Pennsylvania DUI and Criminal Law: Important First Steps

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Have you been charged with DUI in PA?

If you or a family member is faced with a driving under the influence charge in PA (DUI), you may feel as if you are in a corner, trapped with no way out. It is critical for you to remember that locating a skilled criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania is a must. By selecting the right attorney, you are putting your well-being into the hands of an advocate for you and your family.

Legal alcohol limits in PA

In September 2003, Pennsylvania enacted Act 24, which lowered the Commonwealth’s legal limit of alcohol from .10 to .08. The Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Law, explained in detail on the Department of Motor Vehicles website, provides a tiered approach toward DUI enforcement and treatment. The combination of a person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level, and prior offenses, determines the licensing requirements and penalties. The law also focuses on treatment for first-time DUI offenders, rather than only punishment and license suspension.

Why you need a DUI lawyer in Pennsylvania

From a misdemeanor charge such as reckless endangerment, to a more serious allegation such as vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, you will need a criminal defense lawyer to represent you. The lawyer you select must know:

  • How and when to seek participation in a pre-trial diversionary program (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition otherwise known as ARD in Pennsylvania);
  • How to communicate with prosecutors;
  • How to manage the discovery of evidence related to your matter; and
  • How to properly represent you (or a loved one) in the event of a trial.

Should I take the DUI test?If you are stopped when driving and an officer asks you to consent to a drinking test, there a few things you should know.1. You are under no legal obligation to take the test.However:2. If you do not take the test, even if you have not had a drop to drink, your license will be suspended for 12 months. This is because when you got your license, you agreed to consent to the test when asked by an officer. This consent is due to the Pennsylvania implied consent law.You should also know that:3. If you have been drinking and are subsequently convicted and you did NOT take the test, the judge will most likely be harsher in his/her sentencing.You’ve been arrested for DUI in PA – What should you do next?If you or a family member is suspected of a criminal charge, be fastidious; seek the representation of a qualified criminal attorney immediately. Your personal and financial future is at risk. Finding the right lawyer can help you protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.