New Pennsylvania Law (Deana’s Law) Increases Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders
Anyone charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense faces severe criminal penalties. However, with the enactment of Deana’s Law, the consequences for repeat DUI offenders in Pennsylvania are even more devastating.
What Is Deana’s Law?
In 2019, a woman named Deana Eckman from Brookhaven, PA, was hit by a drunk driver in Newtown Square. She ultimately passed away from fatal injuries. Upon the driver’s arrest, it was discovered that the man who hit her had five prior DUI convictions on his record. Since then, the woman’s parents have worked to get Deana’s Law passed.
Enacted in July 2022, the laws surrounding driving under the influence (DUI) have been amended under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code. According to Act 59, there are specific changes to how DUI offenses are graded and the penalties those convicted face.
What Are the Increased Penalties Repeat DUI Offenders Could Face?
Deana’s law states that someone who commits a DUI and refuses a breath or chemical test, has a BAC of .16 or higher, or commits a DUI involving a controlled substance can face increased penalties if they have two or more prior offenses. The penalties you face depend on how many previous DUIs you were convicted of.
Two or More Prior Offenses
Anyone convicted of a DUI with two or more prior offenses can be charged with a third-degree felony, resulting in a maximum of seven years in the Pennsylvania state prison. This offense also results in up to $15,000 in fines.
Three or More Prior Offenses
If you have been charged with three or more prior DUI offenses, your maximum prison time can increase from seven to ten years as a second-degree felony. Additionally, you can expect fines of up to $25,000.
You may also face increased license suspension or revocation times, be ordered to complete community service, attend a driver retraining program, and pay fines and restitution to any victims in your case.
Other Consequences of a DUI Conviction in PA
It is not only the increased penalties of Deana’s Law that you need to be worried about if you are convicted of a DUI. There are several other criminal penalties and collateral consequences that could be at risk as well. Some of these consequences include:
- Being ordered to complete a drug or alcohol treatment program
- Being declared ineligible for a hardship license
- Abstaining from drug or alcohol use
- Agreeing to regular drug or alcohol testing
- Completing group therapy or mental health counseling
- Completing a specified number of community service hours
- Being ordered to complete a driver retraining program
- Paying restitution to any victims in your case
- Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) at your own expense
You may be eligible for expungement if you complete the Pennsylvania Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. However, if you can avoid a conviction by obtaining a plea agreement, entering a pretrial diversion program, or securing an acquittal, these are almost certainly a better option.
Get Help from a DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania Today
With Deana’s Law in place, the consequences will be more severe if you are convicted of multiple DUI offenses. It has never been more important to take your drunk driving charges seriously.
With help from an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, you can prepare a powerful defense or work with the prosecutor to obtain a plea bargain so you can move forward with your life.
Find out what is next for your DUI case when you fill out our online contact form or call our office at (412) 281-2146 to start working on your defense strategy.
Pittsburgh DUI: What’s the Penalty for Being Double the Limit?
You face increased, longer-lasting penalties for a Driving Under the Influence charge when you are double the legal limit of .08%. This means higher fines, extended license suspension, and more jail time.
Even if this is your first offense, a DUI conviction for double the limit costs you time, money, driving privileges, and potentially a criminal record. However, several factors influence your specific case. There are strategies to help you avoid conviction or the harshest penalties.
What Factors Influence DUI Penalties?
The court considers several factors when determining penalties for a DUI that is double the legal limit. You should also know that Pennsylvania has varying legal limits depending on your age, license, and occupation.
Legal Limits: What’s Considered Intoxicated?
For most drivers, blowing a 0.08% is considered legally intoxicated. For others, the limit is lower:
- Commercial driver’s license holder, school bus driver, or under 21: 0.04%
- School bus driver and under 21: 0.02%
Under these guidelines, a person with a CDL is double the limit with a BAC of 0.08%.
