Philadelphia DUI Lawyer


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Give yourself the best chance to avoid jail and other penalties.
A drunk driving conviction could tear your world apart. A Philadelphia DUI lawyer with proven results is your best chance to avoid going to jail, losing your license, and jeopardizing your future.

Fienman Defense focuses on DUI cases in Philadelphia County. Attorney Michael H. Fienman is a skilled negotiator and trial lawyer who fights to clear your name. When a DUI charge threatens everything you value, get the best legal advantage possible.

Call Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529 to schedule your free case evaluation.

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Proven Results for DUI Charges

Choosing a DUI Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia

When you or a family member face DUI charges, it’s a frightening and confusing experience. You are probably upset about what happened — and worried about what to do next.

Your first step should be to consult a Philadelphia DUI defense attorney if your arrest occurred in Philadelphia or the neighboring suburbs of Bucks County, Delaware County, or Montgomery County. Your first instinct may be to simply accept your fate or handle things without a lawyer, but that’s generally a mistake. There is considerable benefit to having qualified representation when dealing with a DUI in Philly.

What You Should Know About Hiring A DUI Defense Attorney

  • Look for an attorney with specific experience in DUI. Your friends and family may recommend lawyers who helped them with problems ranging from personal injury to divorce. But you need a lawyer with specific knowledge and connections that attorneys who practice in other areas do not have.
  • An attorney who has handled many DUI cases in the locality where you were arrested will understand how the courts there actually work. They will have working relationships with the prosecutors, judges and magistrates who will be deciding your fate.
  • Look for an attorney who has experience in analyzing DUI police reports.
  • Look for an attorney who has experience in reading the results of breathalyzers and blood tests that determine blood alcohol content.
  • Meet with the lawyer to see how you feel about them. Is this someone who will listen to you? Is this someone who will be committed to fighting for you and getting the best possible outcome for you?
  • After describing what occurred during your DUI arrest, ask the attorney, ‘after hearing my side of what happened what strategies would you use in my defense?’
  • Ask the attorney, ‘what role can I play to help you prepare my DUI case?’ Listen closely to their answer and make sure you are comfortable with it.
  • It is critical that you hire an attorney you can trust. Honest communication is the foundation of a good attorney/client relationship. You should feel comfortable telling your lawyer what happened leading up to your arrest. And your lawyer should be someone whose advice you would be willing to consider.

Why Choose Fienman Defense

When you are up against DUI charges, you need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.

For example, Pennsylvania has a three-tier DUI penalty system: the higher the tier, the greater the penalties. If you have previous DUI charges or your blood alcohol concentration is exceptionally high, you could lose your license, job, and freedom. By working with a lawyer early, you can potentially identify flaws in how your BAC was determined, negotiate to have your DUI reduced, and protect you ability to drive.

As an experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney, attorney Michael Fienman knows how to get the best results in your case by scrutinizing police conduct and mounting aggressive defenses to:

  • Get the charges dropped
  • Avoid the harshest penalties, including jail
  • Win an acquittal

It is risky to trust your future and freedom to an overworked public defender. You certainly face an uphill battle if you try to defend yourself since the court will hold you to the same legal standards as the prosecution. Call Fienman Defense for the best possible defense to your DUI charge.

Award-winning DUI Defense

  • Best DUI Lawyer in Philadelphia by National Council on DUI Defense
  • 10.0 Rating from Justia
  • Rising Star Super Lawyer
  • Preeminent for Ethical Standards & Legal Ability by AV Martindale-Hubbell
  • 14 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers by Newsweek
  • Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys under 40 by National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Legal Limit & Philadelphia DUI Charges

If your blood alcohol content is .08 or more, the equivalent of two drinks for most people, you will be charged with DUI. However if the police believe you are impaired because of alcohol and/or drugs, you can still be arrested even if your blood level tests lower.

In Pennsylvania, you have to be tested within two hours of your arrest. If you refuse to be tested, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended for a year or more.

DUI Penalties & Consequences

We fight against the harshest penalties and a potential criminal record.

The sentence you face for a DUI depends on whether it is a first or subsequent DUI charge and your BAC.

Pennsylvania has a three-tier system based on BAC levels:

You should know that legal intoxication for individuals with a commercial driver’s license is .04%.

First Tier, First DUI (Ungraded Misdemeanor)


  • Up to six months of probation
  • $300 fine
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment programs likely

First Tier, Second DUI (Ungraded Misdemeanor)


  • Five days to six months in jail
  • $300 to $2,500 in fines
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • One-year license suspension
  • Alcohol treatment programs likely
  • Ignition interlock device for one year

Second Tier, First DUI (Ungraded Misdemeanor)


  • Two days to six months in prison
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • One-year license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment programs likely

Second Tier, Second DUI (Ungraded Misdemeanor)


  • Thirty days to six months in prison
  • $750 to $5,000 in fines
  • One-year license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment programs likely
  • Ignition interlock device for one year

Third Tier, First DUI (Ungraded Misdemeanor)


  • Three days to six months in prison
  • $1,000 to $5,000 in fines
  • One-year license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment programs likely

Third Tier, Second DUI (First-Degree Misdemeanor)


  • Ninety days to five years in prison
  • $1,500 to $10,000 in fines
  • Eighteen-month license suspension
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Alcohol treatment programs likely
  • Ignition interlock device for one year

The Negative Effects Of A DUI Conviction

If you have been found guilty of driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, your penalties can include license suspension, jail, fines and/or an interlock device on your car. But they don’t stop there. The effects of a DUI conviction are far-reaching – and extremely damaging.

DUIs & Insurance

A DUI conviction will have an impact in your car insurance rates. You will see a significant monthly increase in what you have to pay, and your insurer may even drop you.

Criminal Record & Background Checks

One of the highest prices you pay for a DUI conviction is that it will become part of your criminal record – and it can be seen by anyone who does a background check on you.

DUI Job Loss / Telling Your Employer

An increasing number of companies run background checks on job applicants. If a prospective employer finds that you have a DUI conviction, it may be the factor that causes them to choose a competing candidate over you.

You may also see negative repercussions from your current employer if you are found guilty of DUI. They may become concerned that you will show up for work drunk and have less trust in your reliability.

If you are a government worker or you work for a government contractor and have a security clearance, a DUI conviction may lower the level of that clearance. You will also find it more difficult to get a job at an agency or firm where you need a security clearance.

Having a DUI on your criminal record can make it hard for you to keep or get a job in some professions.

DUIs & College Admission

A DUI on your criminal record can make it more difficult for you to be admitted to the college of your choice. If you are already a student, a university may suspend you for having a DUI conviction. You may also have your scholarship withdrawn and you may be required to take a substance abuse program. If you are convicted for driving under the influence of illegal drugs, you may not be able to get a student loan.

The possible effects of a DUI conviction reach far beyond jail time, probation, fines, and a license suspension. A DUI conviction stays on your record and appears on background checks for jobs, loans, and travel visas.

Other DUI Consequences;

  • Court fees and fines
  • Payment for installation, maintenance, and removal of the ignition interlock device
  • Payment for public transportation or rideshares
  • Higher auto insurance premiums once you can drive again
  • Difficulty finding or maintaining a job
  • Impact on your child custody or visitation arrangement
  • Difficulty with your immigration, naturalization, or citizenship status

Influencing Factors on DUI Penalties

Certain factors influence your sentence for a DUI, including:

How to Defend Against a Philadlephia DUI

An experienced DUI defense attorney looks for cracks in the prosecution’s case or mistakes made during the initial traffic stop and subsequent arrest.

Attorney Fienman reviews your case, including whether the police:

  • Had Reasonable Suspicion To Pull You Over: We fight to remove evidence collected from an illegal traffic stop.
  • Had Reasonable Cause To Give You a Chemical Test: Chemical test results are not admissible if the police didn’t have the right to take them.
  • Administered the Chemical Test Correctly: We question the device’s calibration and testing procedure to suppress test results. See also: Can medications affect breathalyzer?
  • Had Reasonable Cause To Search Your Car: Evidence secured from an illegal search and seizure is inadmissible and a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.

Possible DUI Defenses

Depending on the circumstances of your DUI case, these are some of the possible defense strategies and legal arguments you could make:

You were not impaired.

After the police pull you over, they will be looking for indications that you are impaired. For example, they will be observing whether your eyes are bloodshot or if your face is flushed. But what if your bloodshot eyes were due to allergies or your face was flushed because you were running a fever? The police may have proceeded to administer a field sobriety test based on a false assumption.

The stop was not legal.

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution stipulates that you have protection from unreasonable government searches and seizures. The Pennsylvania Constitution also provides similar protection. Under the law, you can have three kinds of interactions with the police: consensual encounters, investigative stops and arrests.

An investigative stop gives police the authority to stop your vehicle if they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal actions such as drunk driving. The police must follow the limits of what they are allowed to do in an investigative stop.

If the stop was not legal, or they had no reasonable suspicion of criminal actions, then the evidence the police obtained during it will not be admissible in court.

They had no legitimate reason to stop you.

To stop you for drunk driving, the police must have probable cause that you are committing the crime of DUI. In other words, they must have legitimate reasons to have pulled your over. If they did not have those factual reasons to back up their actions, then they should not have stopped your vehicle. The evidence the police obtained during the stop will not be admissible in court.

The DUI checkpoint did not meet standards.

A DUI checkpoint has to meet specific standards and guidelines to be legal. For example, the checkpoint has to be in an area where there are known to be intoxicated drivers, police can’t change a location on-the-fly that was agreed on by supervising officials and the roadblock must be clearly marked. Your lawyer will carefully check to make certain these rules were adhered to.

The test was administered incorrectly.

Breath, blood and urine tests administered to measure your BAC must be taken properly and correctly to be valid. The equipment used must be approved for testing and in good working order. If there is an irregularity in the device or the way the test was taken, the results may be inadmissible.

The test equipment was not calibrated properly

Devices used to test breath and blood must be calibrated properly to produce reliable results that will stand up in court.

You were not the driver.

If you were not actually driving the vehicle, then, obviously, you can’t be convicted of DUI. The prosecutor will have to prove you were actually the one behind the wheel. If the police arrived when you and the others riding with you were not in the car, and they did not actually observe who was driving, they can’t simply go with their assumptions when they testify in court about who was the driver. If you were not the driver, your attorney will obtain the evidence and witnesses to prove it.

The police report had inaccuracies.

Police reports are well known for exaggerating the facts to prove the case that you were drunk. When the case goes to court, the officer will usually draw chiefly on their report as the basis for their testimony. When your attorney obtains the report during discovery, he or she will go over it carefully for errors.

If the case goes to trial, your lawyer will pounce on any discrepancies to discredit police testimony. If the police officer who arrested you filed a report with inaccuracies or misleading statements, their case will not stand up in court. The police have to back up their reports with the facts, and if, for example, their video dash cams dispute their report, your case may be dismissed.

As you can see there are ways to avoid the harsh penalties attached to a DUI. In some cases you be able to appeal a DUI, but your best option is early intervention.

A Philadelphia DUI lawyer may even suggest alcohol treatment . By demonstrating your commitment to addressing a potential issue with alcohol or drugs, a judge may be lenient if you get help.

Why Police Make DUI Stops

For the police to pull you over, they need reasonable suspicion that you’re committing a crime.

They need facts to suspect you of a DUI, such as:

  • Weaving in and out of your lane
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Seeing you drink from an alcohol container

What To Do If The Police Pull You Over

  • Do not try to talk your way out of the arrest
  • Do not tell them you have been drinking.
  • If the police question you repeatedly, politely refuse to answer their questions and tell then you want a lawyer.

What The Police Look For After They Stop You

  • Fumbling when you try to find your driver’s license
  • If your breath smells like alcohol
  • Flushed face
  • Glassy or bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Staggering or swaying when you leave your car

DUI Testing & Field Sobriety Tests

Police who pull you over for suspected drunk driving will give you a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are physical and cognitive tests officers use to gather clues that you’re intoxicated. There are three standardized field sobriety tests:

  • The walk-and-turn test
  • The one-leg stand test
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test – follow an object with only your eyes while your head stays still
  • Counting backward or reciting the alphabet in reverse

What if I Fail a DUI Test?

Failing a field sobriety test is not conclusive proof that you are intoxicated. You could have an injury or balance issues that affect the physical test. If you fail the field sobriety test, police will probably arrest you.

After the police arrest you for a DUI, they will ask you to submit to DUI testing to confirm your BAC. The result of this test is the basis for the prosecution’s case against you.

Chemical DUI Tests

Pennsylvania, like most states, has an implied consent law. This law says you must submit to chemical testing if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe you’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you refuse the chemical test, you will lose your driver’s license for at least a year, even if you win your DUI case in court.

Are DUI Tests Accurate?

These tests aren’t 100% accurate like the cops want you to believe. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, can register a false positive for intoxication on a breath test. Breathalyzer tests must be calibrated and checked regularly, or they produce inaccurate results.

We highly recommend calling a Philadelphia DUI lawyer to scrutinize the equipment, the process, who administered the test, and the results for accuracy.

Legal Representation is Crucial at Every Step

Fienman Defense provides legal representation at each stage of your DUI arrest.

A Philadelphia DUI lawyer:

  • Protects your legal rights
  • Represents you at arraignment and all court matters
  • Files an appeal to have your license reinstated
  • Seeks bail so you can go home
  • Identifies procedural or evidentiary errors for a dismissal
  • Requests a pretrial diversion program if you are eligible
  • Plea bargains on your behalf
  • Argues your case at trial if necessary

Avoing Jail for a DUI with ARD

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program is a pretrial diversion program that allows first-time offenders the opportunity to take responsibility without suffering irreversible consequences. Attorney Fienman helps many first-time DUI offenders enter the ARD program.

Benefits of ARD

The Benefits of ARD include the following:

A Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer can help you enter ARD if you are a first-time DUI offender. So long as you complete all entry requirements and the ARD program, you can wipe your record clean.

Philadelphia DUI: Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Police Pull Over Anyone for a DUI?


No. The police need probable cause to pull you over. For example, you are driving too fast or too slow or weaving between lanes.

When they watch for drunk drivers, what do the police look for?


In short, the police will be looking for erratic driving. Among the behaviors they watch for: drivers who weave, swerve, drive more than 10 miles per hour under the speed limit, turn with a too-wide radius, follow too closely, drive on the center of a lane marker, and come close to hitting an object or another vehicle.

What do the police look for after they stop you?


The police will try to determine whether or not you have been drinking by observing: whether you fumble when you try to find your driver’s license, if your breath smells like alcohol, if the car interior smells like alcohol, if you look flushed or your eyes look glassy or bloodshot, if your speech is slurred, if you seem disoriented, if your attitude is combative or inappropriate, if you can’t understand their questions, and/or if you stagger or sway when you leave your car.

If the police ask if I have been drinking what should I say?


Do not tell the police you have been drinking. Anything you say can be taken out of context and used against you. If you are questioned repeatedly, politely decline to answer and tell them you would like to talk to your attorney.

Do I Have to Answer Questions or Give Information in a DUI Traffic Stop?


Legally, you are only required to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You do not have to answer any questions, and in fact, a Philadelphia DUI lawyer encourages you to remain silent. You can politely say, “I’m not going to answer questions.”

Do I Have To Get Out of My Car at a DUI Stop?


Yes, if the police ask you to step out of the vehicle, you should. Try to remain calm to avoid escalating the situation.

Should I take a field sobriety test?


You do not have to take a field sobriety test. The officer who pulled you over may have already made up his or her mind that you were driving drunk and they want you to take a field sobriety test for more evidence. If you choose not to take the test, it may support their belief that you are over the legal limit. However if you are inebriated and you take the test, you may provide more evidence of your condition. If you are intoxicated, politely decline to take a field sobriety test and tell them you would like to talk to your attorney.

Can I Refuse To Take a Field Sobriety or Breath Test?


You may refuse to take a field sobriety test, a breath test, or both. There are no legal consequences for refusing a field sobriety test. If you turn down the breath test, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation automatically suspends your driver’s license.

Shouldn’t the officer have read me my Miranda rights?


No, a police officer stopping you for suspected DUI does not have to give you a Miranda warning. Miranda rights are read before the police question you in a custodial interrogation – which is not the same thing as stopping you for DUI.

Can I Get My License Back Sooner?


A Philadelphia DUI lawyer can file a request for an administrative hearing to help you get your driving privileges reinstated. It is possible to shorten a license suspension if you agree to an ignition interlock device or agree to the terms of a restricted license (from work to home).

Do I Need a DUI Lawyer?

It is in your best interest to have an experienced DUI lawyer to protect your rights and help keep you from jail or other penalties.

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Certified

Attorney Michael H. Fienman represents clients in criminal and traffic matters throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mr. Fienman has completed the same DWI detection training as most law enforcement officers and he holds a certificate in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) As an experienced trial attorney, he is a zealous advocate known for relentlessly defending clients in state court, federal court, and before administrative agencies.

Attorney Fienman is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Call Fienman Defense for Help with DUI Charges

A Philadelphia DUI lawyer is an advantage for you in fighting drunk driving charges. A DUI conviction follows you throughout your life, making it difficult to go to college, get a good-paying job, or find a place to live.

Contact Fienman Defense today to learn how experienced DUI attorney Michael Fienman helps you fight drunk driving charges. Call (215) 839-9529 today for your free case evaluation.