This Is What Happens When You Get Charged With A DUI For The First Time In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, a DUI charge is a serious offense that can adversely impact your future. The good news is that, in most cases, a first offense DUI is a misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor has repercussions that can take years to sort out, it does not affect your life in the way that a felony would.
If you have recently been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania for the first time, here is what you need to know.
Getting Arrested For DUI In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania drivers who have been pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving will likely have to submit to a field sobriety test. This is true for first-time offenders and habitual offenders. The field sobriety test will be one of the primary factors in determining if you will be arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania.
The field sobriety test allows the officer who pulled you over to establish probable cause. Once probable cause has been established, the officer will take you into custody and ask you to submit to a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test. After being tested, you will be released (either in a few hours or the next morning).
We should point out that Pennsylvania is what is known as an “implied consent state.” This means that if you are arrested for DUI, you must submit to a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. If you do not submit to testing, your license will be suspended. Your arresting officer is required to inform you of the consequences of refusing a BAC test.
The DUI Court Hearing
The next step for first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania is the preliminary court hearing. You will receive a summons telling you where/when you need to appear for your preliminary hearing. If you would like the help of a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer, this is the time to contact one.
Your attorney will be able to advise you on whether or not your case will go to trial, as well as how you should plead during your trial. The Wyland Law Group will be able to provide expert counsel in this matter.
A plea of “not guilty” or “no contest” is often a difficult battle, as it often comes down to your word against the police officer’s. It is important to note that, should you choose to plead guilty, you still need to appear in court. Failure to appear will likely result in additional fines and penalties. The penalties associated with a first-time DUI conviction vary, and depend heavily on your BAC when you were arrested.
Avoiding Fines And Penalties
The best way to avoid the potentially disastrous fines and penalties associated with a first-time DUI is to avoid drinking and driving in the first place. If you are going out to drink, bring a designated driver or plan to call a cab/ride share. Alternatively, you can ask bar management if it is OK to leave your car in the lot overnight. This is the best course of action to take.
If, however, you do find yourself charged with driving under the influence, call the experienced attorneys at the Wyland Law Group.