Posts Tagged ‘DUI in Berks County’

ENM Law News: First-Time DUI Offender Avoids Jail

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

A recent client was facing a mandatory 72 hour sentence in prison for a first-offense DUI in Berks County. Our DUI attorneys advised the client that he could complete an intensive treatment program and receive credit towards the jail sentence. Our client participated in the program and did not serve any time in jail. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, let our experienced lawyers help you. Call us at 610-372-5128 or submit your case using the “Ask an attorney” link.

Spotlight Issue: What you need to know about DUI ARD in Berks County

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Have you been charged with a DUI in Berks County? You may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.  ARD is a program run by the Berks County District Attorney’s Office.  Generally, DUI ARD is available for those who do not have a prior criminal record.  Our attorneys can discuss with you whether or not you are eligible for the program so contact one of our DUI defense attorneys located in Reading, Pennsylvania today. Even if you have an old or minor prior criminal record, including a DUI more than 10 years ago, our attorneys may be able to help you get admission into the program.

There are many benefits to the ARD program for DUI’s.  Most importantly, if you complete the ARD program, you will never plead guilty to a DUI and the charge will be expunged from your record.  Also, the period of time that your license will be suspended is significantly less if you are in the ARD program as opposed to the suspension for a DUI conviction.  The length of time that your license will be suspended for a DUI is most often determined by your blood alcohol content (BAC), but could also be determined by other factors including, but not limited to

- whether you had drugs in your system

- whether there were children in the car

- your involvement in a motor vehicle accident.

The length of time that you would be in the DUI ARD program is also determined by those factors. Our attorneys can help to give you an idea of how long your license may be suspended and how long you may be in DUI ARD program.

So the ARD program sounds great.   How do you get started?  You will usually apply for the DUI ARD program at your preliminary hearing.  Our attorneys can help you fill out the DUI ARD application.  While at your preliminary hearing, you will be given an ARD court date.  In general, that is the date that you will be formally admitted into the DUI ARD program as long as you are approved for placement by the Berks County District Attorney’s Office and as long as you have completed the program requirements.  Program requirements usually include

- community service

- drug and alcohol assessments

- drug, alcohol or mental health treatment

- Alcohol Safe Driving class

- payment of court costs and fines.

You will be expected to surrender your driver’s license on the date that you are formally admitted into the DUI ARD program.

You’re not done as soon as you’re placed into the program though.  You may have additional requirements to complete while you’re in the DUI ARD program.  If the Berks County District Attorney’s Office believes that you are not completing the DUI ARD program as you should be, they will ask the court to terminate you from the program.  If that happens, you will be scheduled for an ARD Termination hearing in front of the court.  At that hearing the Berks County District Attorney’s Office will present the reasons why you should be terminated from the DUI ARD program.  Our attorneys can help you defend against ARD Termination.  Having representation at this hearing is crucial because termination from the DUI ARD program usually means that you will have to start the court process over again and either plead guilty to the DUI charge or go to trial.  However, even after ARD termination the court will sometimes allow reinstatement into the DUI ARD program.  Our attorneys can represent you at the ARD Reinstatement hearing.

It is important that you follow all of the steps correctly to be admitted in the Berks County DUI ARD program.  Our attorneys can help guide you along the way to make sure that you receive the best outcome possible for your case.

Felony Charges Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Just this past week, Attorney Ryan McAllister represented a client at a preliminary hearing in Berks County district court who was charged with Fleeing and Eluding, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3733, and Driving under the Influence, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3802.  Attorney McAllister met with our client in advance of the hearing date to create a strategy on how to successfully fight the charges.

At the hearing, the police officer involved in the case testified that he did turn on his lights and siren in an attempt to pull over our client.  However, Attorney McAllister was able to demonstrate through cross-examination that the officer did not have his lights and sirens on for the entire time that the officer was pursuing our client.  In fact, although the officer was following our client for some time, our client did, in fact, pull over into a parking lot shortly after the officer activated the lights and siren on the police car.  Therefore, Attorney McAllister was able to convince the Judge that the Fleeing and Eluding charge should be dismissed.

Now, as the case moves forward, our client is only facing the remaining misdemeanor DUI charge instead of the more serious felony charge.  Our client is extremely happy with the outcome, and he is now looking towards fighting the rest of the case in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Drinking and Driving (DUI) or a related offense, please contact us today at 610-372-5128.  As you can see from this case, it pays to get an attorney involved in a criminal case right from the start.  The initial consultation in a criminal case is always free, and one of our three (3) attorneys is always happy to discuss your case in more detail.

