There is nothing about a Pennsylvania DUI conviction to take lightly. Depending on the situation – ranging from your blood alcohol level to prior arrests – you could end up with a fine, community service, and/or even jail time.
While it makes the most sense to avoid drinking and driving entirely, some folks find themselves pulled over and in trouble with the law.
Canadian Travel Restrictions
Although it may not matter to some, those who have been convicted of driving under the influence in the United States are prevented from entering Canada for a period of five years from the date the individual is no longer on supervision.
Do you have family in Canada? Do you find yourself traveling to the country regularly for business? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, a DUI conviction, even with an ARD disposition, will cause a major headache.
What is PA’s Implied Consent Law?
Under PA DUI law, when arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence you are given what is known as the implied consent warnings. This is often times referred to as the O’Connell Warnings.
In short, the arresting officer is trained to read this warning, word for word, with no explanation of what it means.
The problem with this is simple: some people don’t understand what they are being told, and they decide to refuse to take the test not realizing the full implications. Subsequently, the prosecution will seek the stiffest penalties that come along with a “refusal,” which can actually be more harsh than taking the test and failing.
Here is the complete reading of the O’Connell Warnings for Pennsylvania:
Please be advised that you are under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance in violation of Section 3802 of the Vehicle Code. I am requesting that you submit to a chemical test of blood, breath or urine. It is my duty as a police officer to inform you that if you refuse to submit to the chemical test, your operating privilege will be suspended for at least 12 months, and up to 18 months, if you have prior refusals or have been previously sentenced for driving under the influence. In addition, if you refuse to submit to the chemical test, and you are convicted of or plead to violating Section 3802(a)(1) (relating to impaired driving) of the Vehicle Code, because of your refusal, you will be subject to more severe penalties set forth in Section 3804(c) (relating to penalties) of the Vehicle Code, the same as if you would be convicted of driving with the highest rate of alcohol, which include a minimum of 72 consecutive hours in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000.00, up to a maximum of five years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. It is also my duty as a police officer to inform you that you have no right to speak with an attorney or anyone else before deciding whether to submit to testing and any request to speak with an attorney or anyone else after being provided these warnings or remaining silent when asked to submit to chemical testing will constitute a refusal, resulting in the suspension of your operating privilege and other enhanced criminal sanctions if you are convicted of violating Section 3802(a) of the Vehicle Code.
As you can see, the officer is requesting you to submit a chemical test of blood, breath or urine. Although the penalties involved with refusing to consent to an alcohol test are described in the warning, this process and entire ordeal can be confusing for even the most sober of people.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in the state of Pennsylvania, contact us today to begin preparing a professional legal defense.