Other Factors that Influence DUI Penalties
Being double the limit is bad enough, but your penalties could be worse if you:
- Are higher than double the limit (0.16%+)
- Have prior DUIs
- Injured or killed someone
- Caused property damage
- Refuse a field sobriety test, chemical test, or both
Defenses to a DUI
One of the most common defenses to a DUI is questioning the validity and procedures of your chemical test, traffic stop, and arrest.
Chemical Test Error
Breathalyzers must be regularly calibrated for accurate results. Officers administering the test and reading the result must have proper training. You could seek a reduced charge or even a dismissal for questionable test results or testing procedures.
There could also be a medical reason why your BAC was high, such as hypoglycemia. If you have diabetes or another medical condition that could explain a high BAC, you may pay for a second chemical test.
Traffic Stop Error
Police officers in Pennsylvania must have reasonable evidence that you are driving under the influence, such as weaving or erratic behavior. A damaging chemical test could be suppressed if you can show that the police pulled you over in error.
Arrest Process Error
Sometimes police officers fail to read a suspect their rights or make another error during the arrest. If this happens to you, it is possible to seek a dismissal.
Negotiate to a Lesser Charge
If this is your first DUI offense or there are issues with your case, the prosecution may offer a plea deal. To avoid the harsher penalties of a DUI for double the limit, you would plead guilty to a lesser offense. You could avoid steep fines, losing your license, or going to jail by accepting a plea bargain.
Pennsylvania’s ARD program is an alternative to jail for first-time, non-violent offenders. The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program generally involves probation, fines, court costs, and community service. There may also be a treatment component. Upon completion, you may seek to have your record expunged.
Penalties for DUI Double the Limit
The penalties for a specific DUI vary, depending on the BAC, injuries, prior convictions, and other factors.
The sentence for this criminal offense might include:
- Six months in jail to five years in prison
- Community service
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Ignition interlock system (blow and go)
- Fines from $500 to $10,000
- Victim restitution
Know Your Drinking Limits
People don’t intend to drive with a BAC over the legal limit. Unfortunately, it’s easier than you think to reach the point of legal intoxication.
According to a Notre Dame chart on alcohol consumption, a 120-pound woman will reach 0.08% BAC after drinking two beers. A 160-pound man reaches 0.08% after consuming three beers.
Facing DUI Double the Limit Charges?
If you face a DUI with a BAC double the legal limit, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness today for a free consultation. A DUI defense lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed, reduced, or help you apply for a diversionary program that eliminates jail or prison.
Call 412-281-2146 for help with your DUI case.
Things That Make a DUI in Pittsburgh Worse
You cannot undo a DUI arrest, but you can do things that make your situation worse. Pittsburgh police officers don’t fool around when it comes to drunk drivers. Here are things that make a DUI worse – and what you should do instead.
Your Driver’s License is Your Consent to DUI Tests
Like most states, Pennsylvania has an implied consent law for suspected drunk drivers. You may refuse to take a field sobriety test – Walk & Turn, Finger-to-Nose, Watch-the-Pen, etc. – without legal consequences. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you’ll probably be arrested and get your license suspended for at least one year.
A refusal to take a DUI test is similar to resisting arrest. Tell the officer calmly that you refuse the test. Do not actively resist arrest. After you arrive at the police station, state that you will not answer any questions without speaking to a lawyer first.
What To Do if Police Search Your Car
DUI penalties increase by as much as one year in jail or three years in prison if you possess a controlled substance. You’ll also pay fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the type and amount of drugs.
Don’t argue with the police about the constitutionality of the search. Try to remain calm and do not say anything about the drugs, drug paraphernalia, or weapon. Tell the officer that you will answer their questions only when you have a lawyer by your side.
What to Do if You’re Carrying a Concealed Weapon
During the stop, keep your hands on the wheel and tell the officer that you have a concealed weapon in the car. The police officers will likely ask you to step out of the car so that they can retrieve the weapon. Your carry permit usually comes up when officers run your driver’s license.
It is unlawful to carry a gun if you have been drinking. If you don’t have a concealed carry permit, the penalties are severe.
A DUI that involves a weapon could cost you the right to possess a gun in the future. However, now is not the time to argue about your right to own a firearm. Politely decline to answer questions until you talk to an attorney.
