If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), you are probably angry with yourself for letting this happen, embarrassed to face family and friends, worried about your job, scared because you don’t know whether you are going to jail and confused because you are not sure what to do next.
However, there is no time to delay because the system is already moving against you. You need to hire a quality DUI lawyer as soon as you can.
The More You Know
In order to be successful in the legal proceedings that follow a DUI / DWI, you should first be educated about the law surrounding your case and the process that awaits you. The choices you make during this time affect the rest of your life. You’ll want to make informed decisions. The more you know, the better your chance of avoiding or limiting license suspension or jail.
What a Lawyer Can Do For You
An experienced DWI / DUI Lawyer will shape a case around your particular circumstances, whether you want to go trial or negotiate a plea. He or she will:
- Attack the traffic stop that led to the DUI charge
- Expertly cross-examine the police officer’s observations during the vehicle stop
- Challenge the chemical test of your blood or breath
- Prepare all pretrial litigation and be able to try your case to a jury
- Walk you through every step of the process and ensure you are informed about what is going on, including your opportunities for DUI expungement and other criminal defense services.
An expungement is when your DUI / DWI is “erased” from the public record. It gives you a fresh start, allows you to pass criminal background checks when applying for a job, and ensures your eligibility for professional licensures, certificates, student loans, and housing assistance.
Under PA law, a record may be expunged (automatically or through a request process) when:
- you have successfully completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) or First Offenders Program;
- a Court orders non-conviction data to be expunged;
- an individual has been dead for three years;
- a person 21 years-of-age or older is convicted of a violation related to the purchase, consumption, possession, or transportation of alcohol after he or she turned 18 and has now met all of the requirements of their sentence;
- an individual is 70 years or older and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 10 years following final release from court supervision; and
- an individual was convicted of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years.
Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) or First Offenders Program
The Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) or First Offenders Program is a special pre-trial intervention program for non-violent offenders who have a limited or no prior record. About 90% of people in the ARD program are those who have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Controlled Substance.
Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Berks counties all have their own specific program and are generally similar in that they aim to prevent future incidents, reduce license suspension, and enable the opportunity to earn expungement. Defendants enrolled in the program are “fast-tracked” into education classes as well as treatment, if recommended. In some instances, the defendant may have to perform community service and their license may be suspended for a period of time. Once the program is complete, the offender may petition to have the charges dismissed and the case expunged.
How To Get Started
The process begins with a free, over the phone or in-person meeting with Thomas Bellwoar. Tom is available to take calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.
- Tom is an experienced attorney with more than twenty years of experience as a Chester County prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.
- He has experience defending clients charged with multiple DUIs / DWIs as well as Homicide By Vehicle While Under the Influence.
- Tom was also recognized as a top lawyer in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 by Main Line Today.
Tom provides DUI services for clients throughout the area, including Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Berks counties as well as the following towns: