Aggressive DUI Attorneys Will Defend You Against Driving Under the Influence Charges
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal traffic offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you were arrested for a DUI in Carlisle, Chambersburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lemoyne, or York, you need a knowledgeable yet hard-hitting DUI defense attorney to advise you on how to respond to the allegations, develop a defense theory, and negotiate for decreased penalties. Our skilled DUI defense attorneys at Coover & Associates have years of experience representing Pennsylvania clients charged with driving under the influence. Our courtroom savvy, knowledge of the DUI laws, and dedication to your desired outcome allow us to place your best interests at the forefront of your representation.
Understanding Pennsylvania DUI Laws
DUI laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania criminalize driving, attempting to drive, or even merely sitting behind the wheel of car while under the influence. A driver can be under the influence of (1) drugs or (2) alcohol.
Illegal drugs are defined in the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act. The presence of illegal drugs in the driver’s blood stream can be determined through a blood test.
Pennsylvania law recognizes that drinking in social situations is a common and acceptable practice. Therefore, the DUI statute provides some leeway for alcohol consumption. However, a blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage of 0.08 or higher is absolutely forbidden for drivers. BAC can be determined through a breathalyzer test or a blood test.
According to the DUI laws, there are three categories of BAC:
- General impairment: Lower levels of intoxication ranging from 0.08 to 0.099 BAC
- High impairment: High levels of intoxication ranging from 0.10 to 0.159
- Highest impairment: Highest possible levels of intoxication from 0.16 and higher
Pennsylvania DUI Penalties
The potential consequences of a DUI conviction are serious and have lasting ramifications. In addition, various aggravating factors can steepen the sentence.
The DUI laws organize penalties by both BAC level and number of previous offenses.
First Time Offenders:
- BAC from 0.08 to 0.099: Probation, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, and alcohol treatment
- BAC from 0.10 to 0.159: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, and alcohol treatment
- BAC from 0.16 and up: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, and alcohol treatment
- Controlled substances: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, and alcohol treatment
Second Time Offenders
- BAC from 0.08 to 0.099: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, alcohol treatment, and ignition interlock device
- BAC from 0.10 to 0.159: License suspension, jail time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, alcohol treatment, and ignition interlock device
- BAC from 0.16 and up: Misdemeanor conviction, license suspension, jail or prison time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, alcohol treatment, and ignition interlock device
- Controlled substances: Misdemeanor conviction, license suspension, jail or prison time, fine, alcohol traffic safety classes, alcohol treatment, and ignition interlock device
Penalties continue to increase with each subsequent offense. Judges are afforded some discretion in fashioning prison or jail sentences. Therefore, possible incarceration can range from 48 hours to five years in state prison.
If your child is convicted of DUI, he faces extremely onerous penalties. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a zero tolerance policy toward underage drinking. In fact, the juvenile DUI law is titled the Zero Tolerance Law and requires that all individuals under the age of 21 face license suspension, county jail time, and exorbitant fines.
Are There Any Special Programs For First-Time Offenders?
Pennsylvania offers Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD), which will allow you to avoid jail or prison time if you were arrested with a BAC of 0.10 or higher. First-time DUI offenders may have the option of participating in the ARD program. ARD is a pretrial diversion program for participation by non-violent offenders. The district attorney’s office must recommend a person for inclusion in the program and the judge assigned to the case must approve the person’s participation in the program, as well. Essentially, the ARD program suspends the criminal court proceedings while the person completes certain requirements for the program. If the person fully complies with all the requirements, then the criminal charges will be dismissed and the person is left with a clean criminal record.
You will be required to enroll in alcohol traffic safety school, undergo alcohol treatment, temporarily surrender your license, pay a fine and court costs, and follow probation for several months. For answers to other frequently asked questions about DUI charges, please visit our FAQ page.
We Focus On Fighting The Charges For You
Coover & Associates provides thorough and experienced legal guidance and defense for Carlisle, Lemoyne, and York residents charged with driving under the influence. Our track record speaks for itself. Our attorneys will assist you with understanding the process, what you need to do, and what we can do for you. To schedule a low-cost initial consultation, email us or call Coover & Associates now at 717-885-5830 or 717-243-9190.