What You Can Do to Help Your DUI in Pittsburgh
The most important things you can do to help your DUI – or prevent it from getting worse – are:
- Stay calm
- Don’t resist arrest
- Don’t argue with law enforcement officers
- Invoke your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer
You Can Ask for an Independent Blood Test
Breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. You have the right to pay for an independent Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test conducted by the licensed professional or drug testing facility of your choice.
An attorney can use the results of your independent blood test to refute the police chemical test.
Ask if You Are Eligible for ARD
Pennsylvania has a program called Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD). A person who completes this program successfully can have the original charges dismissed and are eligible for expungement – a clean slate.
ARD has specific eligibility requirements. You must complete the program and meet all obligations before your charges are dismissed and your record cleared. However, ARD is an excellent option for first-time offenders seeking to avoid jail or fines.
Call an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Pittsburgh
These are a few things that you can do to avoid making your DUI in Pittsburgh worse. Let us do our part to help you after a DUI arrest. Our DUI defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness help you through the court and legal process.
We may be able to get you into the ARD or another diversionary program and avoid the harshest penalties. Call the attorneys at (412) 281-2146 or use our contact form to schedule your free consultation.
4 Questions About Your License after a Pittsburgh DUI
A Pittsburgh DUI conviction carries various practical problems beyond fines and time in custody. Your ability to drive can also be impacted, leaving your license suspended. It can also lead to higher car insurance premiums. Even if you can still drive, you may need to install an ignition interlock device, which is expensive and inconvenient.
If your license and ability to drive are in jeopardy after a DUI charge, it’s best to work with a Pittsburgh DUI defense lawyer to know what you’re facing and improve your situation. This could be the difference in keeping your driving privileges.
With decades of experience and a long history of success in protecting people’s licenses after DUI charges, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys at (412) 281-2146, for a free, initial consultation.
Pennsylvania DUI Charges & License Suspensions
After a DUI, a license suspension is based on your blood alcohol content level and any prior offenses. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is a BAC of 0.08. If breathalyzer, blood, or urine tests indicate you’re at that level or higher, you may be charged with DUI.
Here are the different tiers of a DUI arrest:
- First-tier (BAC of 0.08 to 0.099): If you have no prior offenses, you will be on probation for up to six months but will still be able to drive. With a second or third offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year.
- Second-tier (BAC of 0.10 to 0.159): If this is your first or second offense, your license will be suspended for a year. A third offense causes an 18-month license suspension.
- Third-tier (BAC of 0.16 or more): The first offense results in a one-year license suspension. The second or third offense increases it to 18 months.
DUI License Questions & Answers
- If My License Is Suspended, How Do I Get To Work?You could use mass transit or a service like Uber or Lyft. You can also get rides from friends or family or apply for a restricted driver’s license. Driving with an IID may be an option. You won’t be eligible for an occupational limited license if your license was suspended due to a DUI and the minimum suspension hasn’t been completed. An OLL allows you to drive a designated motor vehicle when necessary for your occupation, work, trade, medical treatment, or education.
- Do I Need To Install an IID?An IID is required for first-time and repeat DUI offenders with high BAC levels. If you want your driving privileges restored, you must have a motor vehicle equipped with an IID for the restricted license duration. If you don’t own a car, you must certify this with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
If your vehicle has an IID, you’ll need to blow into the device before starting it. If the IID detects alcohol, it won’t start. At random times while you’re driving, you’ll need to repeat the process to keep the vehicle running.
- How Does a DUI Affect Insurance?The higher the risk the insurance company thinks you are, the higher your rates. If that risk is high enough, they won’t offer you any coverage. If you have a DUI on your record, your rates will likely go up substantially. The insurance carrier will see you as a dangerous driver more likely to get into an accident. A carrier may not offer you any coverage after your second or third DUI.
- Can I Get My License Back?Yes, but you would need to pay a reinstatement fee of $88.
A Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Can Help
If you are charged with a DUI, issues involving your license and insurance may be avoided by successfully disputing the DUI charge or negotiating a favorable plea agreement. There are also steps your lawyer can take with PennDOT to reduce the impact on your life.
Talk to a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer at Worgul, Sarna & Ness if you’re charged with DUI. An experienced lawyer can discuss your situation, how the law may apply, and your options for what to do next.
Contact us at (412) 281-2146 for a free initial consultation today.
When to Disclose a DUI on a Job Application
Applying and interviewing for a new job is always stressful. Potential employers want to know if you have the right qualifications and about your past. You may feel as though a prior DUI doesn’t properly represent who you are now, so it’s understandable to worry about disclosing it on a job application.
Every job application and employer is unique, but it’s important to always be honest when you apply and interview for a new job.
If you are looking to move past a previous DUI conviction or need help with a current charge, it’s best to speak with an experienced DUI attorney. In Pittsburgh, call Worgul, Sarna and Ness at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free, initial consultation.
Does the Application Ask about DUIs?
Some employers want to know about DUI convictions, and others are curious about DUI arrests too. If you were arrested and your charges are pending, then you don’t have to disclose your DUI if your application is only inquiring about previous convictions.
Do not volunteer information about any DUI incident that is not requested.
How to Explain a DUI on an Application?
If you have to disclose your DUI, be sure to explain how it was a mistake and that you took steps so it won’t be repeated. A potential employer may be willing to look past it, and you can take this opportunity to highlight how you are qualified for the job.
Prevent a DUI Conviction or Remove It
A capable DUI lawyer can work to have your charges dropped and prevent a criminal conviction. However, if you have a previous conviction, Pennsylvania expungement law might allow you to have your conviction expunged.
A previous conviction that is successfully expunged will be sealed and not available to most employers conducting a background search. While an expunged record is not available to individuals, private organizations, or internet search services, an expunged record may still be available to law enforcement or government agencies.
Worgul, Sarna & Ness Can Help You
Disclosing a DUI on a job application can be difficult, but being honest is essential when seeking a new job. Do not volunteer information if it is not required, and explain how you have improved yourself if possible. But the best way to prevent a DUI from getting in your way is to avoid a conviction altogether.
A defense attorney from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can help you get your charges reduced or dropped. If you have been arrested for a DUI, it’s important to call an attorney as soon as possible. Contact us at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a case consultation today.
Can You Get Kicked Out of School for a Pittsburgh DUI?
You may not think a Pittsburgh DUI would have an impact on your life, other than on your criminal record. But if you’re a college student, driving under the influence could derail your education.
Whether you study at Alleghany County Community College, the University of Pittsburgh, or Carnegie Mellon University, your college has a student handbook that sets an alcohol policy and code of conduct. Most colleges include DUIs on their lists of prohibited conduct, and if you violate your school’s code, you could face sanctions ranging from a warning to expulsion.
You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your education, so don’t throw it away after a single mistake. Fortunately, a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer can help. If your lawyer can fight the criminal charges it can help you avoid discipline from your school.
For more information about beating a college DUI, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation.
Check Your Student Handbook After a DUI
Your student handbook will spell out the disciplinary procedures, penalties, and prohibited conduct at your university. Generally, penalties are determined by a panel that has a lot more flexibility than a judge. So, depending on your standing with the school and the seriousness of your conduct, you could receive a:
- Warning--The least severe consequences of misconduct. It’s basically a formal acknowledgment of the incident and a statement that another misstep will result in a harsher punishment. If you’ve been charged with DUI, it’s unlikely you will get away with only a warning unless there are mitigating circumstances.
- Probation–This means you can keep going to class, but are subject to restrictions. For example, you may no longer be able to drive to and from class, and you might have to attend alcohol counseling. This is a common consequence for a first time DUI.
- Suspension–When you’re suspended, you are excluded from campus, classes, and college events for a certain period. When you’re charged with DUI, your college could decide to suspend you until your case is completed and you’ve served your punishment. This is a serious consequence, especially because your tuition won’t get refunded in most cases.
