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Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer
It is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, other drugs, or a combination of these substances. If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer to avoid losing your license, pay higher insurance rates, and avoid jail if you have a previous DUI conviction. Here is information on other criminal charges in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania DUI Lawyers Understand The Law
A blood alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.08 percent (0.02 percent for a minor) is the legal limit and any tests that determine these amounts will justify a DUI charge. But even lower levels, coupled with other evidence, are enough to get you arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania.
Penalties vary depending on whether you have a previous conviction on your record. The judge may order you to participate in a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program, a “victim impact panel” (awareness program mostly for youthful DUI offenders), and community service. Penalties for DUI are as follows:
- First conviction – A fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, and between three consecutive days, and six months in jail – or both.
- Second conviction–A fine of up to $1,500, and 90 days to six months in jail – or both.
- Third and subsequent conviction–A fine of at least $2,500, at least one year in prison – or both and license suspension for at least 18 months (after serving your sentence).
If you are convicted of other charges stemming from your DUI, additional fines and prison time are added to the above penalties.
Testing for DUI is the First Step that Can Lead to Your Conviction
There are three types of tests that are administered to those suspected of DUI.
- Field Sobriety:These tests are given at the police officer’s discretion. After you are stopped if the officer smells alcohol on your breath, detects slurred speech or red eyes you’ll be asked to perform several tests such as the one-legged stand, then walk-a-straight line, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. The purpose is to give the officer probable cause to arrest you for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
- Breathalyzer:This test is usually administered at the police station. Your BAC is detected by a device that measures the amount of alcohol in your blood. If it registers a level of 0.08 in an adult or 0.02 if you are under 21, you are considered to be DUI.
- Blood Test:Law enforcement officers typically administer a blood test especially if the breathalyzer returns a reading high enough to support DUI charges.
Other Problems that Can Arise Due to DUI Suspicion or Charges against You
Pennsylvania law calls for immediate driver’s license suspensions based on the number of prior offenses, the level of legal of impairment based on your BAC, and if you may have been under the influence of any controlled substance (or a combination of controlled substances and alcohol) among other factors.
If you refuse this test it will not be administered. But, the arresting officer notifies the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which then leads to a suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year. You have a 30 day grace period in which you must appear at a DOT administrative license suspension hearing.
There are several ways to have your driving privileges restored at least until your DUI hearing. But it’s best that you contact a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer for the best advice.
DUI Defenses & the Need for an Experienced PA DUI Lawyer
Once the facts of your case are made clear to your attorney, we may be able to suggest appropriate defenses for your DUI arrest. We may also obtain mitigating factors to reduce your charge or even have it dismissed. A few common examples that could serve as effective defenses include:
- The police officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle;
- The arresting officer did not have cause to prolong your detention or ask you to exit your vehicle;
- The arresting officer did not give read you your Miranda warning before taking you into custody and asking questions;
- The breath test administrator did not follow the statutory requirements in giving you the breath test or the chain of evidence may have been compromised.
It should also be noted that breath testing devices require consistent maintenance and calibration. Without this, they often give faulty readings. There is also the possibility of human error on the part of the police officer administering the test. And if blood has been drawn, this test may be open to interpretation when samples are re-tested by an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer’s independent laboratory.