Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About DUI In Pennsylvania
The attorneys at Chieppor & Egner LLC provide highly skilled and experienced defense against drunk driving charges and related offenses. Below, we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions we are asked by clients.
What is the legal limit to be considered driving under the influence in the state of Pennsylvania?
The minimum legal blood alcohol content limit that you can be prosecuted for exceeding in the state of Pennsylvania is .08% BAC, unless you are under the age of 21, in which case any blood alcohol above the margin of error of the testing device (.02%) will lead to charges.
What will retaining the services of Chieppor & Egner cost?
The cost of hiring a defense lawyer varies. Factors in determining the cost of representation include the circumstances of your arrest and your case, as well as your prior arrests and convictions.
My driver’s license is going to be suspended. When will this suspension begin?
If you refused to give a breath or blood test, you will receive notification in the mail from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation when the suspension of your driver’s license begins, approximately six weeks after you refused.
- If you get ARD for a first drunk driving offense, you will turn in your license at the ARD hearing (approximately six months after your charge is filed).
- If you are pleading guilty, you will turn in your license at your guilty plea.
Will my DUI charge permanently be on my criminal record?
It depends. If you complete the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program or the charges are dismissed altogether, you may be able to have the entire incident expunged, or removed, from your criminal record. A DUI conviction will stay on your record until you apply for a pardon or 10 years have gone by with no new offenses when it can be sealed. PennDot will always keep a record of ARD or a DUI conviction.
Can I pick which chemical test I participate in?
Typically, no. The police officer initiating the stop will choose the chemical test and unless you have a medical condition, you should participate in whatever chemical test is asked of you. If you are uncooperative or you do not have a medical condition, you may face penalties for refusing to participate in a test at all which includes a license suspension.
This is my first DUI offense. What happens from this point forward?
After your arrest, you will be issued an arraignment date per the court process for DUI offenses. In the meantime, you may be interested in reading what effects and consequences a DUI conviction might have.
How much time will I spend in jail? The amount of time you spend in jail depends on whether you have had any prior DUI offenses and your BAC. For a first offense, house arrest is typically given instead of a jail sentence.
If this is your first DUI offense:
- And your BAC is .08% – .099%, then you won’t face any jail time but may still be prosecuted. The main benefit of this lowest tier of impairment is no license suspension, no jail time and no house arrest.
- And your BAC is .10% – .159%, then you will face at least 48 hours in jail or two weeks of house arrest.
- And your BAC is .16% or higher, then you will face at least 72 hours in jail or three weeks of house arrest.
If this is your second DUI offense:
- And your BAC is .08% – .099%, you will face at least five days in jail or house arrest in some form.
- And your BAC is .10% –.159%, you will face at least 30 days in jail or house arrest in some form.
- And your BAC is .16% or higher, you will face at least 90 days or house arrest in some form and five years of supervision.
Can I participate in Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)?
There are a variety of factors that qualify someone as being able to participate in ARD. You may be able to participate in ARD if the following applies to you:
- You have no prior DUI convictions.
- You have not previously participated in ARD.
- There was no serious accident that occurred in relation to your DUI charge.
- There was no one under the age of 14 in your vehicle at the time of the stop.
- You had a BAC under .30%
- There is not a serious criminal history.
What kinds of things do police look for when spotting drunk drivers?
The following is a list of some factors that may tip police off to a drunk driver:
- Making too wide turns
- Stopping or turning abruptly or illegally
- Drifting into other lanes
- Delayed response time to traffic
- Sudden braking
- Driving well below the speed limit
- Driving on the shoulder or wrong side of the road
- Almost hitting another vehicle or object
- Inconsistent signaling with driving
- Driving with no headlights
I’m under 21 and charged with a DUI. What happens next?
If you are convicted of a DUI, you will face the harshest penalties under the highest BAC tier – regardless of how little or high your BAC was at the time.
I’m a licensed professional. How will this impact my career and will I face any additional penalties?
A DUI conviction can have serious long-term effects on one’s career, as well as reputation. Needless to say, you need the help of an experienced attorney.