Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer | Attorneys for Drunk Driving Charges
Worgul Law Firm LLC

Worgul, Sarna & Ness

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, LLC

Call (412) 281-2146 today

A Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer with Worgul, Sarna & Ness could be the difference in getting a reduction, a dismissal, or preserving your ability to drive

Contact us today or call 412-281-2146 to schedule a free and confidential DUI consultation.

Pennsylvania DUI Law

Under 75 Pa. Code §3802, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or both.

Pennsylvania’s legal limit for drivers over 21 is 0.08%. For drivers under 21, the BAC is 0.02% or higher. If you have a CDL the limit is 0.04%.
You can be charged if you drive, operate, or are in actual physical control of a vehicle under the following:

  • You are incapable of safely driving, operating, or being in physical control of the vehicle.
  • Your BAC is at least 0.08%.

You may also be charged if you:

  • Have a controlled substance or a metabolite in your blood.
  • Are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to the degree that impairs your driving.

DUI Penalties

Pennsylvania has a tiered system of penalties for DUIs based on the level of your BAC, your past record, and other aggravating factors.

DUI Penalties Chart

Choose the offense and BAC to view specific penalties.

How Many offenses have you had?

What Was your blood alcohol content?

Jail TimeUp to 6 months probation Fine$300 License SuspensionNone
Ignition InterlockNone Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time2 Days to 6 Months Fine$500 – $5,000 License Suspension1 year
Ignition InterlockNone Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time3 days to 6 months Fine$1,000 – $5,000 License Suspension1 year
Ignition InterlockNone Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time5 days to 6 months Fine$300 – $2,500 License Suspension1 year
Ignition Interlock1 year Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time30 days to 6 months Fine$750 – $5,000 License Suspension1 year
Ignition Interlock1 year Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time90 days to 5 years Fine$1,500 – $10,000 License Suspension18 months
Ignition Interlock1 year Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time10 days to 2 years Fine$500 – $5,000 License Suspension1 year
Ignition Interlock1 year Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time90 days to 5 years Fine$1,500 – $10,000 License Suspension18 months
Ignition Interlock1 year Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes
Jail Time1 year to 5 years Fine$2,500 – $10,000 License Suspension18 months
Ignition Interlock1 year Court-Oriented TreatmentYes Alcohol Safety SchoolYes

Common DUI Punishments

Drunk driving in PA is usually a misdemeanor conviction and can result in jail time, probation, a lengthy driver’s license suspension, and other serious consequences.

First DUI

Ungraded misdemeanor, no jail time, up to six months of probation, a fine of $30, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

First DUI With a High BAC (0.10 and 0.159%)

Ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by two days to six months in prison, a fine up to $5,000, a one-year license suspension, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

First DUI With an Extreme BAC (0.16% or Higher)

Ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by three days to six months jail, a fine up to $5,000, one-year license suspension, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

Second DUI

Ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by five days to six months in jail, a fine up to $2,500, a one-year license suspension, one-year ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

Second DUI With a High BAC (0.10 and 0.159%)

Ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days to six months in jail, a fine up to $5,000, a one-year license suspension, one year of an IID on your vehicle, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

Second DUI With an Extreme BAC (0.16% or Higher)

Ungraded misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days to five years in jail, fines up to $10,000, 18-month license suspension, one-year IID installation, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

Third DUI

Second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by ten days to two years in jail, a fine up to $5,000, a one-year license suspension, one-year IID installation, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

Third DUI With a High BAC (0.10 and 0.159%)

First-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days to five years in jail, a fine up to $10,000, 18-month license suspension, one year of an IID on your vehicle, alcohol safety school, and treatment.

Third DUI With an Extreme BAC (0.16% or Higher)

First-degree misdemeanor, punishable by one to five years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, an 18-month license suspension, a one-year IID installation, alcohol safety school, and treatment. You may also be charged with a felony per Act 153, depending on DUI history and BAC.

Other DUI Consequences

Whether you’re found guilty or agree to a plea, a DUI gives you a permanent criminal record. This can have a profound, negative impact on your life:

  • Ineligibility or difficulty obtaining professional licenses, including a CDL
  • Difficulty obtaining a job
  • Difficulty getting approved for rental housing
  • Immigration issues
  • Child custody and visitation issues
  • Higher auto insurance premiums

DUI Challenges for Students

Student or underage offenders might find it challenging to get into college and qualify for financial aid, such as grants and scholarships. You might also have trouble finding and retaining a good job if you have an underage DUI.

What About Repeat DUI Offenders?

In December 2018, Pennsylvania passed Act 153, which increases penalties for repeat DUI offenders and those who cause deaths while under the influence. According to Act 153, a third-time DUI conviction with a high BAC can be charged as a felony within ten years.

