A DUI is considered a very serious crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Being convicted of a DUI can make your life very complicated. In addition to the shame and embarrassment it may have caused you, it can also impact your job, your family and your future – not to mention a mark on your permanent criminal record.
Most DUIs in Pennsylvania are misdemeanors. However, there are varying degrees of misdemeanors and their punishments increase in severity depending on the grade of misdemeanor and the circumstances in your case.
An experienced DUI attorney can sort through the facts of your case, help determine the best course of action and fight to get your case dismissed or your charges reduced. Winning a DUI in court is a possibility.
A tough and experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can help explain your rights, your options and the best way to move forward with your life. Beating DUI charges in PA is possible.
At SMA Law Group, we offer free case evaluations to anyone charged with a DUI in Allegheny County or Western Pennsylvania. We will help you understand your options and the different types of Alternative DUI Diversion Programs available, like the ARD Program.
Call Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Christopher Thomas today. He is here to answer your questions, listen to your situation, explain your rights and offer the best steps to defending your rights and getting your future back on track.
In Pennsylvania, the court uses a three-tier penalty system for DUI based on blood alcohol content, or BAC. While most DUI charges will be a misdemeanor, if there was an injury or death to someone other than the driver, your charges can be upgraded to a DUI Felony – DUI Assault by Vehicle.
If convicted, your sentencing will be based on which of the three-tier BAC levels you register at the time of conviction as well as whether or not you have been previously convicted of a DUI. Subsequent DUI convictions are graded more harshly than a first time DUI.
As stated above, your punishment will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. However, if you are a first time time DUI offender, and there are no injuries or complicating circumstances in your case, you will be charged with an ungraded misdemeanor.
The ungraded misdemeanor charge remains the same, regardless of your BAC level. However, the higher your BAC level, the more severe your punishment.
For example, a first time DUI offense with a BAC of .08 – .99% is an ungraded misdemeanor that carries a penalty of:
If your BAC level is found to be in the second tier, .1 – .159%, you will still be charged with an ungraded misdemeanor. However, your penalties increase to:
Finally, if your BAC level is in the third, or highest tier, .16% or higher, your penalties increase even further, including:
The charge is also and ungraded misdemeanor for most second time DUI offenses. The only situation in which a second DUI is charged higher than an ungraded misdemeanor is if the BAC level falls into the highest tier. In this case, the violation is a first degree misdemeanor.
In a case such as this, the penalties can be very severe, including:
For third and subsequent DUI offenses, you can be charged with a second or first degree misdemeanor depending on your BAC level at the time of arrest. The maximum penalty for a first degree misdemeanor is 5 years in jail.
Please see the Pennsylvania DUI Law Grading and Sentencing Guide for more information on specific sentencing guidelines.
Pennsylvania does not take DUI offenses lightly. Having a misdemeanor on your permanent record can make it difficult to find a job, get admitted to school, get insurance or even find housing. Having an experienced and aggressive attorney on your side is your best chance at protecting your rights, preserving your freedom and maintaining a clean criminal record.
A DUI attorney will make sure the sample taken to test your BAC was accurate and admissible in court. They will also be sure that your rights were not violated in any way during the traffic stop or in any interaction with the police.
In addition, DUI attorneys are skilled negotiators, who can try to work out a deal with the prosecution to get your charges reduced, or possibly dismissed. And that is what Pittsburgh DUI Attorney Christopher Thomas will try to do for you.
Attorney Thomas has a thorough knowledge of your rights under Pennsylvania law and he will work rigorously to defend them. He will work with you and give you options that are the best for you and your family.
Our DUI attorneys believe that people are inherently good. But good people make mistakes and some are falsely accused. A harsh punishment is rarely productive for anyone. Many people need treatment programs, not harsh sentencing.
We are here to guide you through a difficult time and do what it takes to have your case dismissed or your sentencing reduced to a minimum.
We will help you understand your options and the different types of Alternative DUI Diversion Programs available, like the ARD Program.
Our aggressive and compassionate attorneys are here to guide you through a difficult time. Everyone has unique situations and we take the time to listen to your story and fully understand the situation so that we can do everything possible to defend your rights.
Call Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Christopher Thomas for a free legal evaluation of your case today.
Call 412-765-3345 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are available by phone, email or in-person.
SMA Law Group attorneys believe in aggressively representing our clients while maintaining the personal compassion needed when counseling clients through difficult situations and navigating a complex legal system. Contact us today.