DUI Law and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Related Charges

DUI law is a complex field that requires a comprehensive knowledge of Pennsylvania DUI laws and regulations in order to mount a successful defense. There are a number of crimes related to drunken or intoxicated driving, and each must be addressed in a very specific manner that only a proven DUI attorney would understand. After 24 years in the field and countless cases under my belt, I can offer you the best chance at an effective defense from DUI charges.

A person arrested under Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code for driving under the influence may face jail time, fines, mandatory alcohol education programs and the loss of driving privileges. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) will, in most cases, suspend a person’s the driver’s license in a separate civil action.

Under Pennsylvania’s DUI law, the punishment for a DUI depends upon whether it is a first, second, or third (or subsequent) conviction within ten years.  Pennsylvania mandatory sentences and fines are also based upon a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, whether the motorist was alleged to be impaired by controlled substances and/or whether the motorist refuses a police officer’s request for a chemical test. Punishment under Pennsylvania’s DUI law is divided into three levels, one for people who drive with blood alcohol content from .08 to .099%, another for blood alcohol levels from .10 to .159%, with the most severe punishment for persons with a BAC level higher than .16%, a chemical test refusal or a controlled substances DUI.

Furthermore, DUI law and any related charges can have a lasting impact on your career or education considering that many are restricted from driving or seemingly face other penalties before they are even tried in court. Mitigate and prevent these problems by calling me right now. I can help you with DUI law cases related to:

*1st Offense Cases
In Pennsylvania a first offense within ten years is an ungraded misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months incarceration. Even for a first offense a motorist may face a mandatory period of incarceration, a mandatory driver's license suspension and mandatory fines. A motorist with no prior criminal convictions may be eligible for Pennsylvania's diversionary program Alternative Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). ARD, however, is far from assured as factors may make the motorist ineligible such as having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop, whether anyone was injured in a motor vehicle accident and whether the motorist had outstanding fines and costs from other traffic related matters. If you are facing your first DUI arrest please do not hesitate to call for a free and confidential consultation.
*2nd Offense Cases
In Pennsylvania the penalties for a second DUI offense within ten years escalate dramatically and can involve a license suspension of up to 18 months, a mandatory period of incarceration of up to ninety days and a mandatory fine of $1,500. Furthermore, depending on the BAC or whether the second DUI within ten years is a controlled substances DUI or the result of a chemical test refusal the maximum potential penalty is five years incarceration.
*3rd and Subsequent Offense Cases
A third or subsequent DUI within ten years exposes a motorist to the most severe potential mandatory sentencing under Pennsylvania DUI law. Penalties can include a mandatory period of one year incarceration in a Pennsylvania State Prison, a maximum potential sentence of seven years incarceration, a $2,500.00 fine and an eighteen month license suspension. Some counties may offer DUI Court as an alternative to incarceration.
Medical Marijuana and DUI
Under Pennsylvania law any motorist with any detectable amount of a Schedule I controlled substance OR ITS METABOLITE can be arrested, prosecuted and convicted of DUI. This is especially chilling for the 250,000 + active patients in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program who can be convicted solely due to the presence of the non-psychoactive metabolite Carboxy THC with no proof of actual impairment required. Marijuana is defined as a "controlled substance" in Pennsylvania's Vehicle Code and no exception is made for medical marijuana patients. If you are a medical marijuana patient facing a DUI please contact me right away to discuss any potential defenses and whether Pennsylvania appellate law provides any potential relief.
Ignition Interlock
Most DUI convictions require the installation of an ignition interlock device. A motorist is required to install an interlock device on any vehicle the motorist operates, including a work vehicle. The motorist must blow in to the device to unlock the ignition. If the device detects alcohol the vehicle cannot be started. Interlock is required for controlled substance DUIs even though it cannot detect controlled substances or metabolites thereof. In most cases a motorist may apply for ignition interlock after serving half of their mandatory period of license suspension. Ignition interlock will also be required for a period of one year after operating privileges are restored. Tampering with or removing an ignition interlock device is a separate criminal offense.
Implied Consent
Pennsylvania is an implied consent state. This means that the motorist is deemed to consent to a police officer's request for a chemical test if the officer has reason to suspect the motorist is impaired by either alcohol or controlled substances. Refusing a request for a chemical test is an automatic license suspension of at least one year. If the police officer can articulate probable cause that officer can still apply for a search warrant and force compliance with a chemical test. A refusal automatically makes the DUI the most serious of Pennsylvania's tiered DUI, similar to a .160 or above BAC or a controlled substances offense.
*Aggravating factors for a first, second, third (or subsequent) DUI
There are a number of factors that make a DUI case “aggravated.” In general, this type of DUI charge means that – in addition to the crime of DUI – you also broke other laws. Sentences for such crimes can be much more severe than a straight DUI charge. The following may classify a DUI as Aggravated:
1.) Driving while under the influence on a suspended, invalid, expired, stolen, altered, forged or otherwise illegitimate license. This can include driving without a license.

 

2.) If you’re arrested for DUI law related crimes and there are children in the vehicle, aggravated DUI charges are likely. In many cases each child in the vehicle at the time of the DUI incident can warrant a separate charge of Endangering the Welfare of Children.  Driving with a minor will render the motorist ineligible for ARD.

3.)  If you are involved in an accident where another motorist, a passenger or any other person is injured or killed you may face serious mandatory periods of incarceration.  Homicide by Vehicle while DUI involves a mandatory period of three years incarceration in Pennsylvania State Prison.

DUI laws are constantly being adjusted and bolstered in order to dissuade people from drinking and driving. This includes changes in sentencing guidelines, changes in BAC or blood alcohol level guidelines, adjustments to rules for breathalyzer tests and much more. Therefore, the only logical choice is to work with an attorney that has an intimate understanding of these laws.

If you have been charged with a first, second or third DUI, have been involved in a DUI accident or are a medical marijuana patient charged with DUI please do not hesitate to contact me for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.

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