- Expulsion–This is the most serious punishment. Generally, the permanent exclusion from campus is reserved for the most severe cases. In the context of a DUI, multiple offenses, or a single offense that causes a serious injury may be enough to warrant this punishment.
You may face different penalties depending on your area of study. For example, the Community College of Allegheny County has separate and harsher consequences for nursing students who commit DUI. If you have a single DUI conviction or pending prosecution within the last year, you are barred from admission into the program. Once in the program, two DUI convictions result in automatic expulsion.
A Lawyer Can Help You Avoid the Consequences
It’s important to understand that as a student, you face two procedures: one with your school and one in criminal court. The two are independent, but the outcome of your criminal proceedings can influence your school disciplinary hearing. For example, if you immediately plead guilty to DUI, your school will assume you are guilty and punish you accordingly. But if you fight your charge and secure an acquittal or a lesser offense, you will fare much better at your disciplinary hearing.
Pennsylvania has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage DUI, which means that a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02. So if you’re an underage student, getting behind the wheel after a single beer puts you at risk of criminal penalties and disciplinary action.
With such high stakes, you owe it to yourself to get the best legal representation possible. Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation about defending your DUI case.
What Makes Someone Ineligible for ARD?
A criminal conviction can do a lot of damage to your life. It gives you a record and takes away your freedom if you’re incarcerated. That’s why Pennsylvania created the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.
Rather than risk a conviction, people sentenced through ARD diversion programs have a chance to take rehabilitative measures (such as addiction treatment or anger management counseling) during a period of probation and have the charges entirely dropped. You don’t have to plead guilty, and the charges can be expunged.
But not everyone qualifies for ARD. To see if you’re a good candidate to enter ARD and get your charges dismissed and expunged, speak with a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer today. Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation.
Who Qualifies for ARD?
ARD is an excellent option for many first offenders, and people without a criminal history. While the prosecutor and the DA have to approve ARD, it is generally easy to get approval unless you are ineligible for some specific reason.
The following are the most common reasons people are ineligible for ARD:
- The charge was not a non-violent offense.
- You have a criminal record with multiple convictions, one of which was within the last 10 years.
- You have participated in ARD within the last 10 years.
- Your arrest was related to a DUI where a person was injured or killed.
- Your arrest was related to a DUI with a passenger under the age of 14.
- You have already been convicted for related charges at trial.
When is ARD a Good Option
If none of these apply to you, you probably qualify for ARD so long as you apply within the appropriate time limits. Once accepted, you have a second chance to get a clean slate.
ARD isn’t necessarily easy, though. You have to follow all the guidelines to the letter, pay the appropriate court fines, and stay out of trouble during the probationary period (usually 12 months).
For many of our Pittsburgh area clients, this is a great option that gets them back on their feet, but ARD isn’t for everyone. Sometimes a better option may be available, or they are ineligible for ARD. That’s why it is so important to discuss your options with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney before deciding on what action to take.
Work with a Lawyer to Enter ARD
Determine your eligibility for ARD and get started with putting charges behind you. Call the experienced DUI lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation. Find out how we can help you get the best outcome possible, so you have the second chance you deserve.
Police Need a Warrant for a DUI Blood Test, Even If You’re Unconscious
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the police cannot draw your blood without your permission–even if you are unconscious–unless they have a warrant. There are only a few, emergency situations when the police may take blood without your consent. This decision is in line with the nationwide approach to DUI chemical tests, which are viewed as searches within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
When the police violate your fourth amendment rights by illegally searching or seizing your property (including your own body), the so-called fruits of that search or seizure cannot be used to prove your guilt in court. As a result, your lawyer will likely be able to have the evidence of the blood test removed from the DUI case. This goes to show what a difference a skilled Pittsburgh DUI attorney can make.
Whether or not you blood was taken, if you’re charged with a DUI in Pittsburgh, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146 ASAP for a free consultation. Let us review the details and help find a way to limit the evidence.
