Charged With DUI in Pittsburgh? Here are Some Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been arrested for driving while impaired in or around Allegany County, you are probably aware that you need help from a Pittsburgh DUI lawyer. DUI’s are a complicated area of law that no one should handle alone. In addition to the legal penalties of a DUI, a conviction could impact your career options, driving privileges, and reputation.
Therefore, you should look for an experienced and successful local DUI attorney. But is there anything else you should know? Since DUI charges are typically someone’s first encounter with the criminal system, they understandably have a lot of questions.
As the premier DUI law firm in Pittsburgh, these are some questions that we at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys frequently get from our clients.
What are the penalties for a DUI?
A lot depends on how many DUIs you have. Maximum penalties for a first-time DUI include six months of probation and a $300 fine. These penalties increase if your BAC is above 0.09%, and again for a BAC higher than 0.159%.
After a second DUI, you face significantly higher fines, longer jail sentences, mandatory ignition interlock device usage, community service, and a treatment program.
Can I represent myself in a DUI case?
The court does allow those who have been arrested for driving under the influence to represent themselves. However, this is not recommended.
DUI laws are complex and penalties are impacted by a number of factors. Without extensive knowledge and experience in this field, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to defend yourself in a meaningful way against a prosecutor with substantial experience in DUI cases. Hiring a Pennsylvania DUI attorney is the best way to protect yourself.
What is ARD and am I eligible for it?
Pennsylvania has an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program designed for first-time DUI offenders. If you successfully complete the ARD program, your charges may be expunged, essentially giving you a fresh start.
However, you have to meet certain qualifications; it must be your first DUI within the past 10 years, there must not have been anyone younger than 14 in your car at the time, and there must be no serious injuries associated with your DUI.
What will happen to my driver’s license?
On a first offense with a BAC below 0.10%, you may keep your license if you meet certain criteria. Subsequent offenses require a 12-month suspension. With a BAC of 0.10% or higher, you lose your license for 12 to 18 months. If you enter an ARD program, you may keep your license or lose it for no more than 60 days, depending on your BAC level.
Will I go to jail for a DUI?
It depends on how many prior offenses you have and your BAC level. There is no jail time required for a first-time DUI with a BAC below 0.10%. With one prior DUI and a BAC below 0.10%, you may spend between five days and six months in jail.
The longest DUI sentences are reserved for those with two or more prior offenses and a BAC level of 0.16% or higher. This requires one to five years in prison. Other jail and prison sentences fall within this range.
What can I do to improve my situation?
You can reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. The effects of a DUI conviction can impact every area of your life for years to come, and you should do everything within your power to reduce or eliminate your charges.
Can I get a DUI expunged?
Generally, you can only get a DUI expunged in Pennsylvania if you successfully complete an ARD program. Otherwise, you have to meet very strict requirements for expungement. An individual who is at least 70 years old and has not been arrested in the previous 10 years may qualify for expungement, as does an individual who has been deceased for at least three years.
Does my BAC impact my case?
Your BAC significantly impacts your case. The options available to you during the DUI process are determined largely by how many prior offenses you have and your BAC level when you were arrested. Your fines, the amount of time you spend in jail, and other penalties are affected by your BAC level.
We’re Here to Help With Your Pennsylvania DUI Arrest
If you are serious about protecting your future after a DUI arrest in Pittsburgh, you need to contact a DUI lawyer immediately. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our experienced and highly skilled lawyer will look at the circumstances and develop a plan that protects your record, job opportunities, license, and financial well-being.