The holiday season is a time for celebration and for many people, celebrations involve alcohol. When family and friends gather together and are feeling merry, too many people may decide to drive home afterward. Law enforcement officers are prepared and will especially be on the lookout for impaired drivers as the holidays approach. This can include placing additional patrol cars in certain neighborhoods or even setting up sobriety checkpoints.
As a result of these measures in many towns and counties, DUI arrests increase during the holiday season. Don’t spend your holidays dealing with an arrest. Keep the roads of Pennsylvania safe for everyone by calling a cab or designating a driver. New ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber have made it easier than ever to get a ride when you need one. The cost of a cab or an Uber pales in comparison to the court and legal fees of a DUI. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, however, contact an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney as soon as possible. You must protect your constitutional rights.
Pennsylvania’s Impaired Driving Law
Chapter 38 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. This chapter also sets forth sentencing and administrative consequences and makes special provisions for certain types of DUI defendants. These include minors, drivers of commercial vehicles or school vehicles, repeat offenders, defendants with a minor child in the vehicle, and those who refuse to take an alcohol test when requested by a law enforcement officer. Section 3804(e) creates a mandatory suspension of driving privileges for defendants who are convicted of driving under the influence. Of course, alcohol is not the only substance that can impair drivers.
According to the Washington Post, 2015 was the first year in which drugged driving caused more traffic fatalities than drunk driving. These statistics have led many law enforcement agencies to step up their efforts to target drivers who are impaired by prescription and recreational drugs. Pennsylvania drivers should take particular care about driving with any prescription medication in their systems. Be sure you know how a medication affects you before getting behind the wheel.
How Long Will My Driving Privileges Be Suspended?
The length of the driver’s license suspension is determined by the classification of the DUI offense. If the defendant’s blood alcohol content was between 0.08 percent and 0.1 percent, absent any prior DUI convictions, there is no suspension of driving privileges. For DUIs that are upgraded misdemeanors or second-degree misdemeanors, the defendant will lose driving privileges for twelve months. First degree misdemeanors subject the defendant to eighteen months of suspended driving privileges.
Defendants should also know the other penalties to which Pennsylvania courts may sentence anyone convicted of driving under the influence. These include probation, jail time, fines, attendance at an alcohol highway safety program, a substance abuse evaluation, and treatment for substance abuse as deemed necessary by the court. These consequences of a DUI conviction can cost a defendant a lot of money.
Defending Against DUI Allegations
Just because you have been arrested for driving under the influence does not mean that you will be convicted. There are many ways that a DUI defense lawyer can challenge the prosecutor’s case to have your case dropped or to mitigate the consequences you face. The following are some common ways our law firm can defend against DUI charges:
- Challenge whether the traffic stop was legal. An officer cannot simply stop you on a hunch that you may have been drinking or unlawfully target you at a sobriety checkpoint. If a stop violated your rights, your entire case may be dismissed.
- Challenge the results of a breath or blood test based on errors in test administration, officer training, defective equipment, or forensic lab errors.
- Challenge the results of field sobriety test based on errors in test administration, officer training, or providing evidence that another factor affected your performance.
- Challenge the officer’s observations of intoxication and presenting an alternative explanation for the appearance of intoxication, such as fatigue or illness.
These are only some of many different ways you can fight your DUI charges.
The Right Representation For Your DUI Defense
If you have been issued a DUI, contact an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. You have important legal rights that a lawyer can protect. Attorney Brian J. Zeiger has extensive experience in defending DUI cases. Call (215) 546-0340 today to schedule your consultation.