If you recently received a DUI in Pennsylvania, you most likely have several questions. Please read our comprehensive Pittsburgh DUI Guide to learn more about DUIs in Pennsylvania and how our experienced Allegheny County DUI lawyer can help if you’ve been charged with one. Contact the Law Offices of George Heym today.
Pittsburgh DUI Guide | What You Need to Know About DUIs in PA
What constitutes DUI/DAI in Pennsylvania?
There are several definitions of Alcohol-related DUI in Pennsylvania: 1) A person driving, operating, or in physical control of a motor vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the person is incapable of safely driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the motor vehicle. This is a subjective standard that is based upon many factors including driving behavior, field sobriety tests, and physical signs of intoxication observed by police. 2) A person driving, operating, or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle when alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is at least .08%. This is an objective standard that is based upon testing such as a blood test or an Intoxilyzer test. 3) A minor, operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle when alcohol concentration in the minor’s blood or breath is at least .02%. This is an objective standard that is based upon testing such as a blood test or an Intoxilyzer test.
What is ARD?
ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. This is a pre-trial diversionary program for first-time DUI offenders. It may also be available if you have one previous DUI which happened more than a certain number of years previously (depending on the Pennsylvania County). ARD is basically a “second chance” program designed to give first-time offenders the opportunity to receive some punishment without the drastic consequences of a DUI conviction. An ARD sentence will generally require a shorter driver’s license suspension, a period of probation, fines and fees, and a community service requirement. Most importantly, if ARD is completed successfully the criminal record is expunged.
What are mandatory DUI sentences?
Mandatory DUI sentences are set by Pennsylvania statute and require that a person be sentenced to a mandatory minimum jail time. Pennsylvania currently uses a two-tier system to determine what the mandatory minimum is in any particular DUI case. Mandatory minimums are determined based upon your BAC at the time of driving (if you refuse to give a blood or breath sample you are considered to be in the highest BAC range) and the number of previous DUI convictions within 10 years. A previous ARD during the relevant time period will be considered a previous conviction for purposes of determining the mandatory minimum. I am not ARD eligible.
Does this mean that I will have to go to jail?
With the right Pittsburgh DUI lawyer, you may not have to go to jail even if you are convicted of, or plead guilty to, a DUI. Under Pennsylvania DUI law there are alternatives to serving a mandatory sentence in an actual jail including house arrest and alternative housing.
If I plan to just plead guilty, why do I need a DUI Attorney?
First, just because you plan to plead guilty does not mean that you should. Only an experienced Allegheny County DUI lawyer can properly evaluate your particular DUI case. There may be weaknesses with the prosecution’s case that could lead to a dismissal or a not guilty verdict at trial. The decision to plead guilty should only be made after you are aware of ALL of your options. If you do make the decision to plead guilty an experienced DUI lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and get you the best possible plea agreement with the prosecutor because there may be sentencing options available to you that only an experienced DUI lawyer knows to ask for. You wouldn’t sell your car without finding out what its value was first, so why would you make a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life without professional advice?
What is an Ignition Interlock device?
Pennsylvania DUI law requires that most people convicted of DUI install an Ignition Interlock Device on all vehicles registered in their name in order to get their driver’s license restored. The device is installed on the ignition of the vehicle and requires that the driver provide a breath sample to determine BAC before the vehicle can be started. Click here for information on Pennsylvania DUI Driver’s License Suspensions
Contact a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer
Our legal team has successfully fought on behalf of clients facing DUI charges over the years, and we are prepared to fight for you as well. Contact the Law Offices of George Heym today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.