Additionally, it allows for increased penalties for DUI Homicide, which was three years in prison and is now up to seven years in prison. It also increases penalties for driving under the influence while under a DUI license suspension.

DUIs Aren’t Set In Stone

Drunk driving is among the most common criminal charges people face. This is because anyone can make a mistake. It’s also why our Pittsburgh DUI defense lawyers are committed to helping people move on, so a single incident doesn’t define the rest of your life.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re accused of drunk driving in Pittsburgh. The law allows for some alternatives to help you. For instance, if it is your first DUI, you could be eligible for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD).

No DUI Case is Hopeless

ARD is one option for avoiding jail and a criminal record for driving under the influence, but there are others. If mistakes were made or you want to prove your innocence, working with a DUI lawyer can help secure a dismissal, reduced charges, or acquittal.

Our Pittsburgh DUI lawyers may be able to:

  • Challenge the DUI stop
  • Question the validity of any DUI tests
  • Help you arrange bail
  • Get you driving privileges and protect your license
  • Negotiate a reduced charge or another favorable result
  • Collect evidence and witnesses to prove your innocence

Get your free consultation today.

We Defend Against Pittsburgh DUIs

We know how to fight DUI charges, whether it was a lapse in judgment or you were never impaired.

We hear two common questions from people charged with drunk driving:

  1. How Can I Fight a DUI?
  2. Can I Get out of a DUI if I was drinking and driving?

Your DUI Defense Options

Let us help you understand what you are up against and aggressively defend you in court.

Many potential defenses could apply to your case, even if got behind the wheel after having a couple of drinks.

No Probable Cause To Stop You

We investigate all the facts of your case to determine whether or not the police stop of your car was legal. If it wasn’t, then the evidence gathered during the stop is inadmissible and can’t be used in court.

The police must have probable cause to pull you over for a DUI stop. For example, they would need to have observed your car weaving between lanes or nearly hitting another vehicle. If they did not, the stop should not have been made, and any evidence obtained during the stop will not be admissible.

What’s Allowed?
Federal law strictly governs police stops to safeguard your fundamental rights. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures. Under this protection, there are three kinds of permissible contact with citizens:

  • Mere Encounter – This is a casual encounter. You have no legal obligation to answer questions.
  • Investigative Intention – Police have the authority to stop your vehicle if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are in the act of violating or have violated a law.
  • Custodial Detention or Arrest – Police may arrest you if they have probable cause that a crime is occurring or did take place.

You Were Not on a Public Road

Pennsylvania DUI laws stipulate police may stop a vehicle only on a public road or in a location open to the public for vehicular traffic. If you were driving your car on private property not open to general traffic, your DUI charges would not hold up in court.

Insufficient Evidence of Impairment

The police will look you over for signs of intoxication during a stop, such as alcohol on your breath, mumbled speech, or glassy, bloodshot eyes. They intend to use what they observe to establish probable cause for DUI charges. However, police officers make mistakes.

Questioning DUI Tests

A Pittsburgh DUI lawyer can challenge your arrest if the police force you to take a field sobriety test on faulty observations. For example, allergies cause bloodshot eyes. Suppose your arrest is based on an officer noticing your bloodshot eyes and asking you to take a field sobriety test when you weren’t drunk. In this example, we could have your DUI charges dismissed.

A Checkpoint Did Not Meet Standards

A DUI checkpoint must comply with specific rules. For example, the checkpoint must be marked. The police need to choose the vehicles they stop in an objective, non-discriminatory manner. A drunk driving defense attorney can challenge the charges against you if there are irregularities in the DUI checkpoint.

The Test Was Unreliable

We may challenge a DUI test because it can be unpredictable. Whether it was a field sobriety test or chemical test to determine your BAC, it must be administered correctly with reliable equipment and trained personnel.

The Breathalyzer Was Inaccurate

Breathalyzers, often used by police to test blood alcohol levels, are increasingly disputed for inaccuracy. Many scientists have concluded that breath testing is not an accurate way to measure BAC. Expert studies quoted by the National Motorists Association show a margin of error of as much as 50% compared to actual blood alcohol content.

Additionally, if a breathalyzer isn’t calibrated or operated correctly, it can produce incorrect readings. Factors such as acid reflux disease can also affect results. A recent Pennsylvania court decision in Dauphin County led to a judge ruling that Intoxilyzer 5000 breathalyzers can’t be proven accurate beyond .15% BAC.