3 Years State Prison Reduced to 5 Days

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Several months ago, I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister) represented a client in the Berks County Courts charged with over thirty (30) different criminal counts, including felony aggravated assault, all stemming from what started out at a DUI checkpoint.  My client was driving in Berks County when he saw a DUI checkpoint up ahead.  Knowing that he had been drinking, my client immediately tried to turn around and go the other direction, jumping a curb and sidewalk in the process.  This got the attention of the police officers working the DUI checkpoint, who proceeded to pursue my client.

For reasons unknown, my client, instead of pulling over, engaged the police in a high-speed chase that lasted upwards of an hour and spanned several cities and townships.  The police eventually had my client “cornered” in a parking lot.  Somehow, my client’s vehicle collided with an officer’s car before he was finally apprehended.

As a result, my client was charged with several serious offenses, including several counts of felony aggravated assault, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2702, felony fleeing and eluding, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3733, and, of course, driving under the influence of alcohol, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 3802.  To make matters worse, this was my client’s second DUI offense within 10 years.

Based on the seriousness of the felony aggravated assault charges, the initial “plea bargain” offered by the assistant district attorney was three (3) years in state prison.  My client was married with small children at home.  He supported his family by working two (2) different jobs.  He was not a hardened criminal, and he would not have survived well in state prison.  Serving a three (3) year jail sentence would have altered his life and his family’s life forever.

There were very few facts in my favor in this case.  Importantly, though, there were no police officers, or anyone else for that matter, who were injured in this incident.  Even the collision between my client’s vehicle and a police officer’s vehicle resulted in minimal damage to the cars.  To be sure, my client made some incredibly poor decisions that night.  I firmly believe, though, that he had no intentions to harm or injure anyone.

After months of negotiations with the district attorney’s office and the police officers, I was able to get all of the serious felony aggravated assault charges withdrawn.  I got my client into an intermediate punishment program offered by the Berks County Courts, which allowed him to go to inpatient treatment instead of jail.  Ultimately, he was sentenced to serve five (5) days in jail along with five (5) years of supervised release.

My client was extremely grateful that I was able to keep him out of serving a lengthy three (3) year sentence in state prison.  He was able to continue working at his two (2) jobs to support his wife and kids, and, as of today, he has been able to put this incident behind him and return to his life with his family.

If you are charged with a serious criminal case in Berks County, Pennsylvania, or Reading, Pennsylvania, please call the office at 610-372-5128 to setup a free consultation.  I would be happy to sit down with you and provide you with a thorough analysis of your case.

Evidence Suppressed in Berks County DUI Case

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I recently received excellent news for a client in a Berks County Driving Under the Influence case. The Judge granted my motion to suppress evidence based on an illegal vehicle stop in the Kutztown area of Berks County. As a result of the ruling, all charges have been dismissed and my client wins his case.

In this particular case my client was operating a motor vehicle in Kutztown Borough when he was spotted by a Kutztown Borough Officer. Testimony revealed that no vehicle code violation of any type occurred in Kutztown, but nevertheless the Officer followed the motorist out of his jurisdiction and into a neighboring township which is patrolled by a different police department. At that point the Officer notices some swerving within the lane and failure to use a turn signal and proceeds to initiate a vehicle stop.

The Municipal Police Jurisdiction Act outlines when and under what circumstances an Officer may conduct an extrajurisdictional investigation. These laws can be found at 42 Pa.C.S.A. Section 8953. One justification for an Officer to act outside his jurisdiction is “Hot Pursuit” of a person for whom the Officer has probable cause to believe has committed an offense. In this case, the motorist committed no violations of any type in the Officer’s jurisdiction – giving the officer absolutely no reason to follow the motorist outside the jurisdiction.  Based on the totality of the circumstances the Judge determined that suppression of evidence was appropriate.  

If you or a loved one is facing Drunk Driving charges in Berks County, Pennsylvania you need an experienced and skilled advocate at your side.  I have personally defended several hundred DUI cases in Berks and surrounding counties.  At the law firm of Ebner, Nevins & McAllister we know how to fight your case and obtain the optimal results for our clients.  Call today for a free consultation.