DWI | Ketchel Law - Criminal Lawyers Pittsburgh

The DUI Hotel Program in Pittsburgh, PA

The Allegheny County DUI Hotel Program: What is it and who is it for?

The Pittsburgh DUI Hotel Program is an initiative to provide an alternative to traditional incarceration for individuals charged with DUI offenses in Allegheny County Pennsylvania.

It aims to offer rehabilitation and a chance to address the root causes of DUI offenses. And instead of a jail sentence and license suspension – in which people may end up losing their jobs, offenders can complete the program in one weekend.

This program is for first-time DUI offenders. It is a four-day, three-night treatment program in which offenders take part in drug and alcohol classes, treatment sessions, and evaluations. All of this takes place in a local hotel during one four-day weekend. The starting costs are  $500 and up if you do not wish to share a room.

It’s crucial to remember that while the program may require an upfront fee, it can be substantially more cost-effective than serving a jail sentence. Supporters of the program argue that the long-term benefits, including reduced recidivism rates and improved public safety, outweigh the initial financial investment.

If you were charged with DUI, to find out if you qualify or if it would make a good option for you, call our Pittsburgh DUI Lawyers for a free consultation. Generally, if you are not facing jail time there may be other programs that may be more beneficial to you, like the Pittsburgh ARD program, Veterans Court, or the DUI Court Program.

Our attorneys can help answer questions about your case – call today: 412-456-1221 for a free consultation.

Our number one goal: Your DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

You can read more about the DUI Hotel here.

FREE LEGAL CONSULTATIONS

We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with DUI. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

Learn More About DUI Laws in Pennsylvania:

 

What Happens to My License After a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania?

Possible License Suspension and DUI in Pennsylvania

Having a few drinks at a bar and driving home may be commonplace in Pennsylvania, but if you are charged with DUI in PA, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences and penalties of a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania can be shocking and last a lifetime.

The reality is that you may very well lose your license for well up to a year or more, spend time in jail and face a criminal record available for the public to see—including potential employers, college admissions personnel, insurance companies, banks and loan officers and even  landlords. In addition to losing your license, your auto insurance will most likely increase as well.

However, being charged with DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. It is important to speak with a DUI Attorney about all possible options in defending your rights to reduce your sentence or have your charges dismissed completely.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest? Will PennDOT Take My License?

After being charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, many people wonder what will become of their license—how they will get to work or drop their kids off at school?

There are a couple options that can help you recover your license faster:

For many first-time DUI offenders in PA the ARD Program is a good option, if you are eligible.

The Ignition Interlock program may also be an option, which can shorten the amount of time your license is suspended.

The length of time you may lose your license depends on whether this is a first DUI or second DUI, and also on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level at the time of the arrest, and whether you submitted or refused a chemical test.

PennDOTS’s License Suspensions Guidelines According to BAC Level (Blood Alcohol Content)

Driver’s License Suspensions are imposed as follows:

  • BAC below .10% and incapable of safe driving: No suspension for first offense if the driver meets certain criteria; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .10% and less than .16%: 12 month license suspension for first and second offense. 18 month suspension for third or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .16%: 12 month license suspension for first offense. 18 month suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • Out-of-state DUI convictions: No suspension for first offense; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.

*If you are under the age of 21, there is an automatic license suspension of 90 days, regardless of BAC Level. 

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At Ketchel Law, we work aggressively to minimize the impact a DUI will have on your life—Our number one goal is to get your DUI charges dismissed. In the case of DUI, we will also work to significantly have the charges reduced and help you find options to license suspension.

An Arrest is NOT a Conviction.

For a Free Consultation call 412-456-1221 Today.

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What is the Ignition Interlock Program?

Pennsylvania law makes the Ignition Interlock requirement mandatory for first-time and repeat DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels and for individuals who receive an operating privilege suspension as a result of a chemical test refusal violation.

See the Ignition Interlock Fact Sheet  and Ignition Interlock FAQ for additional information.

What is the ARD Program? 

For first time DUI offenders and other minor crime and drug offenders, the ARD Program, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, can help you retain your driver’s license and jail time. This program can also give you the opportunity to have your criminal record expunged, which means avoiding a permanent criminal record that comes with a DUI conviction.

If you are seeking information on applying and being accepted into the Allegheny County ARD Program or to have your criminal record expunged, please contact our law office today for a free legal consultation.

 

PENNSYLVANIA DUI LAWYERS

KETCHEL LAW 

Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

If you have been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today.

Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.

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FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION

We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

Learn more about Ketchel Law:

 

 

 

 

Reduced Sentencing for 2nd DUI Offense in Pennsylvania

Second-Time DUI Offenders May be Eligible for Reduced Sentence

Will the New Pennsylvania Ruling Reduce Your DUI Penalties?

If you were recently charged with a DUI offense in Pennsylvania and considered a “second-time offender” because you already completed the ARD program for a previous offense, you may be eligible to have your current sentence/punishment reduced. 

You may be eligible for lower penalties under the Pennsylvania Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) if:

  • You are currently serving your sentence as a second-time DUI offender;
  • You have not previously litigated or waived the issue of whether you committed the first-time offense; and
  • You file for relief within one year from the date of the judgment.