Refusing DUI Tests

To find clues that you are inebriated, the police will likely ask you to submit to certain field sobriety tests. They might include the:

  • one-leg stand
  • Walk-and-turn test
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test

These tests are not very reliable or scientific, and you are not required to submit. If the police want you to perform a physical test, you can politely say no. No federal or state law requires you to perform any field sobriety test.

Will I be Arrested if I Refuse?

In many situations, you will be arrested anyway. When an officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, they are likely convinced you have been drinking. Your next step is to comply and immediately contact an attorney.

Chemical DUI Tests

Drivers in Pennsylvania have given implied consent to submit to one or more chemical tests to determine the alcohol content of your breath and blood. There are civil and potentially criminal when you refuse a BAC test after arrest.

Penalties for Refusing

If you refuse a breath or blood BAC test, your driver’s license is suspended for 12 months. When you have a second or subsequent refusal, the civil suspension lasts 18 months.

Can I Appeal a Civil Suspension?

You can appeal a civil driver’s license suspension by requesting a hearing. But this request must be done quickly. Call our DUI attorneys immediately if you are arrested, refuse to take a chemical test, and receive notice of an administrative license suspension.

Other Pittsburgh DUI FAQ

1. Can I Get a DUI If I’m Under 08%?

Yes. A DUI indicates that you were driving under the influence, whether or not you were at the legal limit. The police may use a breathalyzer to collect evidence that you were intoxicated; however, the prosecutor may use other information against you as well. The educated opinion of the arresting officer will be considered, as well as the results of any field sobriety tests, your behavior, how you were driving, and any other evidence of impairment.

2. What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a small machine installed in your car after a DUI that detects the amount of alcohol in your breath. If the IID detects more alcohol than is permitted in your breath, then it will prevent your vehicle from starting and you will be unable to drive. An IID is often required for second, third, and subsequent DUIs. Sometimes you can get an IID installed to regain driving privileges.

3. Will My DUI Case Go to Trial?

Most DUI cases do not go to trial. They are usually plead out and the charges are either dropped or negotiated down in a plea agreement. However, if you want to dispute the facts of your case and the prosecutor refuses to drop the case, then you may need to go to trial. It’s best to work with a skilled DUI lawyer if you are considering a trial. Public defenders rarely go to trial, and they often try to handle cases as quickly as possible because of large caseloads. If you do go to trial and lose, you may be able to appeal your conviction.

4. What If a DUI Involved Drugs?

A drug DUI involves driving under the influence of marijuana, prescription drugs, or illegal substances. Although medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, it is still illegal to drive while intoxicated by the substance. However, it is often difficult for a police officer to determine that a driver is under the influence of drugs. Thus, it may be possible to get your charges dismissed entirely.

Related DUI Topics & Further Reading

Why Choose Worgul, Sarna & Ness as Your DUI Lawyers

We build you a strong DUI defense.
Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC is a Board Certified criminal defense firm focusing on DUI defense. We understand what it takes to get the best possible outcome for those facing drunk driving charges.

In some situations, this could mean successfully negotiating a plea to a lesser charge. Other times, our experienced trial lawyers fight in the courtroom to defend the allegations against you.

A Pittsburgh DUI lawyer gives you open and honest information. We provide a realistic potential outcome of your case. Our legal team appreciates what is at stake for you if convicted, and we relentlessly pursue the best possible resolution.

Free DUI Consults, 24/7

Learn more about your rights and options when facing drunk driving charges in and around Pittsburgh, PA. Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC for a free consultation.

Call 412-281-2146or submit a request for your free, confidential DUI consultation.

Client Reviews

Check out what Raymont had to say about us on Avvo:

“First, I’d like to state on the record that if you don’t decide to go with Worgul Law Firm, you’re basically setting yourself up for failure. Before stumbling upon Mike I talked and visited with a verity of DUI defense attorney’s and though I am not bias towards public defenders I do feel as though every defense attorney responded to my case in a manner where it was better for me to take a plea deal being that this would be my 3rd DUI charge. Mike’s diligence towards my case was impeccable, and he will let you know his real thoughts and feelings about the case w/out easily swaying you into a detrimental situation. Today I went on trial for a 3rd DUI offense and won. This was a trial of one African-American male with only his African-American partner as a witness verse three Caucasian cops who tried to concoct a story different than what was initially given at the preliminary hearing. Mike showed no bias towards me nor my case. When you come into contact with Mike it feels as though your venting to a friend or family member who will delegate and immediately push for a positive outcome to your situation. Now, I do want to advise in advance that he is an extremely busy man (because he’s the best), so if he misses your call just know that he will always get back to you as soon as possible (I had to learn that lol)! At the end of the day Worgul Law Firm was the right move for me and it could be for you too!”

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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