Erie County DWI Lawyers
Erie County DWI Lawyers Committed to Formulating Aggressive Defense Strategies for Clients Arrested on DWI Charges
Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is illegal in Erie County and throughout Pennsylvania. The penalties for even a first-offense DWI conviction can be severe, and the prosecution can impose even more serious penalties if you have been convicted of DWI charges in the prior ten-year period. Despite this, many clients mistakenly believe that the BAC reading is the sole important piece of evidence governing whether the charge will succeed—when in many cases, our experienced DWI defense lawyers can present a successful defense to DWI charges.
We cannot place enough stress on the fact that a DWI conviction is a criminal conviction that can stain your permanent criminal record for years into the future. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our skilled DWI defense lawyers understand the nuances of the legal system that applies in DWI cases and are committed to protecting clients’ rights to obtain the best possible results for all of our clients. If you have been arrested on DWI charges in Erie County, contact us today to see how we can work to protect your future and freedom.
Three-Tier Penalty System for Erie County DWI Charges
The penalties that will apply if you are convicted of a DWI charge in Erie County vary based upon both the level of alcohol that registers on your breath test and whether you have any prior offenses. Generally, for first-offense DWI charges, the following penalties may apply:
- First tier BAC of 0.08 to 0.099: $300 in monetary fines, up to six months’ probation, participation in alcohol highway safety school and potential court-mandated treatment.
- Second tier BAC of 0.10 to 0.159: two days-six months’ jail time, $500 in monetary fines, one-year license suspension, participation in alcohol highway safety school, installation of an ignition interlock device in your car for one year and potential court-mandated treatment.
- Third tier BAC of 0.16 or higher: three days-six months’ jail time, $1,000-$5,000 in monetary fines, one-year license suspension, participation in alcohol highway safety school, installation of an ignition interlock device in your car for one year and potential court-mandated treatment.
The penalties for second and third offenders also increase in severity along with the BAC reading. For example, for a third offender with a third-tier BAC level of 0.16 percent or higher, the mandatory jail sentence increases to between 90 days and five years, and monetary fines can reach $10,000.
Arrested on DWI Charges in Erie County? Our Skilled DWI Defense Lawyers Build Strong Defense Strategies to Minimize Consequences of Conviction
In addition to the prospect of jail time and substantial monetary fines, a conviction for driving while intoxicated in Erie County can also cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket. Perhaps even more substantial is the fact that you will have a criminal conviction on your record, which can adversely impact your ability to get a job, find a place to live or even gain admission to college. Possible defenses to DWI include:
- Challenging the officer’s probable cause for the traffic stop,
- Questioning whether the breathalyzer machine was properly calibrated or maintained,
- Proper procedures were not followed, including improper handling of a blood test,
- Asserting that the law enforcement officials violated your constitutional rights.
Alternative Dispositions of DWI Charges in Erie County, PA
For certain first offenders, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD) can provide an alternative option for avoiding criminal conviction entirely. To complete this program, participants must:
- Attend alcohol highway safety school,
- Submit to court-supervised drug and alcohol screening,
- Pay any applicable fines and/or restitution,
- Complete any community service ordered by the court,
- Complete a probation period without incurring any additional offenses,
- In some cases involving second or third tier BAC levels, complete a 30 or 60-day license suspension period.
If you have already been convicted, our DWI defense lawyers may also be able to appeal a DWI conviction under certain circumstances, including situations where your previous lawyer committed some type of error in presenting your case.
Contact Our Veteran Team of DWI Defense Lawyers to Discuss Your Erie County Case Today
A DWI arrest does not automatically result in a criminal conviction, and our DWI defense lawyers are here to help explore options for minimizing the adverse consequences in your case. If you have been arrested on DWI charges in Erie County, call our skilled DWI defense lawyers today to see how we can help in your case. You can also fill out this online contact form or use our online chat option to get legal help.
About Erie County, PA
Erie County, as the name suggests, is situated along Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. The judicial system in Erie County is comprised of nine judges and 15 magistrate district judges. Erie County’s courthouse is near the Perry Square area in downtown Erie, and clients who are arrested on DWI charges may be taken to the Erie County prison upon arrest.
Frequently Asked Questions About DWI Defense Strategies in Erie County, PA
FAQ: Can I refuse to take the breathalyzer test if I am pulled over and accused of driving under the influence in Erie County?
You can refuse a breathalyzer test, but that refusal does not mean that the officer cannot arrest you. As long as the arresting officer had probable cause to pull you over and order the breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for one year under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law (which generally provides that you consent to a breath test by the simple act of driving a car in the state). The license suspension will continue even if you are not actually convicted of DWI.
FAQ: Who is eligible to participate in Pennsylvania’s ARD program?
Generally, you may be able to participate in the ARD program and avoid criminal conviction for a DWI in Erie County if this was your first DWI offense within the prior ten-year period, no passenger under the age of 14 was in the vehicle when you were arrested and no one was seriously injured if your DWI arrest involved an accident.