First Time DUI Arrest in Montgomery County: Now What?
Every matter involving a first time DUI arrest in Montgomery County, PA will begin at the district court in the township where the offense was alleged to have occurred.
The district court judge will arraign the person charged with the DUI offense. This is a bail hearing.
For a first offense DUI arrest in Montgomery County, PA, the bail is usually set at release on the charged person’s own recognizance. In other words, the person is not required to post bail. Thereafter, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled for the first time offender.
In many cases, the initial complaint against the arrested individual may include traffic offenses and multiple DUI charges. This happens because before the preliminary hearing, the police typically do not have the blood or breathalyzer test results. So they will often add multiple charges to the transcript.
An experienced first offense DUI lawyer in Montgomery County, PA can have these charges negotiated or reduced later.
What Happens Right After a First Time DUI Arrest?
Following a first offense DUI arrest in Montgomery County, PA, chances are that the police will search your car, and get it towed. You will be taken in a police vehicle to the nearest jail or police station, where you will be photographed and fingerprinted.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, you could be released within a few hours after your arrest on your own recognizance or by posting bail. If not, the judge could release you at the preliminary court hearing.
Once you are allowed to use a phone at the jail or the police station, you should ideally use that opportunity to call a first offense DUI attorney in Montgomery, PA, or call a family member or friend to contact one on your behalf. The drunk driving lawyer will be able to assist you with the court process and any related DMV hearings. Their first goal will be to get you released, and negotiate minimum penalties.
First Time DUI Charge – What are the Penalties?
If convicted after a first time DUI arrest in Montgomery County, PA, you will receive six months of probation and a fine of $300 if your BAC is found to be in the range of .08 to .99.
For BAC in the range of .10 to .159, you will face imprisonment for minimum two days to maximum six month, along with a fine of $500 to $1,500 and suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
For BAC above .16, you will face imprisonment from three days to six months, along with a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
First Time DUI Offender’s Program
A knowledgeable and skilled first time DUI attorney in Montgomery County, PA will negotiate with the prosecutors to review your background and other material that shows you in a favorable light.
If the prosecutor determines you are eligible for the first time DUI offender’s program, your lawyer will apply at the district court level and follow up with the DA’s office to ensure you are properly admitted to the program.
The program called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) could help you avoid embarrassment, prison time, and even license suspension. Community service may be imposed in place of stiffer penalties. With ARD program, you can protect your record and ensure that a conviction is not reflected. The record will be expunged upon your successful completion of the program.
Pennsylvania has an implied consent DUI law. This makes it mandatory for you to agree to a police officer’s request for a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine, if the officer suspects you were driving under influence.
A refusal will subject you to more severe penalties, and you will automatically face a DUI conviction. For the first refusal, your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months. The penalties will progressively increase for future refusals.