Erie PA DUI Defense LawyersCharged With DUI In Erie, PA?

The Erie PA DUI defense lawyers at McCormick and Vilushis firm have been on both sides of the law, having been former prosecutors prior to becoming defense attorneys. They know the many defenses to Pennsylvania’s drunk driving cases having handled cases just like yours.

You won’t receive a sales pitch, just straight forward advice. You also won’t have an associate whose name isn’t on the firm to handle your case. McCormick and Vilushis is one of only a few firms where every member has received recognition as excelling in law, receiving honors such as the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list as well as Rising Stars.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you not to spend money on an attorney because “it’s just a DUI, it’s not that big of a deal.” Facing potential jail sentences and license suspension is a huge deal and likely one of the most fearful and potentially life-altering events in your life. Remember, everyone’s DUI case is different, so you cannot compare cases.

Please contact the Erie PA DUI defense lawyers at McCormick and Vilushis for a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and case.

You need to know if the officer had a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop your vehicle

You need to know if the officer went over the proper warnings before they requested your blood or breath

You need to know if the breathalyzer was certified as accurate or properly calibrated

You need to know if the test was given within two hours of you having been in “active physical control” of the movement of the vehicle

You need to know if the video of the incident matches with the officer is alleging

You need to know if your commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be affected and how

You need to know if Miranda warnings needed to be given

Pennsylvania Drugged Driving Charges

A “driving under the influence of drugs” (DUID) charge in Pennsylvania carries significant punishment, so you need an experienced PA DUI defense attorney on your side. The Erie PA DUI defense lawyers at McCormick and Vilushis are ready to review your DUID case and determine whether the district attorney’s evidence is subject to challenge.

In certain driving under the influence of marijuana cases, Pennsylvania has a “per se” limit of how much of the drug you’re permitted to have in your system. Under those laws, you can be convicted of DUID even if you have an extremely low amount of THC in your system. How much marijuana it takes to reach this level depends on many factors, including how regularly you may have ingested the drug.

Most individuals are surprised to learn how long various drugs may stay in your system and that you can still be charged with a DUID days after ingesting the drug, even when you no longer feel intoxicated.

DUID cases are not limited to illegal drugs. The improper use of prescribed medication by a doctor as well as some over-the-counter medications can also result in a DUID charge. The district attorney’s office or police may try to argue that your blood results show your levels of legally prescribed drugs are outside the so-called “therapeutic limits”, or they  may argue that your appearance, driving patterns, or performance on a field sobriety test proves guilt.

It is important to note that police sometimes shift their focus from drunk driving investigations to DUID probes because a breath test showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) that didn’t exceed the legal limit of .08 percent.

Some Pennsylvania law-enforcement agencies have Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), who participate in DUID investigations. DREs check factors such as blood pressure, pulse rate, pupil size, and other measurements, and scan for injection marks and other telltale signs of drug use. They sometimes administer additional field sobriety tests as well.

However, it may be possible to fight your DUID case, because the so-called signs of drug use can be misinterpreted, and chemical tests are sometimes unreliable. To learn more Contact McCormick and Vilushis today for your FREE consultation.

The Pennsylvania ARD Program & DUI Charges

ARD stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition.”  If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Erie, Pennsylvania, particularly a first-offense DUI or minor drug crime, ARD may be the best option for you. But what exactly is ARD? How does it work? Why is it a good option? If you have been charged with a crime, contact McCormick & Vilushis, LLC in Erie, Pennsylvania to learn more.

All counties in Pennsylvania are required to have an ARD program in place for individuals with no criminal record (or a very limited criminal record) who have been charged with a relatively minor, non-violent offense(s).  The program is designed to encourage offenders to make a fresh start after participation in a rehabilitative program and offers them the possibility of a clean criminal record if they successfully complete the program.

Essentially, if you have been charged with a relatively minor offense—typically DUI’s, possession of drug paraphernalia, etc.—and you are accepted into the ARD program your case is essentially placed on “hold” for a period of time.  This period varies from case to case but can be anywhere from six (6) months to two (2) years.  While your case is on hold, you will be placed under supervision and the court will impose certain requirements that you must complete within that time.  If the requirements are completed by the end of the ARD period, the Court will then notify you that your case is eligible to be dismissed completely and expunged (meaning “erased”) from your criminal record. Once your case has been dismissed and expunged, a public record check will be unable to turn up any details regarding the offense.

What are the requirements of the ARD program?

If your case is approved for ARD in Erie, Pennsylvania, there will be a number of requirements that you have to complete during the time you are on ARD.  Beginning on the date of the hearing at which your case is placed on the ARD program by the judge, you will be placed under the supervision of Adult Probation.  Although you have not been found guilty of any crime, the probation office will keep an eye on you to ensure that you are completing the various things that are required.

Though the specific requirements change from case to case depending on the type of offense, generally the requirements are as follows:

  1. Complete an alcohol-safe driving course (applies to all DUI cases)
  2. Complete drug & alcohol counseling, if ordered (applies to drug related offenses and certain DUI’s with a high blood-alcohol content)
  3. A driver’s license suspension (applies to DUI cases)
  4. No alcohol or non-prescription drug use (applies to most cases)
  5. Pay the cost of prosecution and ARD supervision (usually over $1,000 dollars)
  6. Pay restitution (theft cases and cases involving property damage)
  7. You must waive your right to a speedy trial
  8. You may not be charged with any other criminal offenses while on ARD supervision.

