FIRST OFFENSE DUI
PHILADELPHIA DUI LAWYER
Everyone makes mistakes. If this is the first time you have been arrested for a DUI, you were likely shocked at being pulled over and scared about what will happen next. DUI charges can have a severe negative impact on your life. However, there are a number of ways to challenge a DUI.
FIRST OFFENSE DUI PENALTIES
Pennsylvania law punishes DUI offenders with an increased scale based on blood alcohol content (BAC) and the number of prior DUI offenses you’ve had. The BAC tiers fall into three categories:
A BAC of .08-.10% is a first tier – a first offense under this tier carries a $300 fine and up to six months of probation;
A BAC of .10-.16% is a second tier – a first offense carries up to $5000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail along with a 12 month license suspension;
A BAC of .16% and above is a third tier – a first offense carries up to $5000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail along with a 12 month license suspension.
See our DUI Penalties chart to learn more about these three categories.
ARD OPTION FOR FIRST OFFENSE DUI
If this is your first offense, you may have the option of participating in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD).
ARD is a diversionary program that allows you to complete a program instead of being found guilty of a DUI charge. The main benefit of ARD is that the DUI charge is expunged from your record when you complete the program. This expungement allows your record to be wiped clear so that no one in the future could see that you were even charged with the DUI.
Acceptance into the ARD program is not automatic and the assistance of the skilled criminal defense attorney is necessary to fight for you admission.
No matter which DUI statute you have been charged under, you can challenge a DUI on a number of grounds:
Probable Cause: An officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle and probable cause to request that you perform field sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer.
Sobriety Test: These tests are nothing more than an opinion of whether or not you are intoxicated by an officer whose job it is to gather evidence of your guilt. There are only three nationally recognized field sobriety tests and the results should be challenged in court by an experienced attorney.
Breathalyzer Test: The Intoxilyzer 5000 is under heavy fire in Pennsylvania and numerous other states. The results simply are not accurate and the machine does not do what it purports to do.
Officer training: Officers need specialized training to conduct a DUI investigation and arrest. Likewise, special training is required to administer a breath test.
Officer conduct: The overall conduct and experience of an officer at the scene can be challenged.
Diversion: You may be eligible for the state's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).
Plea Bargain: Your attorney may be successful in seeking a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI/DWI, do not delay in contacting an attorney. Attorney Michael F. Niznik will review your case and offer you a free consultation regarding the charges.