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Facing a DUI charge?

A DUI arrest can be an extremely intimidating and stressful time, and can change your life, leaving an unsure impact on your immediate future that could potentially follow you for years to come.  With penalties ranging from fines, probation, loss of license and up to years in prison, Pennsylvania’s laws are quite complex and strict. But, did you know that many people have been charged with DUI and are able to successfully defend against the charges?  To find out which defenses may apply to your specific situation, it is imperative that you speak with a criminal defense attorney.

Pennsylvania DUI Law

DUI is described and defined under the Pennsylvania Code under Title 75, Chapter 38.  Read the Code Here.

Driving under the Influence is defined two (2) ways in Pennsylvania:

  1. DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Impaired) – driving or controlling the movement of a motor vehicle after drinking enough alcohol to render yourself an unsafe driver.
  1. “Per Se” DUI or DWI – is a Latin phrase meaning “by itself”- (all 50 states follow “per se” DUI laws) this establishes evidence that once an individual is shown to have a BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) level at or above .08 percent and drove, operated or was in control of a motor vehicle is enough by itself to convict the person of DUI, that person will be considered intoxicated by law.  This law is typically relied on by prosecutors while the above is used as backup, but sometimes can be used as two statutes, charging the defendant once for having alcohol or drugs in their blood and then again for driving erratically due to intoxication.

What to Expect?

DUI cases in Pennsylvania are divided into a three-level penalty system with varying degrees of penalties:

  • 1st Level (General Impairment) – between 0.08 and 0.099 BAC – *For a ‘First’ Offense, penalties can include up to six (6) months of probation, classes, treatment and a $300 fine.
  • 2nd Level (High BAC) – between 0.10 and 0.159 BAC (and drivers from 1st Level whose charges involved property damages or personal injury) *specific types of classes also automatically fall into the 2nd Level – *For a ‘First’ Offense, penalties can include five (5) days to six (6) months in jail, twelve (12) month of license suspension, classes, treatments and fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.
  • 3rd Level (Highest BAC) – higher than 0.16 BAC (as well, as impaired drivers who refuse to submit to breathalyzers or other BAC tests)  *For a ‘First’ Offense, penalties can include three (3) days to six (6) months in jail, twelve (12) month license suspension, classes, treatments and fines ranging from $1000 to $5,000.

*Penalties at each level increase substantially for subsequent offenses.

Possible Lines of Defense for DUI charges

There are many possible lines of defense depending on the circumstances of your case, such as, but not limited to:

  • You were not impaired.
  • The stop was not legal.
  • They had no legitimate reason to stop you.
  • The DUI checkpoint did not meet standards.
  • The test was administered incorrectly.
  • The test equipment was not calibrated properly.
  • You were not the driver.
  • The police report had inaccuracies, etc . . .

How We can Help.

When you are up against DUI charges, you need experienced legal representation who will evaluate and offer an explanation of options and strategies tailored to your distinct case. The Kulick Law firm will attempt to get your DUI charges dismissed or lowered and if the case should go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.

Questions? Contact the Kulick Law Firm at (570) 299-7884

The Kulick Law Firm is experienced in DUI laws in Pennsylvania, and represents Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, including, but not limited to the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas.

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Divorce in Pennsylvania: First Steps

Deciding to get divorced can be one of the most excruciating decisions you’ll ever make. We understand the stress and emotional toll that deciding to get divorced can take on you.

Kulick Law is experienced in all forms of Family Law, including divorce. Here are the important things you need to know to take the first steps toward divorce in Pennsylvania:

Residency

The first issue of concern is residency: at least one spouse must have permanently lived in Pennsylvania for a minimum of 6 months before filing for divorce in PA.

No Fault or Fault-Based Divorce

In Pennsylvania you may file for a No Fault Divorce IF you and your spouse both consent to the divorce. However, there is a possibility that the spouses will not consent to divorce.  Under such circumstances – and due to behavior of one of the spouses – fault-based grounds may be used to start a divorce action.

No Fault

In Pennsylvania, if both spouses agree to divorce you may file for a No Fault Divorce. If you both mutually agree to divorce, you must both file an affidavit stating that both parties consent to the divorce.  However, there is a “waiting period” prior to filing the Affidavit.  Subsequently, the Court will finalize the divorce and issue a Decree.  However, there is no need for a hearing in a no fault divorce.

Fault-Based Divorce

In Pennsylvania, the alternative to a no-fault divorce is a fault-based divorce.  In a fault-based divorce, a party is making allegations that, due to the other party’s behavior, result in grounds for a divorce action to be filed and ultimately a Decree entered (possibly based on those same reasons).  A spouse can file a fault-based divorce action when that person believes their spouse has been involved in any of the following activities:

  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Cruel and Barbarous Treatment
  • Spouse has been imprisoned for more than 2 years

For either type of divorce you must file with your local court to begin the proceedings. Then the paperwork must be sent to your spouse.

If you are served with divorce paperwork:

You may be on the receiving end of divorce papers; you may have expected this or it may have been a surprise.  Ignoring the paperwork may mean that you lose certain legal rights.  You need to be proactive.  There are many different aspects you should be aware of when facing this situation:  some cases involve property division and custody matters, to name a few.  You should consult an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Property Division / Custody

If you and your spouse own a home together, you cannot keep your spouse from the home. The division of property can be complex and stressful, and you really need an attorney on your side if you are facing these issues.

Similarly, custody issues may also be a part of your divorce proceedings where a Court will need to make a decision on such matters.  This is an extremely stressful time for both you and your child.  You need an attorney who will understand this.  If custody is part of your divorce action, having an experienced family law attorney on your side is crucial.

The Kulick Law Firm is experienced in all aspects of divorce law in Pennsylvania, and represent Lackawanna and Luzuerne Counties, including Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.

More information on Divorce in PA from the Pennsylvania Bar Association: http://www.pabar.org/clips/divorceandseparation.pdf

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