Philadelphia DUI Lawyer

Law Offices of Mark D. Copoulos

DUI Defense Attorney

Many DUI cases are tried by less experienced district attorneys and treated less seriously by responding officers. This creates an opportunity to win your case.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Controlled Substance is a criminal offense in the state of Pennsylvania.  While a first offense usually results in a non-prison disposition, it must be taken seriously for any individual who is not immediately offered Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”) or a similar rehabilitative program that does not result in complete expungement of their criminal record.

Many DUI offenses are beatable for a myriad of different reasons. In a significant number of DUI cases that are taken to trial, the responding police officer fails to show up to court. Virtually all of these cases are dismissed by the government and very few are ever retried.  Unlike many serious criminal matters, DUIs are often handled by less experienced District Attorneys who fail to present critical evidence during their trials. Many judges are also more willing to find a defendant not guilty of DUI because the stakes are not as high as acquitting an individual of a serious felony offense like Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder.

Sentencing is based on a myriad of factors including .BAC level, prior convictions, and whether the influencing agent was a substance (i.e., drugs) or alcohol. The penalties range substantially. For example, a first-time DUI offender with a .BAC below .08 may face a mandatory minimum sentence of probation.  On the other hand, a third-time offender with a high .BAC (.16+) may face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year incarceration at a state prison. Even a first-time offender faces penalties including license suspension, costs and fines, and alcohol driving safety school. This can be financially devastating and impair your ability to travel to and from work.

There are multiple ways to beat a DUI case.  A Philadelphia DUI lawyer will make significant discovery requests on the Commonwealth.  After examining the evidence the attorney may litigate a motion to suppress evidence.  The motion is usually based on Article 1 Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The most common grounds in DUI cases including challenging the stop of the vehicle, the arrest of the individual, and the requirement that defendant submit to DUI testing. If you can win any of these motions then evidence of intoxication is excluded from the case in chief. The Commonwealth then has an uphill battle of proving you guilty without chemical evidence (i.e., breathalyzers or blood results) or indicia of intoxication (i.e., bloodshot eyes, slurred speech etc.) Recent case law such as Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. (2016) has made challenging blood results easier than ever before. Call now to discuss motion practice as it pertains to the facts of your particular case.

Mandatory Penalties for DUI Convictions

Tier I – General Impairment penalties (Undetermined BAC, .08 to .099% BAC) 

No prior DUI offenses

  • ungraded misdemeanor
  • up to 6 months probation
  • $300 fine
  • alcohol highway safety school
  • treatment when ordered

1 prior DUI offense

  • ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12 month license suspension
  • 5 days to 6 months jail time
  • $300 to $2,500 fine
  • alcohol highway safety school
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

2 or more prior DUI offenses

  • 2nd degree misdemeanor
  • 12 month license suspension
  • 10 days to 2 years prison
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

The new law creates a higher set of penalties for those having higher BAC levels. It allows for treatment at all levels, and requires alcohol highway safety school for all first and second time offenders.

Tier II – High BAC penalties (.10 to .159% BAC)

No prior DUI offenses

  • ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12 month license suspension
  • 48 hours to 6 months prison
  • $500 to $5,000 fine
  • alcohol highway safety school
  • treatment when ordered

1 prior DUI offense

  • ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12 month suspension
  • 30 days to 6 months prison
  • $750 to $5,000 fine
  • alcohol highway safety school
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

2 or more prior DUI offenses

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 90 days to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

3 or more prior DUI offenses

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 1 to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 fine
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

Highest BAC penalties (.16% and higher), Controlled Substance/Drugs, and DUI Conviction With Refusal

No prior DUI offenses

  • ungraded misdemeanor
  • 12 month license suspension
  • 72 hours to 6 months prison
  • $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • alcohol highway safety school
  • treatment when ordered

1 prior DUI offense

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 90 days to 5 years prison
  • $1,500 to $10,00 fine
  • alcohol highway safety school
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

2 or more prior DUI offenses

  • 1st degree misdemeanor
  • 18 month license suspension
  • 1 to 5 years prison
  • $2,500 to $10,000
  • treatment when ordered
  • 1 year ignition interlock

If you face DUI charges, the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos is here to help. Our lawyers are experienced in criminal defense cases pertaining to DUI cases in the City of Philadelphia and will work with you to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.PA, Sentencing Mandatory Minimums

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