Car Keys resting near glasses of beer and beer bottle caps

How to Fight a Drunk Driving Charge in Pennsylvania

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. Oct. 19, 2020

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2018, there were 49,730 DUI arrests statewide. Operating a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. If convicted, the defendant could be facing severe penalties, including hefty fines, prison sentence, license suspension or revocation, and other social ramifications.

If you were charged with a DUI and you intend to fight your drunk driving charges, retaining an aggressive and highly-skilled Pennsylvania DUI attorney immediately is crucial for detailed guidance. I'm committed to defending clients in their DUI cases. As your legal counsel, I can fight vigorously to defend your rights and offer you the comprehensive representation you need. Allegheny Attorneys at Law proudly serves clients throughout Pittsburgh, Ross Township, Shaler Township, and Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.

Possible Penalties for a DUI in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it is prohibited to drive in a public place with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08% or while under the influence of a controlled substance. Additionally, there is a Zero Tolerance Law in the state which carries severe consequences for individuals under 21 years convicted of drunk driving. Possible penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania include:

First Offense

  • Jail: 6 months probation but no jail time

  • Fines: $300

  • License Suspension: None

Second Offense

  • Jail: 5 days to 6 months

  • Fines: Between $300 and $2,500

  • License Suspension: 12 months

Third Offense

  • Jail: 10 days to 2 years

  • Fines: Between $500 and $5,000

  • License Suspension: 12 months

Administrative License-Related Penalties

Drivers who were lawfully arrested for drunk driving in Pennsylvania are required to submit a blood or breath test. Refusal to do this will attract the following penalties:

  • First DUI Offense: 12-month license suspension and a reinstatement fee of $500

  • Second DUI Offense: 18-month license suspension and a reinstatement fee of $1,000

  • Third DUI Offense: 18-month license suspension and a reinstatement fee of $2,000

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program

First-time DUI offenders (drivers with no previous DUI offense within the last ten years) can participate in the alternative program to get a reduced penalty. The defendant must complete:

  • An alcohol highway safety school program

  • An alcohol and drug evaluation and recommended treatment

  • Court supervision for a period of 6 to 12 months

  • A reduced driver's license suspension period

Upon completing all the ARD program's requirements successfully, the DUI charge will be dismissed.

Other Consequences of DUI

Besides fines, jail time, and license suspensions, there are other long-term consequences of a DUI conviction. These include:

  • Harder to get a job as a result of thorough background checks

  • Higher auto insurance premiums

  • Driver's license revocation

  • Professional relationships may be adversely affected

  • Personal relationships may also be affected

  • Scholarship programs may be revoked or denied

Due to the vast and serious nature of the consequences, fighting a DUI charge is recommended where possible.

Defense Strategy

Possible defenses against a drunk driving charge include:

  • The arrest was made unlawfully (didn't advise of rights, there was no probable cause)

  • Testing was not done in accordance with state law

  • Arresting officers failed to follow due diligence or proper procedure

  • Driving was not affected by alcohol or drugs

  • The driver was intimidated into taking a field sobriety test

  • The Breathalyzer or breath test unit was not calibrated properly

  • Blood samples or urine tests were contaminated or compromised

An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess your case and review your options.

Why Work With Allegheny Attorneys at Law?

Defending your drunk driving charges without the proper guidance of a knowledgeable attorney can expose you to the risk of suffering maximum punishment. If convicted, you could be facing prison time, substantial fines, and other life-altering consequences. This is why you need to work with a skilled and aggressive Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney immediately.

Allegheny Attorneys at Law is devoted to offering comprehensive legal services and strong representation to clients in DUI matters. As your legal counsel, I will assess all the details of your case and strategize your best defense. I will fight vigorously to defend your rights and attempt to establish your innocence. Having me on your side can help increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome in your impaired driving case.

Contact Allegheny Attorneys at Law today to schedule a one-on-one case evaluation with an experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney. I can offer you the experienced legal guidance and comprehensive representation you need. I proudly represent clients throughout Pittsburgh, Ross Township, Shaler Township, and Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.