Ambridge DUI Defense Lawyers Serving the Pittsburgh Area
Giving you options after you’ve been accused of drunk driving
The consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can severely impact your personal and professional life. When you’re accused of drunk driving in Beaver County and the surrounding areas, a knowledgeable lawyer at Bowers Fawcett & Hurst, LLC can help you understand the charges against you and pursue available options to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Immediately after your arrest, our legal team can begin providing valuable assistance.
Penalties for DUIs in Pennsylvania
Driving under the influence in Pennsylvania is a serious offense. How serious it is depends on many factors, including your blood alcohol content (BAC) and your prior offenses. The commonwealth has a three-tiered system of DUI enforcement based on your BAC:
- General impairment — This is a standard DUI, where an adult driver has a BAC ranging from 0.08 to 0.099 percent.
- High BAC — This is an enhanced DUI, for drivers with BAC from 0.10 to 0.159 percent, and enhanced sentencing applies.
- Highest BAC — Drivers with BAC of 0.16 percent and higher fall into this enhanced category.
If you are arrested for a general impairment DUI, the penalties you face depend on prior DUI convictions, as follows:
- First offense — An ungraded misdemeanor, a first offense DUI carries a maximum penalty of six months’ probation, a $300 fine, attendance at alcohol highway safety school, and a possible order of treatment for alcohol abuse.
- Second offense — An ungraded misdemeanor, a second conviction carries a 12-month license suspension, jail time ranging from five days to six months, a fine ranging from $300 to $2,500, attendance at alcohol highway safety school, a possible order of treatment for alcohol abuse, and one-year use of ignition interlock after the license suspension ends.
- Third and subsequent offense — A second-degree misdemeanor, the charge carries a 12-month license suspension, 10 days to 12 months in jail, a fine of $500 to $5,000, an order of treatment for alcohol abuse, and one-year use of ignition interlock after the license suspension ends.
To illustrate how enhancements work, here are the penalties for first-time DUI at higher BAC levels:
- High BAC first offense — This ungraded misdemeanor calls for a 12-month license suspension, jail time of 48 hours to six months, a $500 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school, and alcohol abuse treatment when ordered.
- Highest BAC first offense — This ungraded misdemeanor calls for a 12-month license suspension, jail time ranging from 72 hours to six months, a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, alcohol highway safety school, and alcohol abuse treatment when ordered.
You also may face more severe consequences if driving while on drugs, driving under the influence with a minor in the car, causing an accident that results in the injury or death of another person, or involving other aggravating circumstances.
Do I really need a DUI attorney?
Because of the seriousness of the charges and implications a conviction may have for your reputation and ability to make a living, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. A DUI attorney from Bowers Fawcett & Hurst, LLC can explain the law and make sure that your rights have not been violated. We can investigate and potentially challenge the following issues:
- BAC tests — BAC equipment can be faulty. Such equipment is regularly found to produce misleading test results. Additionally, people administering the test must have proper certification to ensure valid test results. Not all police officers are certified.
- Reason for the stop — Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has occurred in order to stop you. If they lack reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop and all evidence obtained thereafter may be suppressed.
- Blood tests — Recent United States Supreme Court decisions may render blood tests unconstitutional.
If the prosecution’s case starts to unravel, it may be possible to get charges reduced or dismissed.
Speak with an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer right away
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Beaver County or the Pittsburgh area, you need an attorney you can trust to explore all of your legal options. At Bowers Fawcett & Hurst, LLC, we serve individuals throughout western Pennsylvania from our office in Ambridge, Beaver County, which is located just off State Route 65 and minutes from Pittsburgh. To set up your free initial consultation, call us at 724-266-0290 or contact us online.