Pittsburgh PA DUI Attorney
In Pennsylvania, if you are stopped by the police for ANY REASON and determined to be incapable of safely operating your vehicle due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, YOU WILL be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). While such a charge is serious, the attorneys at AAAL – Allegheny Attorneys At Law, P.C. will work with you to defend your rights while guiding you through the criminal justice system. Simply because either you or a loved one has been arrested by the Police and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) does NOT mean you are guilty! A Pittsburgh PA DUI Attorney at AAAL will review your case with you to determine your best available options including pursuing possible plea agreements with the Office of District Attorney that can include:
- Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD);
- Plea Disposition;
- House Arrest / Electronic Monitoring, Probation and / or Alternative Housing in place of time served at the County Jail; and,
- Occupational Limited (Bread & Butter) License through application to PENNDOT.
Why fight it?
One of the main reasons you should challenge a DUI is because of the serious nature of the penalties. A DUI conviction carries with it the possibility of jail time, steep fines and the loss of driving privileges. With the help of AAAL – Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. all aspects of your DUI charge will be scrutinized so that your rights will be protected. You cannot afford a DUI conviction because:
- you can receive jail time or either Alternative Housing or Intermediate Punishment (House Arrest with an ankle bracelet) at your expense;
- your driver’s license can be suspended from thirty (30) days to eighteen (18) months;
- your car insurance rates WILL rise or your coverage may be canceled;
- the average out-of-pocket cost for a DUI conviction is between $1,500 and $5000;
- you may be required to have an Interlock Ignition switch installed in your vehicle at your own expense; and,
- you could lose your job due to any of the above.
The Traditional DUI Stop, What to Expect!
To execute a traditional DUI traffic stop (other than those made at a DUI checkpoint), a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed some violation of the Motor Vehicle Code, usually for a moving violation or because your vehicle is not up to code.
From the moment the officer initiates the stop, he or she is observing your actions to determine if you are intoxicated. The officer will be observing and scrutinizing odors coming from the vehicle, your speech, your attitude, clothing, the conduct of passengers as well as other physical evidence to make his initial determination of whether or not to proceed further with his DUI investigation. If ordered out of your vehicle, the officer may employ several field sobriety tests to determine if you are intoxicated. These tests include the walk and turn, the one leg stand and various other counting or alphabet tests. If the officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that you are under the influence, you most likely will be arrested and taken for either a blood or breath test to determine your exact blood alcohol level.
In the event your blood alcohol level exceeds 0.08% or if the office simply believes, based on his observations, that you were incapable of safely operating your vehicle, you will charged with a DUI and most likely multiple other criminal and / or vehicular charges. At this point it is imperative that you immediately contact an attorney. A Pittsburgh PA DUI Attorney at AAAL is available 24 hours a day and can be reached at 412.963.8495 or by e-mail at Marc@AlleghenyAttorneys.com. We look forward to resolving your DUI and DUI related charges.
Pennsylvania DUI Law (Current as of March, 2010)
Pennsylvania’s DUI laws, codified in Chapter 38 of the Vehicle Code, prohibit a person from driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle (I) after drinking any amount of alcohol (or using drugs) that impairs the person’s ability to drive; or (II) with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than 0.08% within two (2) hours of the alleged conduct. The penalties for a DUI violation are dictated by the nature of alleged impairment and the number of prior DUI offenses of the defendant.
For alcohol impairment, Pennsylvania has enacted a three-tiered system, under which your offense can be classified as follows: (I) general impairment [either (a) any BAC if defendant is incapable of safe operation, or (b) a BAC of at least 0.08% but less than 0.10%]; (II) high rate of alcohol [at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%]; (III) highest rate of alcohol [0.16% or higher]. Pennsylvania also has separate charges for driving under the influence of the following: any amount of a designated controlled substance; certain solvents or noxious substances; any drug (even if it is over-the-counter); and a combination of alcohol and drugs. Furthermore, no proof of impairment is needed for certain of these offenses!
Prior offenses under Pennsylvania law means a conviction, adjudication of delinquency, juvenile consent decree or acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition before the sentencing on the present violation for an offense under the PA DUI statute or a “substantially similar” offense from another jurisdiction. Any of these within the past 10 years can significantly increase the penalties for a current DUI conviction.
Finally, under Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent law, any person who drives in Pennsylvania is deemed to have impliedly consented to chemical testing of their blood and/or breath for the purpose of determining impairment. As a result, if you refuse to submit to testing, you will be subject to enhanced DUI penalties and an automatic additional 1-year license suspension.