Why Warrantless Blood Draws are Illegal on Unconscious Suspects
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion, which was authored by Justice David Wecht, draws upon two bodies of law:
- Implied Consent Statute–Pennsylvania motorists are deemed to have given consent to chemical tests when suspected of DUI. But they may revoke this consent and instead receive administrative penalties. This includes a driver’s license suspension. Therefore, just because a driver is unconscious, it does not mean they can’t revoke their implied consent, which is an absolute right.
- U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions–Both the state and federal constitutions prohibit unreasonable searches. Drawing blood from an unconscious suspect without a warrant in circumstances where obtaining a warrant was feasible constitutes an unreasonable, and therefore an illegal search.
It is important to remember two things about this court decision. First, the police might still draw your blood if you are unconscious, or collect evidence against you in other ways. It’s up to your defense attorney to hold the police accountable and have illegal evidence removed by filing a motion to suppress. Second, there may be some circumstances under which the police may legally draw blood without your consent, and without a warrant.
When the Police Don’t Need a Warrant to Draw Blood
According to the U.S. Supreme Court decision Missouri v. McNeely (2013), a blood draw is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. However, the Supreme Court narrowed reasonable searches to the following situations:
- A judge or magistrate authorizes the search by issuing a warrant
- The suspect consents to the search
- The officer is facing exigent circumstances that justify the search, which in a DUI investigation means the imminent destruction of evidence
In McNeely, the Supreme Court decided that the dissipation of alcohol in a suspect’s blood does not necessarily constitute an exigent circumstance, even though it arguably consists in the destruction of evidence. There is no hard rule as to when the police can take your blood without your consent and without a warrant. Instead, courts authorize these searches on a case-by-case basis.
Basically, a warrantless and unconsented blood draw may be allowed in a DUI case if it would have been unreasonable for the police to obtain a warrant.
Was Your Blood Taken in a DUI Case?
If your DUI involves your blood being taken without your consent or while you were unconscious after an accident, you will need a persuasive and knowledgeable Pittsburgh DUI attorney by your side. Our team has a long history of challenging these unreasonable searches to get favorable outcomes in DUI cases.
We can possibly demonstrate that the police had ample opportunity to get a warrant, but failed to do so or never should have taken your blood in the first place. This could result in having your DUI reduced or completely dismissed,
Charged with DUI in Pittsburgh? Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free and confidential case consultation.
Living with a DUI Suspension in Pittsburgh
A DUI conviction in Pennsylvania is not painless, mainly because even a first-time offender faces pretty heavy consequences, like possible jail time and having their license suspended. Fortunately, there are ways to live with a DUI suspension in Pittsburgh and even improve your situation by working with an experienced DUI attorney.
If your driver’s license was suspended because of a DUI, you know how inconvenient your daily life can become. It means relying on friends and family to get around, dealing with public transportation, and explaining why you can’t drive to your employer.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC , our accomplished defense lawyers know what it takes to protect your ability to drive and the best ways to avoid a DUI convictions altogether. Call (412) 281-2146 or contact us online 24/7 for a free consultation.
The Problems of Driving Under a Suspended License
Getting your license suspended doesn’t mean your daily activities and duties get suspended, too. However, it throws a massive wrench into your day-to-day life, and the penalties for driving on a suspended license aren’t exactly pretty.
In Pennsylvania, driving under suspension is usually a summary offense, meaning it’s handled by the Magisterial District Court. Penalties can include a $200 fine, an additional license suspension for up to a year, and a permanent criminal record if you get convicted.
However, these penalties become much harsher if your license is suspended for a DUI. Convicted individuals face up to 90 days of jail for their first offense. Repeat offenders face up to $5,000 in fines and a mandatory jail ranging from two to five years.
The Pains of Living with a Suspended License
Anyone with a suspended license will tell you that it not only affects them, but their family and friends as well. While your loved ones will more than likely be happy to pick up the slack for a while, eventually it will become a strain on their lives and schedules.
What’s more, you’ll have to factor in added costs for gas money and other expenses that might incur from your loved ones hauling you around everywhere.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a network you can depend on for rides, you’ll be at the mercy of public transportation. Seeing as Port Authority buses don’t cover every square inch of Pittsburgh, this might add a significant amount of time to your work or school commute.
