Being arrested for a DUI can be a very traumatic and troublesome experience. In many situations, when an individual is arrested and charged with a DUI, it is their first encounter with the criminal justice system and it is essential that an experienced DUI attorney is retained for representation.
If an individual is arrested in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for driving under the influence (DUI), that individual will face criminal charges in the Pennsylvania Court system.
The first stage begins with the DUI arrest. Typically, an officer will pull somebody over because he or she witnessed a traffic violation. If you are arrested for a suspected DUI, it is strongly advised that you speak with a Pennsylvania DUI attorney immediately.
Speeding, failing to maintain lanes, failure to use one’s turn signals, running a red light or stop sign, etc.
What happens after someone is pulled over for a traffic violation? The officer will approach the vehicle, informed the individual why he or she was pulled over, and then ask for identification, registration, and insurance. Then the officer will make observations that will prompt suspicion of an individual being under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication, or an illicit narcotic.
The officer may note in his police report (or in the affidavit of probable cause) that there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver or the vehicle, he may note that the driver had red, bloodshot, or glassy eyes and perhaps slurred speech. Other times, the officer might make note of the driver’s pupils mentioning whether they were very constricted or very dilated.
The officer will order the driver to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. After performing the tests, the officer will then make a determination as to whether to place the individual under arrest. The officer will also ask the driver to submit to a blood draw and/or a portable breath test. If the individual refuses the blood draw or portable breath test, there will be an automatic suspension of one’s license. If they agree to the breath test, the officer – if he has a portable breath test on his person – will have the individual blow into the device. If they agree to a blood draw, the officer will take the individual to the hospital for a blood draw.
1st Offense DUI: A misdemeanor, six months probation and a $300 fine
2nd Offense DUI: A misdemeanor, five days to six months in jail, a $300 -$2500 fine and a one year license suspension;
3rd Offense DUI: 2nd degree misdemeanor, ten days to two years in prison, a $500 -$5,000 fine and a one year license suspension.
1st Offense DUI: A misdemeanor, 48 hours to six months jail, a $500 – $5,000 fine and a one year license suspension;
2nd Offense DUI: A misdemeanor, 30 days – six months jail, a $750 – $5,000 fine and a one year license suspension;
3rd Offense DUI: A 1st degree misdemeanor, 90 days – five years in prison, a $1,500 – $10,000 fine and an 18 month license suspension;
1st Offense DUI: A misdemeanor, 72 hours – six months jail, a $1,000 – $5,000 fine; a one year license suspension
2nd Offense DUI: A first-degree misdemeanor, 90 days – five years in prison a $1,500 – $10,000 fine, and an 18 month license suspension
3rd Offense DUI: A first-degree misdemeanor, one year to five years jail, a $2,500 – $10,000 fine and an 18 month license suspension.
If this is your first DUI and you do not have any prior convictions or the circumstances of your DUI are not aggravating, you may be eligible for admission into Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD). The ARD Program will allow you to avoid jail time, reduce the license suspension, and allow for the expunction and removal of the DUI from your record upon completion of the ARD Program and submission of the expungement. An experienced DUI attorney can help in assisting you with the ARD process and expungement.
Bucks County ARD, Chester County ARD, Delaware County ARD, and Montgomery County ARD all allow for an individual who are first-time offenders and who have no prior criminal convictions or prior ARD dispositions to remove their cases from the criminal justice system.
While the decision as to whether or not to permit a person into the ARD Program rests with the head of the ARD Unit, criminal defense attorneys who have a great deal of experience in handling DUIs are able to provide the ARD Unit with the necessary information that allows for their clients to be accepted.
For more information regarding this program, visit our ARD page