What are the ELIGIBILITY requirements FOR the ARD program?

While Pennsylvania law requires that all counties have an ARD program, criteria for admission to the program is not spelled out explicitly under the law. Rather, the law authorizes the District Attorney for any given county to make the decision as to whether or not your case is appropriate for ARD.  Each District Attorney’s office is a little different and it is important that your attorney be familiar with the practices and requirements of the County in which you have been charged.

The most significant eligibility factors are the severity of the offense and the defendant’s prior criminal record.  Defendants eligible for the ARD program are typically first offenders facing charges that are relatively minor—such as first-time DUI charges.  Even if a defendant is not a first-time offender, if the previous charges were over ten years before the current offense, the defendant may still be eligible for ARD.

What are the Benefits of the ARD program?

The ARD program offers many benefits.  ARD can help you:

  • – Avoid mandatory jail time
  • – Drastically shorten a driver’s license suspension
  • – Lower Fines
  • – Allow you to clear your record upon completion of the program.

What are the penalties for ARD in Pennsylvania?

If your case is accepted into the ARD program, you should be aware of the consequences.  These include:

  • – Your license will be suspended for 30, 60, or 90 days.
  • – There are no “bread and butter”, or work licenses while on ARD
  • – ARD does NOT wipe the slate clean
  • – ARD remains on your PennDOT Driving Record for at least 10 years.
  • – ARD counts as a prior conviction if you are arrested for DUI again within the next 10 years.
  • – If you have a regular CDL, it will be disqualified for 12 months (36 months for a “Hazardous Materials”: or “Haz-Mat” CDL)
  • – You may have to perform up to 100 hours of community service.
  • – ARD probation may restrict your right to possess firearms.
  • – The District Attorney has complete discretion to admit and remove you from the program.
  • – The government requires a NON-REFUNDABLE fee between $1500.00 and $3000.00.  These costs vary by county.

Is ARD the best option for you?

There are many benefits to the ARD program—if you are enrolled on ARD for a criminal offense and you successfully complete the requirements, your criminal case will be dismissed and you can then have the charge and all criminal court records of the offense expunged from your record.  In most cases, ARD can shorten your driver’s license suspension, lower fines, permit you to clear your criminal record and even help you avoid mandatory jail time.

There are many exceptions to the rule, however. Depending on the circumstances of the individual client, an experienced criminal defense attorney may recognize that ARD is not the appropriate way to resolve a case. This can be true where, for instance, a professional driver or heavy equipment operator has been charged with a DUI. If it is determined that even an ARD disposition to the case will affect that individual’s livelihood, then ARD won’t really help and it may be necessary to explore other options, including taking a case to trial.

The experienced Erie DUI lawyers at McCormick & Vilushis, LLC have guided countless individuals through the ARD process.  If you need an experienced Erie DUI lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the ARD program, contact McCormick & Vilushis, LLC.  McCormick & Vilushis, LLC has a proven track record of courtroom experience and successes for their clients—and we offer a FREE consultation.  Don’t let a single arrest end your career. Contact McCormick & Vilushis, LLC and get your free consultation today.

A “driving under the influence of drugs” (DUID) charge in Pennsylvania carries significant punishment, so you need an experienced PA DUI defense attorney on your side. The attorneys at McCormick and Vilushis are ready to review your DUID case and determine whether the district attorney’s evidence is subject to challenge.

In certain driving under the influence of marijuana cases, Pennsylvania has a “per se” limit of how much of the drug you’re permitted to have in your system. Under those laws, you can be convicted of DUID even if you have an extremely low amount of THC in your system. How much marijuana it takes to reach this level depends on many factors, including how regularly you may have ingested the drug.

Most individuals are surprised to learn how long various drugs may stay in your system and that you can still be charged with a DUID days after ingesting the drug, even when you no longer feel intoxicated.

DUID cases are not limited to illegal drugs. The improper use of prescribed medication by a doctor as well as some over-the-counter medications can also result in a DUID charge. The district attorney’s office or police may try to argue that your blood results show your levels of legally prescribed drugs are outside the so-called “therapeutic limits”, or they  may argue that your appearance, driving patterns, or performance on a field sobriety test proves guilt.

It is important to note that police sometimes shift their focus from drunk driving investigations to DUID probes because a breath test showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) that didn’t exceed the legal limit of .08 percent.

Some Pennsylvania law-enforcement agencies have Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), who participate in DUID investigations. DREs check factors such as blood pressure, pulse rate, pupil size, and other measurements, and scan for injection marks and other telltale signs of drug use. They sometimes administer additional field sobriety tests as well.

However, it may be possible to fight your DUID case, because the so-called signs of drug use can be misinterpreted, and chemical tests are sometimes unreliable. To learn more Contact McCormick and Vilushis today for your FREE consultation.

Do not wait to contact the Erie PA DUI defense lawyers at McCormick and Vilushis because they know the tactics police and prosecutors use. With that knowledge they will examine every aspect of your case to vigorously defend you.

Serving all of Northwestern Pennsylvania including Erie, Corry, Edinboro, North East, Wattsburg, Lawrence Park, Girard, Wesleyville, Elgin, Lake City, Union City, Northwest Harborcreek, Waterford, Platea, McKean, Mill Village, Cranesville, Albion, Meadville & Warren, Pennsylvania.