Getting arrested for driving under the influence can be scary and intimidating, especially if it is your first time. The consequences of a DUI conviction in Pittsburgh are too harsh to leave things to chance.

The DUI laws in Pennsylvania are complicated, and a thorough understanding of the DUI law and legal system is vital. While a public defender may represent you in DUI Court, only a DUI lawyer who specializes in DUI cases can help your gain a favorable outcome in your DUI case. Contact Wyland Law Group for a strong defense representation if you are serious about fighting DUI charges in Pittsburgh, PA. We will vigorously fight for your rights and help you navigate the criminal justice system.

What happens after a DUI in PA?

After the arrest, the officer will subject you to some tests. Chemical tests show your blood’s current alcohol concentration. The results show the arresting police the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of the arrest. Refusal to take these tests is punishable by law.

Unless it is a repeat offense, most police officers will wait to receive the blood test results before issuing charges. After your booking, the court will schedule a formal arraignment in the Court of Common Pleas, which is the initial hearing following your DUI arrest.

Due to the harsh and severe penalties handed out to Pennsylvania DUI offenders, it is advisable to seek the counsel of an experienced and reliable DUI attorney. A skilled DUI lawyer in Pittsburgh will help you understand your charges, available options, and potential outcomes properly.

What to expect during the preliminary hearing

The preliminary hearing takes place before a magisterial district judge. The court will read your charges and ask for your plea. You can plead guilty or not guilty.

A plea of not guilty gives you a jury trial, during which you can prove that you were not drunk driving. It is possible to fight DUI charges and win the case. However, you must ensure you have expert legal representation to achieve this.

If you plead guilty, you will receive a sentence. Here is what to expect:

  • A drug and alcohol evaluation.
  • Attend the alcohol highway safety school program.
  • Mandatory minimum fine.
  • Jail time for repeat offenders.
  • Your license will be suspended.

Even if you plan to plead guilty, having a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer is crucial. A defense lawyer can make negotiations that can lead to a favorable outcome for the defendant in the legal process.

DUI Sentences in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, your DUI penalty is determined by the blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether you have been previously convicted of a similar offense. Pennsylvania divided DUI into three tiers:

  • General impairment – 0.08 – 0.099% BAC
  • High BAC – 0.10 – 0.159% BAC
  • Highest BAC – 0.16% and above

First offense DUI in PA

A first-time DUI conviction in Pennsylvania can have enormous consequences. The penalties may include:

  •  Fines range from $300 to $5,000.
  • License suspension up to 1 year.
  • Court-ordered treatment.
  • An alcohol highway safety school.

Criminal penalties may include up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Second offense DUI penalties

DUI penalties for second-time offenders may include:

  • Fines of up to $5,000.
  • License suspension for up to 18 months.
  • A one-year ignition interlock.
  • Court-ordered treatment.
  • Attendance at an alcohol safety school.

Criminal penalties include up to five years in prison.

Third offense DUI penalties

The penalties for a third DUI offense may include:

  • An 18-month driver’s license suspension.
  • A fine ranging between $500 and $10,000.
  • A one-year ignition lock.
  • Treatment when court-ordered.

Criminal penalties include up to five years in prison.

DUI penalties for third offenses

All administrative penalties remain the same for three or more prior offenses. For criminal penalties, the delineation only changes for the high BAC level. Here, the prison time increases to one to five years in prison rather than 90 days to five years in prison.

Underage DUI in PA

Drivers under 21 only need a 0.02 BAC to be convicted of drunk driving. Also, underage drivers arrested for DUI face additional penalties, including;

  • Fines of up to $5,000
  • 12 -18 month license suspension
  • Up to six months in jail time

Ignition interlock device (IID)

All PA drivers who receive a license suspension for driving under the influence charges will have an IID installed in their cars for at least twelve months after license reinstatement. DUI offenders can apply for exemptions to the ignition interlock device. For instance, an exemption may be granted if you prove that getting an ignition interlock device on all your vehicles will create financial hardship. However, the exemption will require installation on at least one car. Note that the person convicted of DUI assumes the cost of the ignition interlock device.

Alternatives to traditional sentencing

Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition, popular as ARD, is a unique pre-trial intervention program that reduces sentences and fines for first-time DUI offenders. To achieve this, you must complete:

  • A drug and alcohol evaluation
  • An alcohol highway safety program
  • Driver’s license suspension period
  • Up to 12 months of court supervision

The successful completion of ARD also allows PennDOT to dismiss or expunge DUI criminal records after ten years as long as the court didn’t revoke the person’s driving privileges because they are considered a habitual felon.

Looking for a DUI Lawyer? Contact Our criminal defense attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA

A DUI conviction can leave a stain on your record that can affect what jobs you can take, where you can rent or buy a home, how much insurance you will have to pay, and more. To prevent this, you should seek legal counsel from the best DUI lawyers in Pennsylvania.

Wyland Law Group is a Pittsburgh-based law firm that offers criminal defense services. Our DUI lawyers have vast experience and expertise in criminal law and will do everything possible to ensure you avoid high penalties and lengthy license suspensions. Our criminal defense firm understands what it takes to get the best possible outcome for those facing DUI charges.

For more information, visit our Pittsburgh law office or contact us at (412) 710-0013 for a free consultation with our experienced DUI attorneys.