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Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC (412) 281-2146

    First DUI in Pittsburgh

    If it’s the first time you have been arrested for a DUI, you were probably shocked about being pulled over — as well as scared and worried about what would happen next. You may be wondering whether you will lose your driver’s license or even have to go to jail.

    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 DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can so he or she can start working immediately on your defense.

    First-Time DUI Penalties

    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.

    If your BAC is .08 (Pennsylvania’s legal limit) to .099, and it’s your first offense, you fall into the lowest tier of the Commonwealth’s three-tier DUI penalty structure. You won’t face a mandatory prison sentence but you are at risk of a $300 fine and up to six months of probation.

    If you fall into the middle tier with a BAC of .10 to .159, or the third tier and highest level of impairment (.16 and above), you are at risk of having to spend up to six months in prison, a one-year license suspension and up to $5,000 in fines. Additionally, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle to prevent you from drunk driving for at least one year.

    Other negative repercussions of a DUI include:

    • You may have to pay more for car insurance.
    • The court may order you to attend alcohol highway safety school or take a treatment program.
    • You will have a criminal record.
    • You may be given an enhanced sentence carrying harsher punishment if you caused an injury or death by driving drunk. You will also risk being sued for damages in a civil court.
    First DUI in Pennsylvania

    A first DUI in Pennsylvania come with serious penalties associated if convicted. If you were pulled over after consuming alcohol, the best steps to take are speaking with an 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.

    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 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 DUI defense lawyer will be a key factor in motivating the DA to allow you to be admitted.

    What Pennsylvania Law Says About DUI

    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 a DUID for driving a vehicle after taking a Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III controlled substance.

    Steps To Take If You Are Charged with a DUI

    If you have been charged with first DUI, your first step should be to immediately find and hire a DUI defense lawyer. 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 DUI defense 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 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 attorney will help you obtain the best possible outcome for your situation.

    Your Defense For First DUI Charges

    If you do not choose ARD or negotiate a plea — and your case goes to trial — your 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 you face.

    Questions? Contact me.

    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 advice@pittsburghcriminalattorney.com