Defendant’s Acceptance of ARD Program Alone Cannot Heighten Defendant’s Sentencing

2nd DUI penalties pennsylvania

Recently, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania determined in Commonwealth v. Chichkin and Commonwealth v. Roche that the sole fact that a defendant completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in the past, cannot be used as a “prior offense” for sentencing purposes because doing so violates constitutional due process.

In other words—your second DUI offense could be treated like a first DUI offense.

As you may know, a first DUI conviction has drastically different penalties than a second DUI conviction in Pennsylvania.

Read more about this new DUI ruling in Pennsylvania.

By being admitted to the ARD program, a defendant avoids trial and is not required to admit guilt.  Therefore, it cannot be considered as a “prior offense” for DUI sentencing unless the Commonwealth proves to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the fact that the defendant has committed a prior DUI offense or the defendant admits to having committed the prior DUI offense.

The difference between a first-time and a second-time DUI offense is significant because the law imposes mandatory minimums for repeat offenders.  In addition, a third-time DUI conviction may result in felony charges.

Ketchel Law Successfully Reduced Sentence for DUI Offender who Previously Completed ARD Program

The PCRA allows individuals who are serving a sentence to challenge their conviction on the grounds that their conviction is unconstitutional.

Because the ruling in Chichkin held that it was unconstitutional to use an ARD as a “prior offense” to sentence a person as a second-time offender, Ketchel Law recently used this ruling to successfully argue a PCRA petition that resulted in the resentencing of a second-time DUI offense as a first-time offense for the client.

The client was eligible for relief because he was still serving his sentence, had not previously litigated or waived the issue, and timely filed the PCRA petition (within one year of the date of judgment).

Ketchel Law argued that because the court treated the fact that the client had previously completed an ARD program as a “prior” DUI offense, his sentence on the new DUI case as a second-time offense was illegal.  The court agreed and re-sentenced the client as a first-time DUI offender.

This changed the defendant’s sentence from a misdemeanor of the first degree (M1) to an ungraded misdemeanor and reduced the amount of allowable supervision from 5 years to 6 months.

If you have recently been sentenced on a second DUI offense and your first DUI was an ARD program, call Ketchel Law right away to inquire if you are eligible to file a PCRA petition and possibly have your sentence changed.

If you were charged with DUI in PennsylvaniaJustin Ketchel can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

The first step is to get a free legal consultation from an experienced and successful DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

For more information and to better understand Pennsylvania DUI Laws, visit the following pages:

 

New DUI Ruling in Pennsylvania Reduces Penalties for Second DUI

Superior Court of Pennsylvania Ruling to Upend Consequences of DUI Cases in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania DUI Law—FelonyOn May 20, 2020, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania filed an opinion in the DUI cases of Commonwealth of PA v. Igor Chichkin and Commonwealth of PA v. Lisa Roche that will have drastic consequences on DUI cases throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

In their Opinion, the Superior Court holds that acceptance of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case cannot be considered a prior offense for DUI sentencing purposes.

The Court held that doing so would offend the Due Process Clause and is unconstitutional.

What this means if charged with DUI or recently plead guilty to DUI

First, if you have previously entered and completed ARD for a first DUI offense, and are now charged with another DUI offense, it should be considered a first offense. This is important because penalties for a second DUI offense are much more harsh than for a first DUI conviction.

It also means that there may be post-conviction actions that can be taken on your behalf to reduce the penalty if you recently plead guilty to a second offense DUI. In other words, if you were convicted of a second DUI offense in Pennsylvania, you may be able to have your sentence reduced.

Other recent changes to PA DUI laws have been made, as well—a third DUI may now result in felony charges.

If you were recently charged with DUI in PA or if you already have been convicted on a first offense or second offense DUI charge, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney in PA as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Pennsylvania Counties May Differ in Applying New Ruling

As this opinion was recently filed on May 20, 2020, there is still a lot of uncertainty about how District Attorneys from different counties will handle the ruling. Some counties may no longer offer ARD to first DUI offenders.

If you have recently been charged or convicted of a DUI, you should speak with an experienced attorney at Ketchel Law as soon as possible to discuss what is in your best interest now that the law has changed.

Although you may have been facing a “second-offense DUI,” an attorney with experience in DUI cases may be able to use this new ruling to have your case treated as a first offense.

How a DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania Can Help

Attorney Ketchel’s extensive experience as a former public defender, and in private practice, gives him a distinct advantage when handling DUI cases. We understand what you are going through and will tirelessly fight on your behalf to ensure that your arrest has a minimal impact on every aspect of your life.

If you were charged with DUI in PennsylvaniaJustin Ketchel can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

The first step is to get a free legal consultation from an experienced and successful DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania, like Attorney Justin Ketchel.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

For more information and to better understand Pennsylvania DUI Laws, visit the following pages:

DUI and Refusing a Breathalyzer in Pennsylvania

What happens if you refuse a chemical breath or blood test after receiving a DUI charge in Pennsylvania?

