Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws in Pennsylvania are often confusing. If you are charged with DUI, it is imperative to understand these as they will determine the outcome of your case and the potential consequences you face.
Here at The Law Offices of A. Charles Peruto, Jr., our attorney, wants to ensure clients know the law and their legal rights. Here, you will find answers to some of the most common questions about Pennsylvania DUI laws.
What Constitutes a DUI in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, DUI law stipulates that a driver is considered to be driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. However, commercial drivers and drivers under 21 are held to stricter standards, with lower BAC limits of 0.04% and 0.02%, respectively.
Are There Different Types of DUI Charges in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania DUI law recognizes three levels of DUI based on the driver’s BAC:
- General Impairment (0.08% to 0.099% BAC)
- High BAC (0.10% to 0.159% BAC)
- Highest BAC (0.16% and higher, or controlled substances)
Each level has increasing penalties, including fines, license suspension, and jail time.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania?
Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania vary widely depending on the BAC level and whether it’s a first or subsequent offense. A first-time offender with general impairment may face probation, while a repeat offender with a high BAC might face prison time, longer license suspensions and heftier fines. It is essential to consult a DUI attorney to understand the specific penalties that may apply in your case.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has an “implied consent” law, which means that if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, you will face automatic penalties such as a 12-month license suspension and fines. These penalties are separate from those associated with a DUI conviction.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help Me?
A DUI attorney is invaluable when dealing with Pennsylvania DUI charges. They can:
- Assess your case: An experienced DUI attorney will evaluate the specifics of your situation to determine the best course of action.
- Navigate the legal system: Understanding the intricacies of DUI law can be overwhelming. A skilled attorney will guide you through the process.
- Negotiate penalties: A DUI attorney may be able to reduce your charges or fines, especially if it’s a first offense.
- Defend your rights: If your case goes to court, an attorney will defend your rights and aim for the best possible outcome.
What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a DUI?
A DUI conviction can have long-lasting effects beyond legal penalties. It may impact your employment opportunities, insurance rates, and travel possibilities. A DUI on your record can also influence future legal proceedings or background checks.
Is a DUI a Criminal Offense in Pennsylvania?
Yes, a DUI is considered a criminal offense in Pennsylvania. Depending on the circumstances, it can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity of the crime influences the classification, with repeat offenses and serious injury or property damage leading to more severe charges.
Can a DUI Be Expunged From My Record in Pennsylvania?
Expungement in Pennsylvania is limited, but it is possible under certain conditions, such as completing an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for first-time offenders. However, expungement is not guaranteed, and discussing your options with a knowledgeable DUI attorney is best.
How Does Pennsylvania’s ARD Program Work?
The ARD program is a pre-trial intervention program for first-time, non-violent offenders. It provides a chance for rehabilitation and eventual dismissal of charges upon completion. The program may include community service, probation, and other requirements. Successful completion can result in expungement of the DUI arrest from your record.
Will I Lose My License After a DUI in Pennsylvania?
License suspension is a common consequence of a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania. The length of suspension varies based on the offense level and prior DUI history. It’s critical to consult with a DUI attorney to understand the specific implications for your case.
Can I Drive with a Restricted License After a DUI?
Pennsylvania may grant an Occupational Limited License (OLL) or Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL) to some individuals who have served part of their DUI-related suspension. These restricted licenses allow driving for work, medical treatment, and other essential activities.
What Should I Do if I’m Pulled Over for a Suspected DUI?
If you’re pulled over for a suspected DUI in Pennsylvania:
- Stay calm: Keep your hands visible, and don’t make sudden movements.
- Be polite: Cooperate with the officer, but remember your right to remain silent.
- Field Sobriety Tests: These are not mandatory, and you can politely refuse.
- Breathalyzer test: Remember the consequences of Pennsylvania’s implied consent law while you can refuse this test.
- Contact a DUI attorney: As soon as possible, contact a DUI attorney to discuss your situation.
Understanding Pennsylvania DUI Laws and Your Rights
Pennsylvania DUI law is complex, and the stakes are high. The implications of a DUI conviction can be profound and long-lasting. Understanding the law, your rights, and the importance of having an experienced DUI attorney by your side is crucial.
If you have more questions or need assistance with a DUI charge, please contact The Law Offices of A. Charles Peruto, Jr. Remember, a proactive approach and professional guidance can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.