West Chester Criminal Defense Blog Posts and Articles | Skinner Law Firm

Getting Your License Back After a DUI in Chester County, PA

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Pennsylvania DUI LawyerIt’s only human to make mistakes, but when poor judgment leads to a drunk driving charge, the consequences of a DUI conviction in Chester County can be severe. Not only do you face fines, points on your driving record, and criminal charges, but you’re also looking at a potential suspension of your driving privileges. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is the agency charged with handling driver’s license suspensions, but the actual procedure for getting your license back after a DUI depends on the nature of the charges. It’s wise to retain a DUI license suspension hearing attorney to assist with your case, but some general information is helpful.

DUI-Related Offenses Leading to Driver’s License Suspension

Your driving privileges may be suspended depending on how much alcohol is in your system based upon the results of a chemical test for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC); if you don’t take the test, you can also be penalized with a driver’s license suspension.

  • General Impairment at 08. to .099 Percent: You’re not subject to a suspension until your second or subsequent offense, when your driver’s license may be suspended for up to a year.
  • High BAC of .10 to .159 Percent: Both a first and second offense for High BAC may lead to a one year suspension; at your third DUI violation, it increases to an automatic 18 months.
  • Highest BAC at .160 Percent or Above: The most severe of DUI charges, a Highest BAC carries a one year suspension for the first offense. After that, an 18 month suspension is automatic.
  • Refusing Chemical Testing: If you don’t consent to a test to assess your BAC, your driver’s license is suspended for one year.

Reinstating Your Pennsylvania Driver’s License

In general, you’ll need to satisfy the suspension requirements before you can request that it be reinstated by PennDOT. The best way to figure out exactly what you need to do is to obtain a restoration requirement letter, which will likely instruct you to:

  • Finish an alcohol highway safety course at an approved school;
  • Undergo alcohol and/or drug treatment;
  • Install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car;
  • Finish out a jail sentence, for High and Highest BAC; and,
  • Pay all fines as ordered by the court according to the DUI offense.

A Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer Can Assist with License Reinstatement

You may be tempted to take on your own representation when facing drunk driving charges in Pennsylvania, but there are risks to handling this type of case yourself if you don’t have a legal background. The laws and rules are quite strict, and even a slight mistake can lead to problems with reinstating your driver’s license. An experienced DUI lawyer knows the intricate details of the law and can help you navigate the complicated process. If you have questions about your options, please contact the West Chester, PA offices of the Skinner Law Firm. Our license suspension attorneys will represent your interests and fight for your rights to ensure the best possible outcome.

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Philadelphia DA Trial Moves Forward After Two Arraignments

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West Chester Criminal Defense AttorneyA high-profile criminal trial got underway with jury selection on June 19, 2017, as Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams will defend himself on federal corruption charges that may lead to a prison term up to 20 years. Online news source Philly.com has been reporting on the day-to-day events of the case, which involves more than two dozen counts ranging from fraud and extortion to of bribery. The crimes were announced over two separate arraignment proceedings, where Mr. Williams pleaded not guilty to all charges. The arraignment is a critical stage in the criminal process in Pennsylvania, so it’s important to understand how the proceedings work and what to expect if you have one upcoming in your own case.

Preliminary Arraignment

Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you may be arrested or ordered to appear in court based upon a criminal summons. You will face a preliminary hearing in court to review the written charges against you, and bond may be set for your case if you haven’t already deposited it with the court. From here, the process goes to a preliminary hearing if you’re accused of a felony or to a formal arraignment.

Formal Arraignment and Entry of Plea

At your formal arraignment, you’ll hear the details of the charges against you in open court. The judge will tell you about your rights, including the right to retain a lawyer if you haven’t already. You may respond with a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest if the judge requests you to make such a statement.

Your plea in the formal arraignment is of critical significance. Even in a minor case where you think a guilty plea will be the most convenient, inexpensive route, you will have a criminal record. The crime will show up in an employment background check and may actually eliminate you from certain jobs. Plus, you may even be limited in where you can live: For certain crimes where you must register as a sex offender, you must disclose your criminal past.

If you don’t already have an attorney by the formal arraignment, you can plead not guilty and request time to obtain counsel. This is the best option for protecting your rights in most cases.

Next Phases in the Criminal Process

For a guilty or no contest plea, your case moves immediately to the sentencing phase. You aren’t allowed to present your side of the case or any defense. If you plead not guilty, you can fight the charges – with an attorney to assist.

Legal Representation Throughout a West Chester, PA Criminal Case.

You can see how critical it is to have legal representation when attending an arraignment in a criminal matter, but your chances of obtaining the best possible outcome increase when you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side throughout the entire trial process. A lawyer will force the prosecution to prove every element of the case against you, and will attack any weaknesses to establish your defense. If you have questions about an upcoming arraignment or other stages of criminal proceedings, please contact the Skinner Law Firm in West Chester, PA. Our experienced attorneys can provide more information on your options or set up a case assessment to discuss a strategy for your defense.

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