First-time DUI offenders with a high BAC or repeat DUI offenders must have their care outfitted with an Ignition Interlock system. This requires drivers to undergo a breathalyzer test before they’re able to start their car. The individual may also be randomly prompted to blow into the system for a breath check to see if you need to comply with Interlock Ignition requirements, check your license suspension or revocation notice. You’ll have 30 days to get your car outfitted with the device.
As for insurance premiums, just a single DUI offense can cause your monthly premiums to skyrocket. Any repeat offenses could cause you to lose your coverage completely.
How Worgul, Sarna & Ness Can Help You
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we understand the long-reaching consequences DUI license suspensions can have on both you and your loved ones. But the best way to avoid a DUI license suspension is by fighting the DUI charge from the beginning and working with an experienced DUI lawyer to secure the best possible way to protect your driving record and criminal record.
Discuss all your options after a DUI charge by calling (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation.
How to Get Underage DUIs Expunged in Pittsburgh
Drivers under 21 account for 12% of DUI-related deaths in Pennsylvania. This is disturbing given that this group accounts for less than 10% of PA drivers. Because of this, drinking restrictions and penalties are harsh for underage drivers.
In Pennsylvania, the legal limit for those over 21 is .08% BAC. Underage drivers, however, are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system while behind the wheel.
In other words, there is zero-tolerance for underage DUI in PA.
If you or a loved one has been charged with an underage DUI, you are likely worried and have questions, like “will I be able to keep my driver’s license,” and “can an underage DUI be expunged?”
The Pittsburgh underage DUI lawyers of Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC have years of experience fighting these charges and can provide real answers.
Zero-Tolerance for Underage DUI in PA
When drivers under 21 find themselves charged driving under the influence, they face several penalties for their first DUI.
DUI consequences are broken into:
- Jail time
- Driver’s license suspension
If you are convicted and your BAC was above .10%, first-time offenders face up to 90 days in jail, fines reaching $500, and a one-year license suspension. For repeat offenders, the penalties increase drastically, often leading to years of license suspension and months spent in jail.
Other Consequences for an Underage DUI
Being convicted of an underage DUI also has harsh collateral consequences.
Many colleges and universities have codes concerning alcohol that students must follow. The University of Pennsylvania, for example, has a strict alcohol and drug policy. Students caught drinking while underage will quite likely be served a suspension or expulsion.
Student financial aid may be affected as well. While the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) states that government aid will not be affected by alcohol-related offenses, scholarships fall into a different category. If a private foundation finds out there is a DUI on your record, your scholarship may not be renewed for the subsequent term.
Can Your Underage DUI be Expunged?
In general, Pennsylvania only expunges DUIs for those who are over 70 or deceased. However, underage drivers are the lucky exception. Per 18 Pennsylvania Code Section 9122, an underage driver can petition to have a DUI expunged from their record if they have met all the conditions of their underage DUI sentence. This may include paying fines, substance abuse classes, and completing a driver’s license suspension.
The grace provided by this provision is astounding. There is no waiting period. There is only the requirement that the conditions of their DUI sentence be satisfied.
Why Get an Underage DUI Expunged
In terms of taking action, the importance of DUI expungement cannot be overstated. This is especially true for students who are attending college or who will soon be attending college. Your chance of being admitted to or remaining in school will be much higher if you do not have a criminal record.
How a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can Help
If you are facing an underage DUI in the area, an experienced Pittsburgh underage DUI lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can be instrumental in getting your charges reduced or dismissed.
First-time DUI offenders, for example, may be able to completely avoid conviction. It may also be possible to prove that your rights were violated during your arrest, in which case your entire case can be thrown out.
If you have been convinced of an underage DUI, and have completed the terms of your punishment, an attorney can also help you move on by pursuing an expungement. We will evaluate your eligibility, complete the format, and guide you in how to clear your record.
Dealing with a DUI is an emotional experience, especially for underage offenders. Let us take care of your defense.