First Offense DUI Lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA | Worgul, Sarna & Ness

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If you have been charged with your first DUI offense in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, a first offense DUI attorney from Worgul, Sarna & Ness can help. Our DUI lawyers have received over 300 5-star reviews, have decades of experience handling DUI cases, and are available 24/7. We understand how scary a first-time DUI charge can be, but you don’t have to go at it alone.

Schedule a FREE consultation by calling (412) 281-2146 or filling out a contact form.

Charged With Your First DUI in PA? We Can Help.

If it’s the first time you have been pulled over and arrested for a DUI, you might feel like your whole life is upside down or even ruined. You may be wondering whether you will lose your driver’s license, go to jail, or lose your job.

DUI charges can have an extremely damaging effect on your life. Depending on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest, your punishment for a first-time DUI can range from probation to months in prison. You can also face the negative impact of a criminal record that will show up in a background check.

Each time a driver adds a DUI conviction to their record, Pennsylvania law punishes them more harshly. This makes it even more important to fight your first DUI and keep your driving record clean. It is critical that you hire an experienced Pittsburgh first-offense DUI lawyer as soon as you can so they can start working immediately on your defense.

Table of Contents

Pennsylvania DUI Laws
Penalties for a First DUI
What to Do After a DUI Arrest
Will I Go to Jail for My First DUI?
Defenses Against First-Time DUIs
Contact Us

Pennsylvania’s First-Time DUI Laws

You can be arrested and charged with a DUI under 75 Pa. Code §3802.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is illegal to drive after drinking an amount of alcohol that makes you incapable of safely driving, operating, or physically controlling a vehicle. It is also illegal to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours after you have driven.

You can also be charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) for operating a vehicle after taking a Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III controlled substance.

The Pennsylvania Lookback Period

You may be considered a first-time DUI offender even if you technically have a previous DUI conviction on your record. Pennsylvania’s lookback period for driving under the influence is typically 10 years. If you have one DUI conviction within the previous 10 years, then this arrest will be a second DUI. However, if your prior conviction was for an arrest that occurred more than 10 years ago, then this arrest is a new first DUI. For example, you may be in your 40s and facing a DUI charge. A DUI conviction that took place when you were 22 years old may not impact this offense. You will instead face a first-time DUI.

Penalties for a First Offense DUI in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s system for punishing those who drive impaired is based on both the driver’s BAC and whether or not you have previous offenses on your record. For a first-offense DUI in Pittsburgh, as an ungraded misdemeanor, your criminal penalties may include:

First DUI With a BAC Lower than 0.10 Percent

  • Up to six months’ probation
  • $300 DUI fine
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • No first offense DUI license suspension
  • No DUI first offense jail time
  • Ignition interlock device required, if you refuse a chemical test

First DUI With a BAC Between 0.10 and 0.159 Percent

  • Between two days and six months’ incarceration
  • Up to $5,000 fines
  • one-year driver’s license suspension
  • Alcohol Safety School
  • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • Ignition interlock device

First DUI With a BAC Higher Than 0.16 Percent

  • Between three days and six months’ incarceration
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • One-year driver’s license suspension
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Alcohol or drug treatment
  • Ignition interlock device

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s three-tiered DUI penalty system, click here.

Other Consequences of a First DUI

Additional repercussions of your first DUI offense in Pennsylvania include:

  • You may have to pay more for car insurance.
  • The court may order you to attend an alcohol highway safety school or treatment program.
  • You will have a criminal record.
  • You may be given an enhanced sentence with harsher punishments if you caused an injury or death by driving drunk. You will also risk being sued for damages in a civil court.
  • You might not be able to obtain federal financial aid or receive any private grants and scholarships.
  • You could be denied entrance to Canada, Mexico, and many other countries. You might have to ask for special consideration for a visa to visit well in advance of your trip.

What to Do If You Are Charged with Your First DUI Offense in PA

If you have been charged with your first DUI offense, your first step should be to immediately find and hire a DUI defense attorney. The complexities of DUI evidence and laws – as well as the lasting impacts if you’re convicted – are a good reason to hire an attorney experienced in first time DUIs who can begin building your defense. He or she can also help you if the police need to speak with you further or if you have questions about the process.

Soon after your arrest, you will receive a copy of your criminal complaint in the mail. It’s important to show this paperwork to your first offense DUI attorney so he or she can see your exact charges.

After that will be your preliminary hearing. This is the first court appearance on your case and it is critical because at this hearing your options, including ARD, a plea negotiation or a trial, will be determined. Your criminal defense attorney will help you obtain the best possible outcome for your situation.

First DUI in Pennsylvania

A first DUI in Pennsylvania comes with serious penalties if convicted. If you were pulled over after consuming alcohol, the best steps to take are speaking with a first offense DUI attorney that has years of experience defending the rights of individuals accused of DUI. If convicted of a first time DUI in Pennsylvania, you may be facing serious fines and jail time. Learn how our DUI attorneys can help.

Will I go to Jail for my First DUI Offense in Pennsylvania?

The good news is this: not all first-time DUI offenders end up incarcerated. But some do — if convicted — depending on a number of factors, including the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream and whether bodily injury or property damage occurred. To avoid the worst possible penalties, it’s always a good idea to contact a Pittsburgh DUI attorney as soon as possible following your DUI arrest.

Beyond BAC levels, additional factors can influence whether a person will face incarceration for his or her first-time DUI. These include:

  • Underage driving — A minor with a BAC at or above .02 can face up to 6 months incarceration
  • Driving a commercial or school vehicle — Operators of commercial and school vehicles with BAC levels above .04 can face up to 6 months incarceration
  • Cases involving bodily injury — When bodily injury results from a DUI accident, an offender can be charged with up to 6 months incarceration
  • Accidents resulting in damage to personal property — If an accident occurs in which a vehicle or other property is damaged, an offender can face up to 6 months incarceration
  • DUIs resulting in death — When a person dies as a result of a first-time DUI accident, an offender can be charged with up to 6 months incarceration

ARD Option For First-Time Offenders

If it’s your first DUI, you may have an option that multiple offenders don’t. Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD) is a diversionary program that may prove to be your best choice if you decide not to fight your case.

One of ARD’s chief benefits is that if you take the program you are not pleading guilty to your first time DUI charge. If you complete ARD successfully the charge can be expunged from your record.

Your acceptance into ARD depends on the circumstances of your DUI, but most importantly, the District Attorney prosecuting your case will be the one who makes the final decision. Your Pittsburgh first offense DUI lawyer will be a key factor in motivating the DA to allow you to be admitted.

How to Defend Against First Offense DUI Charges in Pittsburgh

If you do not choose ARD or negotiate a plea — and your case goes to trial — your first offense DUI attorney will have several lines of defense depending on the circumstances of your case. A few of these are:

  • The police did not have probable cause to stop you
  • The police did not have probable cause to test you for DUI
  • The results of your chemical test (blood, breath or urine) were not accurate
  • The testing equipment used was flawed

If the police stopped you without probable cause to pull you over, your attorney will try to show that the evidence against you should be suppressed.

Ultimately a Pittsburgh DUI defense lawyer can review the possible defenses applicable for your situation and walk you through the best options. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have the experience you need to avoid the worst penalties of a first time DUI conviction.

Contact Our First Offense DUI Attorneys in Pittsburgh, PA Today

Your rights are at stake and you need the best defense to keep them. I will fight using the strongest defense available to get your first DUI charge reduced or dismissed so you can move on with your life.

(412) 281-2146 or