Posts Tagged ‘DUI’

Aggravated Assault by DUI Charge Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Yesterday I (attorney Dan Nevins) represented a client in a Berks County District Court charged with three counts of Aggravated Assault by DUI. At this stage the Commonwealth only needs to establish a prima facie case against a Defendant in order for a charge to be held for court. This is a relatively low legal burden, and does not approach the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt standard necessary for a criminal conviction.

I was able to earn a dismissal of one of the three counts at the preliminary hearing by contesting the lack of serious bodily injury to one of the parties. Graded as a Felony of the Second Degree, my client had faced a maximum of 10 years for this particular count. Though we still have work to do to secure a final and favorable outcome in this case, we have taken a significant step in the right direction.

If you are facing serious criminal allegations in Berks County, Pennsylvania you need an skilled courtroom advocate by your side. Our attorneys successfully represent individuals charged with Aggravated Assault and Homicide by DUI as well as all manner of Driving Under the Influence and traffic code violations. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

2nd Offense DUI? – Berks County Second Time Offender Program (STOP)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Under current Pennsylvania state law, a second offense DUI is defined as a DUI occurring within 10 years of the disposition date of a prior DUI.  In other words, it is the date the previous DUI was disposed of, by way of a guilty plea or entry onto an ARD Program, that is most critical.  This can be confusing in that often times a DUI takes many months or even years to work its way through the criminal justice system.

Take a situation where a defendant was charged with a DUI occurring in March of 1999.  Perhaps it took until March of 2001 until the defendant finally plead guilty to this DUI.  Now say this same defendant is again charged with a DUI occurring in March of 2010.  Although he may initially think that this is not a second offense since there is an 11 year gap between 1999 and 2010, he would be incorrect.  The proper date to look at is the disposition date, March of 2001, which is clearly within the 10 year “lookback” period.

A second offense DUI carries more severe penalties as compared to a first offense.  Mandatory sentencing for a second offense DUI ranges from 5 days up to 90 days depending on a defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

There is, however, a special program in place in Berks County which allows defendants to reduce the amount of mandatory jail time that they are facing.  The Second Time Offender Program, known locally as STOP, allows defendants to take advantage of a combination of treatment and counseling in lieu of the mandatory prison sentence.  Defendants are still required to spend a period of time in Berks County Prison, although, as previously stated, it is a significantly reduced sentence.

Our firm has successfully represented many clients who were charged with a second offense DUI.  Although our firm always looks for ways to beat our clients’ DUI cases, we find that many times STOP represents the best outcome for our clients.  If you are charged with a second offense DUI and would like to discuss your case in more detail, including questions about the Second Time Offender Program, call today to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.

DUI ARD in Berks County, PA (Reading, PA)

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

If you are a first time offender charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Berks County, PA you may be eligible for a special program known as ARD. In this post I’ll briefly explain the eligibility requirements as well as the benefits of the program. As with any legal issue I advise that you contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

I. Eligibiliy
The District Attorney’s Office has full discretion in deciding whether an applicant is granted ARD.
Generally, if you are a first time offender ARD you may be eligible. This means no prior felonies or misdemeanors in Berks County, elsewhere in PA or any other states. However, if you have a prior offense (even for DUI) and it occurred many years ago, you may be eligible at the discretion of the DA’s Office.
Even if you are a true first time offender your ARD application may be denied on other grounds – if you are not licensed, do not have insurance, were rude or otherwise inappropriate with the arresting officer, serious property damage occurred etc. Additionally, an individual is statutorily ineligible if a person other the driver was killed or seriously injured or if a child was a passenger in the Defendant’s vehicle.
This list is certainly not all inclusive, and given your unique cirumstances you should certainly contact our offices to determine your chances of acceptance in the ARD program.

II. Benefits
First, if you are accepted into the program and successfully complete it you will avoid jail time. Depending on your BAC you may face a mandatory minimum of 48 or 72 hours up to 6 months for a First Time DUI if you suffer a conviction. Second, you could reduce your license suspension from 1 year down to 60, 30 or 0 days, depending again on BAC. Also, you avoid an official criminal conviction on the record. Instead, you earn the chance to have the charges dismissed through supervision, community service, driving classes and overall compliance with the program.

The Attorneys at Ebner, Nevins & McAllister have handled hundreds of DUI cases in Berks County, PA. In addition to securing ARD for DUI Defendants, we have won Jury Acquittals and dismissals following the Suppression of Evidence, Habeas Corpus motions, Rule 600 violations and other Police or Prosecution improprietes. A DUI is not a cookie cutter offense. If you find yourself charged with DUI in Berks County, PA please call our offices immediately.

DUI Law program on BCTV

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Please check out the DUI law program on BCTV. Replays this week Monday at 10am and Tuesday at 3pm. Panelists include me, Dan Nevins, along with local DUI Prosecutors and another Criminal Defense Attorney. Here’s the link: http://www.bctv.org/special_reports/basic_needs/vmix_07b4c3c8-794e-11df-aec9-001cc4c002e0.html