Yes, a DUI Is Worth Fighting
If you are facing a DUI charge, you have likely felt a moment of panic, not expecting what will unfold in the coming days, weeks, or months. Many people choose to resolve DUIs by simply pleading guilty to the least severe offense to avoid jail time and other penalties.
Driving under the influence (DUI) remains a serious crime even though most first-time offenders will not face substantial jail time. You should consider not only the criminal penalties resulting from a DUI conviction but also the collateral damage you may experience in your personal life. Although DUI charges have decreased amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania police officers continue to arrest thousands of individuals on suspicion of DUI each year. In 2020, total DUI arrests in Pennsylvania reached 18,412.
While not all DUI arrests translate into DUI charges and convictions, every DUI arrest should be approached as if a conviction is a real possibility. Understanding your rights from the time you are arrested to the time you are brought to jail and eventually released is crucial to successfully fighting a DUI charge. Don’t give up and plea to an offense just to put a DUI matter behind you as quickly as possible. Your DUI is worth fighting.
Possible Penalties for DUI in Pennsylvania
If you are charged with driving under the influence in Pittsburgh, your conduct is subject to numerous state laws. DUIs in Pennsylvania are categorized in tiers based on blood-alcohol content (BAC). The three tiers include the following:
General Impairment (.08 to .099% BAC);
High BAC (.10 to .159% BAC); and
Highest BAC (.16% and higher).
Penalties for DUI offenses become more severe based on the amount of alcohol involved. Potential penalties for DUIs range from probation on the low end to five years in prison for the worst DUI offenses that involve a high BAC and other aggravating conduct. The fines range from $300 on the low end to $10,000 on the high end.
In most DUI cases, if convicted, you will likely face a driver’s license suspension, must attend an alcohol highway and safety school, face mandatory treatment when ordered by a judge, and may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for at least one year.
Aside from the criminal penalties, if you are convicted of any DUI in Pittsburgh, you may face one or more of the following non-criminal consequences:
Job loss and difficulty getting a new job;
Difficulty renting an apartment or home (based on a background check that reveals the DUI conviction);
Tarnished criminal record, which may be permanent;
Negative impact on relationships with friends, family members, and significant others; and
Difficulty being accepted into a college or university.
Because DUI convictions have long-lasting consequences, you should act quickly to seek the advice of a Pittsburgh DUI Defense Attorney if you are currently facing charges.
Defenses for a Pennsylvania DUI Charge
Even with what police officers and prosecutors deem to be slam dunk evidence, all criminal charges are defensible. Examples of defenses your lawyer may present in court when fighting a DUI charge include, but may not be limited to, the following:
Constitutional violations, such as an officer’s failure to read you your Miranda rights/warnings, which advises you of your right to remain silent;
Flawed testing, as breathalyzers do not always yield accurate results and field sobriety tests do not always reveal whether a driver is intoxicated;
The arresting police officer did not have valid grounds to pull you over (i.e., simply because you may have been driving bad does not mean you were driving under the influence or breaking any traffic law);
An officer’s subjective conclusions that you were intoxicated based on your behavior do not line up with BAC and field sobriety test results (i.e., an officer concludes you were intoxicated even if you passed the BAC and field sobriety tests); and
You were not actually operating a vehicle or in control of a vehicle at the time you were approached and arrested by police.
DUI defenses will be unique to your circumstances. Your lawyer will craft your defense to expose the prosecution’s weaknesses. All DUIs, no matter how minor they may seem, deserve a strong fight.
You Deserve Experienced Legal Guidance
As Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. I’ve spent more than 15 years representing clients in family law matters as well as handling criminal defense matters. With the help of my legal team, you are in a good position to fight your DUI charge against tough prosecutors.
I not only represent clients in Pittsburgh, but also individuals from the neighboring areas of Shaler Township, Ross Township, Fox Chapel, O’Hara Township, Penn Hills, Oakmont Borough, Indiana Township, and Aspinwall. Contact me today to discuss your legal rights.