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DUI – Driving Under Influence

Building a Strong Defense to Reduce or Drop Your Charges

DUI Attorney in Chester County, PA

If you’re facing DUI charges, you may feel overwhelmed and anxious about what comes next. Our experienced DUI attorneys understand the impact a DUI can have on your reputation, livelihood, and your family. We are dedicated to providing exceptional legal representation, helping you understand your rights, and handling your case with compassion.

Our Defense Attorneys Help You Understand Pennsylvania DUI Laws and Penalties

In Pennsylvania, a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% can be arrested for a DUI. For minors, this limit is a BAC of 0.02% or higher. It is also illegal to drive with marijuana, cocaine, or other drugs in your system. Typically, the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are similar to those for drunk driving.

It is important to keep in mind that even if your BAC is lower than 0.08%, you can still be charged with a DUI if there is evidence showing you were impaired while behind the wheel. A high BAC (0.10% – 0.159% BAC) can lead to stiffer penalties, even for first-time DUI offenders.

Penalties for DUI in PA

Penalties for DUI vary depending on the circumstances and whether you have previous drunk driving convictions on your record. You may face driver’s license suspension, jail time, costly fines, ignition interlock, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. A DUI can also impact any professional licenses you may have. If you are in possession of illegal drugs, you may face additional charges as well.

Having an experienced defense lawyer in your corner is critical. At Perna & Abracht, LLC, our DUI attorneys are experienced litigators who assess your case, advise you of your options, and act as your staunch advocates. We look at your case from all angles to determine what type of strong defenses there may be to have DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

What is an ARD Program?

If you are a first-time DUI offender with no prior criminal convictions, you may be eligible for an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. Though specific requirements can vary from case to case, an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program for DUI usually includes:

  • Probation
  • Attendance and completion of Alcohol Highway Safety classes
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 90 days
  • Payment of ARD costs/fees. In many counties, the cost of ARD for a DUI can range from $2,500
    to $3,000.
  • Alcohol or drug counseling
  • Community Service

Typically, if you adhere to all terms of the ARD program and successfully complete it, DUI charges will be dismissed. However, not every first-time DUI offender qualifies for an ARD program. If your drunk driving resulted in an accident that caused injury or significant property damage, or you had a passenger under the age of 14 with you, you may not qualify. Successful completion of an ARD program can mitigate some of the damage that a DUI conviction can wreak on your life. Our DUI lawyers can determine whether you qualify and help you apply for the program.

DUI Defense Attorney Perna & Abracht

What you need to know if you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania

If you have a specific legal question that you would like answered without any obligation to retain our firm, please schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our attorneys below.

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Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

Although you can refuse to take a breathalyzer test, there are consequences, even if you are not convicted of a DUI. Under Pennsylvania’s implied consent law, if you are licensed to drive in the commonwealth, you agree to breath, blood, and urine tests if a law enforcement officer has reason to believe you are driving while impaired. You are not required to take field sobriety tests, but an officer can still use other observations like slurred speech to back up their claims of impairment.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. If you have a prior DUI conviction or have refused to take these tests in the past, your license could be suspended for 18 months. However, it is possible to beat DUI refusal charges and challenge license suspensions. Our DUI lawyers understand potential defenses, such as proving that a police officer did not have reasonable grounds to place you under arrest for DUI.

Can I Be Convicted of a DUI for Taking Prescription Medication?

Yes. Regardless of whether you’re taking prescription medication, medical marijuana, or illegal substances, if a police officer suspects you are driving while impaired, you can be charged with a drug DUI. This applies to over-the-counter drugs that can cause impairment or drowsiness as well.

What is the DUI Tier System?

Pennsylvania has a three-tiered system when it comes to DUI charges and penalties. The type of DUI you will be charged with depends on your BAC level while you were driving.

 General Impairment DUI – This is charged when a driver 21 years of age or older is driving under the influence with a BAC of 0.08% – 0.099%. Even if your BAC was lower, you may be charged with a general impairment DUI if it is found that you consumed too much alcohol to safely operate a vehicle.

High Impairment DUI- This type of DUI is charged when someone is arrested for driving with a BAC of 0.10% – 0.159%. Minors under 21 years of age with a BAC of 0.02% – 0.159% may also be charged with a high impairment DUI.

Highest Impairment DUI-If your BAC is 0.16% or higher, you’ll likely face high impairment DUI charges. Typically, those found to be driving under the influence of drugs are charged with this type of DUI. 

Are Penalties Harsher if Your BAC is Higher?

Yes. The higher your BAC, the harsher the penalties if you are convicted of a DUI. Cases that involve the highest impairment of .16% or more carry the harshest penalties. Penalties also increase with multiple DUIs.

What are the Penalties for DUI if I have a CDL?

If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you face harsher penalties, even if you were driving your personal vehicle at the time you were arrested. The legal limit for commercial drivers is much lower –.04% for commercial drivers, and .02% for school bus drivers. Not only will you face hefty fines, possible jail time, and suspension of your license, but if you are convicted of a second DUI, you’ll be permanently disqualified from having a CDL.

Why Choose Our Criminal Defense Attorneys?

We understand that DUI charges can throw your life into a tailspin. Our DUI lawyers offer compassionate legal support and fight tirelessly to protect your rights. We thoroughly investigate your case and are familiar with common defenses, such as whether police violated your rights during the stop, the validity of blood and breath tests and field sobriety tests, and other factors that could lead to charges being reduced or dropped. If your DUI case goes to trial, we provide a vigorous defense and guide you through the process.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, you don’t have to go it alone. We serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware. Contact our Chester County criminal defense attorneys online or call 610-708-1970 to schedule a consultation with an experienced DUI attorney today. 

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