DUI convictions change lives forever, making it difficult to find employment, get a driver’s license, and can even impact housing rentals and purchases, too. Furthermore, a DUI creates an unflattering reputation that anyone can learn with a few clicks of the mouse or a phone call to the local courthouse. If you’re charged with DUI, you need an excellent Philadelphia DUI Defense Attorney to help minimize the consequences of a conviction or, hopefully, get the charges reduced or tossed out of court.
When Can You Be Charged With DUI?
In Philadelphia, a person is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) when their blood alcohol content (BAC) registers 0.8% or higher on a breathalyzer field sobriety test. Individuals under the age of 21 are considered intoxicated if they blow a 0.2% of higher. Failure to comply with directions to take a breath taste may also warrant an arrest for DUI.
But, it’s not only alcohol that can lead to a DUI charge. If you use drugs, illegal or prescription, and get behind the wheel of a car you can face the same consequences as someone who has got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol if the medication impairs your ability to safely operate the vehicle. This includes pain relievers, marijuana, muscle relaxers, barbiturates, and other medications.
What are the Penalties for DUI in PA?
First time DUI convictions do not warrant any minimum jail time, but there is a $300 fine. A 2nd offense DUI conviction has a jail sentence of 5 days to six months and a fine of $300 – $2,500 and a 12-month driver’s license suspension. A 3rd offense DUI conviction warrants a minimum 10 days in jail but can result in two-years in jail. There is also a fine ranging from $500 – $5000 and a 12-month driver’s license suspension.
A judge may also impose drug and alcohol classes and vehicle interlock driving systems for repeat DUI offenders in addition to the consequences listed above. The classes cost money, which must be paid out of your own pocket. It is best that you do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you plan to consume alcohol in any amount and avoid the risks of a DUI charge altogether.
How Does a DUI Lawyer Help You?
So often people charged with DUI are assumed to be guilty before they even arrive in court. It’s hard to get a fair trial when someone has already convinced themselves of your guilt. When there is a lawyer standing by you in court, you can be sure that your voice is heard loud and clear. You’ll get a fair shot at a fair hearing when you appear before the judge. Furthermore, the lawyer provides confidence and peace of mind before the day arrives and reduces the consequences of a conviction if that is the result of the case. Lawyers fight to get the charges dismissed altogether, but when that isn’t possible, they have other options.