DUI—Refusal of Breathalyzer in PennsylvaniaWhen you get your PA drivers license, and drive on PA roadways, you implicitly consent to submit to a blood or breath test when a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence. This is often referred to as the Implied Consent Law or known as the O’Connell Warnings in Pennsylvania.

Many people may be unaware of having complied to this law when signing their driver’s license. If they are then charged with DUI—Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs—they could be confused at the time of arrest or even belligerent from the alcohol or drugs and decide not to submit a blood test or breath sample. In so doing, they break the law of implied consent and automatically lose their license.

If you did not submit a breathalyzer or blood sample, you still have options for getting your license reinstated, however, including a DUI appeal.

Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer or Blood Sample

So what happens if you are charged with DUI in Pennsylvania and refuse to give your blood or breath during a police stop?

Under Pennsylvania Code § 1547, the implied consent law states that anyone who is driving in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is deemed to have consented to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content or the presence of a controlled substance if a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is driving under the influence.

If you refuse to submit to a test, it can result in a license suspension up to eighteen (18) months as well as a hefty fine.

Additionally, even if you refuse, you can still be prosecuted for a DUI. So, a refusal can result in a civil penalty AND criminal charges.

As stated above, a police officer must be able to show that they had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence, and the police officer is required to advise that if you refuse a chemical test that you will face a license suspension.

Appealing a Suspended License—30 days

You have the right to appeal any license suspension as a result of your alleged refusal to submit a breath or blood sample during a DUI charge. If you believe that an officer acted improperly or that you did not refuse, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer immediately.

Once you have received a letter from PennDot stating that your license will be suspended for a chemical test refusal you have only thirty days to file an appeal.

Generally, once the appeal is filed, a supersedes order is filed, allowing you to continue to drive while awaiting your license suspension appeal hearing.

The DUI Appeal Attorneys at Ketchel Law have years of experience successfully winning license suspension appeals and, specifically, chemical test refusal suspension appeals.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

If you are dealing with this issue or any other legal issue that may cause PennDOT to suspend your license, contact our office to discuss your appeal rights immediately.

If you have been charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, Ketchel Law can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

Learn what happens in Pennsylvania after you have been charged with DUI:

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

Our experience and knowledge, along with our strong persuasive skills, allows us to provide you with the best possible defense.

CALL JUSTIN KETCHEL TODAY AT 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION.

If you have been charged with DUI, call us immediately so we can begin working with you on defending your reputation and your future.

Certain DUI Charges Now Felonies in Pennsylvania

Information on DUI Penalty Changes in Pennsylvania

Starting in December of 2019 new penalties were put into effect in Pennsylvania for offenders with multiple DUI convictions.

Previously, Pennsylvania did not consider multiple DUI charges as felonies, and instead treated all DUIs as misdemeanor offenses. The penalties for DUI convictions in Pennsylvania have now changed to include a felony sentence, a longer prison sentence and higher fines.

Pennsylvania DUI Law—FelonyAn Increase in Penalties for a DUI Conviction in PA

Multiple Convictions

Those who drive under the influence are now subject to felony charges if, on their third DUI conviction, they are found to have driven with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.16% or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance or refuse chemical testing under certain circumstances.

A fourth DUI conviction—regardless of blood alcohol level or substance involved—will now also be considered a felony.

The changes to the DUI law in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  • Under the new law, a person found guilty of a third DUI charge within 10 years and with a BAC level of .16% or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance, is subject to 1-7 years in jail and a $2,500—$15,000 fine.
  • Under the new law, a person found guilty of their fourth DUI offense in 10 years and with a BAC level between .08% and .10% is subject to 10 days to 7 years in jail and a $500—$15,000 fine.
  • Under the new law, a person found guilty for their fourth or subsequent DUI offense in 10 years with a blood-alcohol level of between .10% and .16% is subject to 1—7 years in jail and a $1,500—$15,000 fine.
  • Under the new law, a person found guilty on their fourth or subsequent DUI offense in 10 years with a BAC level of 0.16% or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance is subject to 1—7 years in jail and a $2,500—$15,000 fine.

Vehicular Homicide Under a DUI Conviction

The new law also increases the mandatory minimum sentence for past DUI offenders who commit intoxicated vehicular homicide. Under the old law, the maximum sentence was the same for everyone convicted of vehicular homicide while DUI: three years in prison. Under the new law, the penalty with one prior DUI is now five years in prison, while the minimum for an offender with two DUI convictions increases to seven years.

A DUI Charge While Under License Suspension

There are also increased penalties for those caught driving while their license is suspended for a DUI. The maximum penalty under the old law was a $500 fine and up mandatory 60-90 days in jail, regardless if it was a person’s first or subsequent offense. Under the new law, a second offense results in a Misdemeanor conviction and a mandatory $1,000 fine and at least 90 days in jail. A third offense leads to a $2,500 fine and a mandatory six months in jail.

What You Should Do When Facing DUI Charges in Pennsylvania

The first step is to get a free legal consultation from an experienced and successful DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania, like Attorney Justin Ketchel. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, Justin Ketchel can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

To better understand what happens in Pennsylvania after you have been charged with DUI, read about:

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION