Over 20 Years of Successful DUI Results

 

All it takes is one mistake. One drink too many; one unfortunate decision and you may find yourself facing a DUI charge. Whether this is your first offense or if it is your second or third charge, DUIs pose significant threats to your personal life and can create a number of legal difficulties and frustrations. You can be confident that your case will be handled in a timely and competent manner and that we will work toward a smooth and favorable resolution. Our lawyers havesuccessfully resolved hundreds of DUI cases in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania, and are ready to help you. If you've been charged with DUI, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by speaking to an experienced lawyer. By simply putting yourself at the mercy of the court, you are giving up rights and waiving all opportunities to beat the charges. 

 

Pennsylvania DUI Laws

 

DUIs have become a serious issue in the state of Pennsylvania, and the government has taken extreme new measures to prevent and penalize drunk drivers. In fact, recent legislation known as Act 24 was passed in 2003 to create a new approach to DUI enforcement, penalties, and fines. Under the act, blood alcohol content, or BAC, is factored in with prior offenses to determine both criminal and driving penalties. In addition, the state's legal limit of alcohol was lowered from .10% to .08%.

You can be arrested and charged with a DUI, or DWI in some jurisdictions, if your BAC is .08% or higher or an officer believes that you are under the influence of a drug or controlled substance that impairs your ability to drive. Law enforcement officers can also arrest you when your BAC is lower than .08% if they determine that you are too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. Commercial drivers may not operate a vehicle if their BAC is .04% or greater and minors if their BAC is .02% or greater.

 

DUI Penalties

 

Penalties for DUIs can be extremely severe. If your case involves a multiple offense within ten years, an accident or injury or if it involves other criminal charges such as drug crimes, penalties often become enhanced. Pennsylvania also determines the penalties for DUI offenses on a tiered scale, which increases consequences for offenders who have higher BAC levels. There are three levels of BAC used to determine penalties: general impairment (undetermined BAC, .08%-.099%), high BAC (.10%-.159%) and the highest BAC penalties (.16% and higher or controlled substances) which is also used for individuals who refuse to take a BAC test. The following is an example of the tiered penalty system according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

 

General Impairment Penalties (.08% to .099%) 
1st DUI - ungraded misdemeanor; up to six months' probation; $300 fine; alcohol highway safety course; treatment when ordered. 
2nd DUI - ungraded misdemeanor; 12 months license suspension; 5 days to 6 months imprisonment; $300 to $2,500 fine, alcohol highway safety course; 1 year ignition interlock device; treatment when ordered. 
3rd DUI and up - 2nd degree misdemeanor, 12 month license suspension; 10 days to 2 years imprisonment; $500 to $5,000 fine; 1 year ignition interlock device; treatment when ordered.

 

High BAC Penalties (.10% to .159%) 
1st DUI - ungraded misdemeanor; 12 month license suspension; 48 hours to 6 months imprisonment; $500-$5,000 fine; alcohol highway safety course; treatment when ordered. 
2nd DUI - ungraded misdemeanor; 12 month license suspension; 30 days to 6 months imprisonment; $750 to $5,000; alcohol highway safety course; 1 year ignition interlock device, treatment when ordered. 
3rd DUI - 1st degree misdemeanor; 18 month license suspension; 90 days to 5 years imprisonment; $1,500 to $10,000 fine; 1 year ignition interlock device, treatment when ordered. 
4th DUI and up - 1st degree misdemeanor; 18 month license suspension; 1 to 5 years imprisonment; $1,500 to $10,000 fine; 1 year ignition interlock device; treatment when ordered.

 

Highest BAC Penalties (refusal of BAC test, .16% and higher, controlled substances) 

1st DUI - ungraded misdemeanor; 12 month license suspension; 72 hours to 6 months imprisonment; alcohol highway safety course; treatment when ordered. 
2nd DUI - 1st degree misdemeanor; 18 month license suspension; 90 days to 5 years imprisonment; $1,500 to $10,000 fine; alcohol highway safety course; 1 year ignition interlock device; treatment when ordered. 
3rd DUI and up - 1st degree misdemeanor; 18 month license suspension; 1 to 5 years imprisonment; $2,500 to $10,000 fine; 1 year ignition interlock device; treatment when ordered.

 

It is important to note that the penalties for DUIs depend on many factors. Accidents and injuries can intensify penalties, as well as the nature of the arrest and various other circumstances. While the tiered penalty scale can provide you with a general idea of what to expect, it is highly recommended that you have a qualified attorney evaluate your case. In addition, a reputable attorney from our firm can keep you well-informed about your options and the possibility for alternatives such as theAccelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, which offers defendants the ability to keep a clean record if they follow conditions established by the court. Once the program is completed, a judge can order a dismissal of the charges and an expungement of their arrest. Our firm will work with you to determine your personal options and what you can expect throughout the process.

 

Speak to an Experienced DUI Attorney

 

With steep consequences and the possibility of penalty enhancements, it is vital that you contact legal representation immediately after your arrest. Our firm will closely analyze your case, explain your options and can help you determine the best plan of defense or strategy to achieve less severe penalties. With your financial well-being, reputation and freedom at stake, having an experienced attorney defend your DUI can greatly reduce your risk of suffering more extreme consequences.