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Philadelphia DUI Lawyer

Being arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania can be a costly, embarrassing, and time-consuming ordeal. Whether you live in Philadelphia or you were only visiting the City of Brotherly Love when you were arrested, finding a DUI attorney in Philadelphia who is familiar with the local laws and courts can be beneficial in helping you fight the charge. An experienced criminal lawyer in Philadelphia can help by taking such steps as challenging the legality of the stop, questioning the maintenance or administration of blood analysis, or negotiating a favorable outcome to keep you out of jail. To learn more or discuss how a defense may be built for your case, call today.

Philadelphia DUI Laws

The state of Pennsylvania prohibits and penalizes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Chapter 38 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.

The state’s general DUI law states that a person may not drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle “after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.”

This statute allows criminal charges for a person whose driving ability is impaired by alcohol, but it also provides per se laws allowing for the arrest of a person whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above a certain level, regardless of impairment:

  • General impairment – BAC of at least 0.08 percent but less than 0.10 percent
  • High rate of alcohol – BAC of at least 0.10 percent but less than 0.16 percent
  • Highest rate of alcohol – BAC of 0.16 percent or higher

According to law, BAC is to be determined within two hours of the person having driven, operated, or been in actual physical control of a vehicle. However, there are exceptions to the two-hour rule. If you were given a blood or breath test more than two hours after driving, talk to a Philadelphia DUI attorney about the delay.

Drug DUI

Pennsylvania also prohibits driving while impaired by drugs. A person can be charged with DUI with any detectable amount of a Schedule I, II, or III drug in his or her system or the metabolites of the drugs (including trace amounts of THC from marijuana use). DUID charges, similar to those involving alcohol, can carry serious penalties and warrant attention from a Philadelphia DUI attorney as soon as possible.

BAC Limits

Although the state lists 0.08 percent as the legal limit for DUI, a person can actually be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with a much lower BAC:

  • A minor under the age of 21 is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater.
  • A commercial driver is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater.
  • A school bus driver (or school vehicle driver) is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater.

DUI Penalties

In general, DUI is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, but the penalties of conviction can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case, such as:

  • Whether the driver is charged with a first, second, or subsequent DUI offense
  • Whether the driver refuses a blood or breath test
  • Whether the driver has general impairment, a “high rate of alcohol,” or “highest rate of alcohol”
  • Whether the driver is involved in an accident and whether the accident results in property damage only, personal injury, or death
  • Whether the driver was transporting a minor under the age of 18

Being arrested for DUI does not have to mean a conviction will follow. Talk to a DUI defense lawyer in Philadelphia to discuss the options for your case.