphia DUI arraignment, you live with the uncertainty of wondering when you have to face the charge in the future.

You may sit in jail until your next court date

A judge that’s unhappy with you for missing your arraignment date can hold a new bond hearing on the spot. If they don’t believe that you’re going to show up for future court dates, they may revoke your bond and order you to wait in jail until your case resolves. You might end up serving days, weeks or months in jail that you may not have served otherwise even if you’re ultimately convicted of DUI. Any time that you serve in jail may count as credit towards your jail sentence if you’re convicted and you receive jail time.

You forfeit your bond

You likely posted a bond when you left jail after your initial arrest. The bond is your guarantee that you’re going to appear at all of your court dates including your arraignment date. If you miss your court date, you lose your bond. The money is simply forfeited to the court.

Are the charges dismissed?

Many people make the mistake of assuming that if they get away with not addressing their Philadelphia DUI charges long enough, the charges against them must be dismissed. They assume that the statute of limitations applies to result in a dismissal of the charges. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that the state has to bring the case against you. Once the case is filed, if you choose not to show up, the case remains outstanding. When the police eventually find you, they can bring the case against you even years into the future.

You should appear for your arraignment

In all cases, your best bet is to appear at your scheduled arraignment. If you’re from out of the area, a Philadelphia DUI attorney can work to help you modify the scheduled arraignment date or ask the court to waive your arraignment. However, until any changes are approved by the court, you must appear for your court date. Addressing the charges is the best possible path to resolving your case and putting the incident behind you.