V. Erik Petersen

DUI

Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney

The most frequently asked question in this area is "Do I really need a lawyer for a drunk driving case?" The answer is YES! A DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge is more complex then meets the eye. It is not just a simple matter of knowing the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and then determining what the outcome might be. An experienced lawyer in this area knows the legal aspects as well as the technical aspects of this area of the law. Whether you were arrested for a DUI last night or stopped several weeks ago and just received a summons from the court stating that you have been charged with a DUI, you need an experienced lawyer on your side.

Even if you already had your first court appearance known as a Preliminary Hearing it is not too late to get the help you need. Whatever your circumstances, if you are facing a DUI charge (also known as DAI or DWI), you need to see a lawyer right away. At the Law Offices of V. Erik Petersen, I have guided hundreds of people through the applicable DUI laws, and resulting hearings, negotiations, and trials. The sooner you consult me, the more I will be able to assist you.
Contact me, DUI defense attorney V. Erik Petersen, to discuss your legal options in more detail.

Anatomy of a DUI Case
First, I read the police report. This may sound obvious, but I know some lawyers who do not read the report word for word. I find out why the police stopped you or how they came in contact with you on the day in question. I find out if there was a breath test or a blood test. Sometimes, I can challenge the tests if they were not properly carried out. In other cases I can challenge the legality of the car stop that lead to the charges as the police need a legitimate reason (known as probable cause) to pull you over. If you encountered a DUI checkpoint there are other issues to research including whether the police followed the correct procedures in setting up the checkpoint.

The first court appearance you will face is a Preliminary Hearing. What happens at the Preliminary Hearing depends upon the circumstances of the case. I can argue for a dismissal of the charges, negotiate a reduction of the charges, or begin the process of establishing a solid DUI defense. I also find out the police's side of the story, so that I can formulate a response.

    * Throughout these proceedings, I strive to accomplish two things. First, I try to find a hole in the prosecution's theory. If that hole is large enough, I can use it during our negotiations with the prosecutor or as a defense at trial.
    * If a dismissal or not guilty verdict is not possible, I suggest creative or alternative sentencing procedures. My highest priority is to minimize the impact of this event and to keep my client out of jail.
    * Pennsylvania has mandatory sentences for all persons charged with DUI. These charts outline the mandatory jail time that applies whether you are a first time offender or a subsequent offender.


FIRST TIME OFFENDERS: PLEASE READ ABOUT A SPECIAL PROGRAM KNOWN AS ACCELERATED REHABILITATIVE DISPOSITION ("ARD") THAT ELIMINATES THE JAIL TIME AND REDUCES ANY LICENSE SUSPENSION.

First Offense (DUI / Drunk Driving)

Blood Alcohol Content 0.08 - .099% 0.10 - .159% 0.16% and above
Minimum Sentence n/a 2 days 3 days
Maximum Sentence n/a 6 months 6 months
License Suspension n/a 12 months 12 months

 


Second Offense (DUI / Drunk Driving)

Blood Alcohol Content 0.08 - .099% 0.10 - .159% 0.16% and above
Minimum Sentence 5 days 30 days 90 days
Maximum Sentence 6 months 6 months 5 years
License Suspension 12 months 12 months 12 months

 


Third Offense (DUI / Drunk Driving)

Blood Alcohol Content 0.08 - .099% 0.10 - .159% 0.16% and above
Minimum Sentence 10 days 90 days 1 year
Maximum Sentence 2 years 5 years 5 years
License Suspension 12 months 18 months 18 months

 


Fourth and Subsequent Offenses (DUI / Drunk Driving)

Blood Alcohol Content 0.08 - .099% 0.10 - .159% 0.16% and above
Minimum Sentence 10 days 1 year 1 year
Maximum Sentence 2 years 5 years 5 years
License Suspension 12 months 18 months 18 months


I tell all of my clients "do not panic" after looking at this chart. When you hire me you are hiring me to attempt to at least minimize, if not completely avoid, the jail time outlined above. This is not possible in all cases. However, I have a strong success rate in this area. Also, some first and even second time offenders may be eligible for a "work license". I can also assist those who qualify obtain a work license.

If you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer,
Contact me for a free initial consultation. I am located in Harleysville, Montgomery County Pennsylvania.

The Law Offices of V. Erik Petersen represents clients throughout Pennsylvania including the cities of Lansdale, Norristown, North Wales, Kulpsville, Collegeville, Blue Bell, Reading, Doylestown, Pottstown, Philadelphia, Hatboro, King of Prussia, Conshohocken, Sellersville, Levittown, Harleysville, Hatfield, Horsham, Hatboro, Skippack, Telford, and Limerick.

Montgomery County • Bucks County • Berks County • Chester County • Delaware County • Philadelphia County • Lehigh County • Northampton County

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409 Main Street    Second Floor, P.O. Box 403    Harleysville, Pennsylvania 19438    Email the firm
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