Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer

Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is a common but serious offense under Pennsylvania law. Under increasing pressure from the public, both lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have increased the types of conduct that run afoul of the law and increased the penalties as well.

Because some DUI offenses are treated as misdemeanors, there can be a misconception that they are not a serious law violation. But the consequences can be significant, and subsequent conduct can increase the consequences substantially.

If you have been charged with a motor vehicle offense involving alcohol or drugs, contact an experienced criminal lawyer to avoid future complications and begin working toward the best resolution. A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer can help you protect your constitutional rights by advising you on how to speak with law enforcement.

DUI Violation

If someone is facing a violation, they should speak with a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer before going to trial. The law prohibits driving or controlling the movement of a motor vehicle after having consumed a sufficient quantity of an intoxicating substance to impair safe driving ability. The law prohibits driving or operating a vehicle while certain substances are in the driver’s blood, regardless of any finding of impaired ability.

The following are prohibited under Pennsylvania law:

  • Driving while impaired by alcohol
  • Driving while impaired by a legal drug or combination of drugs
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above
  • Driving with any amount of a non-prescription controlled substance in the blood

Aggravating Factors

Pennsylvania DUI law creates three tiers of BAC violations. A rate between .08 and .10 percent is considered “general impairment.” At the next tier, a BAC rate between .10 and .16 is ruled to be a “high rate of alcohol.” The top tier is a BAC level of .16 or above, which is classified as the “highest rate of alcohol.”

The offense will also be treated more seriously if:

  • The impairment results in an accident causing bodily injuries or property damage
  • The driver refuses to take a blood or breath test
  • The driver has been convicted of a previous violation within the past 10 years

Certain categories of drivers will be considered in violation of the law if they are driving or operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of as little as .02 percent. Minors, drivers under the age of 21, and commercial drivers operating school buses violate the law with a BAC level of .02 percent, while drivers of other commercial vehicles are found in violation at .04 percent.

Impact of Implied Consent

Pennsylvania is an “implied consent” state, which means that drivers who use the public roads have implicitly consented to take a blood, breath, or urine test if suspected of a DUI offense. Refusal to take such a test becomes a separate violation resulting in a suspension of the driver’s license.

Potential Penalties

Assessment of penalties in DUI cases can be quite complicated because so many factors are involved. For instance, a driver with a first convicted DUI offense may not face a license suspension, may be given probation and ordered to pay a fine of $300.

However, if that same driver with a first offense has a BAC level of .16 percent or higher, the penalties will include a 12-month license suspension, up to six months in prison, and a fine between $1000-$5000. A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer can help the individual mitigate these charges to lessen penalties.

Working with an Attorney

The circumstances involved in a particular case can determine whether a violation is treated mildly or severely. An attorney with experience advocating in DUI cases will know the best defenses to raise based on the circumstances of your individual case and can help work toward the best available solution. Contact a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer to get legal guidance as soon as possible.