What Happens After Being Charged With a First-Time DUI in PA?
If you have been arrested for a DUI first offense in PA you are probably wondering what happens next and have questions like:
These are all valid questions and not knowing the answers can be pretty scary. But you are not alone. Hundreds of people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol every week. It is important to remember that winning a DUI case is possible.
Speaking to an experienced DUI lawyer is the first step. An experienced and knowledgeable Pittsburgh DUI Defense Lawyer can help you determine your options and fight your charges so you can move forward with your life.
It is very possible for the first time DUI offenders to be accepted into diversionary programs like the ARD Program, in which you may be able to keep your license or even have your criminal record wiped clean.
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Pennsylvania has strict drunk driving laws and depending on your blood alcohol content level (BAC) at the time of arrest, you could be facing jail time, license suspension and hefty fines.
A first time DUI defendant with a BAC level of .10% or higher faces up to six months in jail, a one-year license suspension and fines up to $5,000 as well as a misdemeanor and mandatory drunk driving school (Alcohol Highway Safety Treatment).
Even at the lowest BAC level (one or two beers), a first time DUI defendant faces up to six months of mandatory probation, a $300 fine, Alcohol Highway Safety Treatment and a criminal record with a misdemeanor.
Please see our page on the PA DUI Laws page for more information on specific consequences for a DUI in Pennsylvania depending on your BAC level.
If you are convicted, yes there are stiff penalties imposed by the Commonwealth, but there are also indirect penalties such as an increase in insurance premiums and other court costs.
If you are convicted of a DUI, and you have the unfortunate luck of getting another DUI in the next ten years, you face much harsher penalties including the risk of losing your license for a year or two, going to prison and much steeper fines.
With a misdemeanor on your public criminal record you may suffer difficulties in finding employment, finding housing and getting into colleges or universities. A DUI can have a deep impact on your future.
It is important to remember that being arrested for a first offense DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of a DUI.
There are ways to fight back and to protect your freedom. The value of having an aggressive DUI lawyer may very well outweigh the costs to your freedom, your license, your job and your future.
Pittsburgh DUI Attorney Christopher Thomas offers FREE CASE EVALUATIONS to anyone charged with a DUI.
An experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can help you determine your options and fight your charges so you can move forward with your life.
It is very possible for the first time DUI offenders to be accepted into diversionary programs so you can keep your license and have your record wiped clean.
It is possible to have your case completely dismissed, especially if your arrest was not warranted or the police did not follow procedures. In addition, an experienced attorney can help in getting your sentencing reduced.
Every situation is unique, but one mishap with the law should not have to cost you your entire future. By speaking with an attorney you can determine how to best fight the charges.
Read below for more information about what happens the first time you are arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania or simply call today for a free consultation.
The entire court process for a DUI in PA can be confusing as well as lengthy. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, the length of time for the Pennsylvania court process for DUI can vary. You should talk to a DUI attorney to learn more about what to expect.
This is the most important hearing of your case and is set soon after your arrest, which is why it is extremely important to speak to a DUI attorney in Pittsburgh as soon as possible.
It is at this hearing that prosecutors must prove that a DUI was committed and if they can do that, your case will move forward. This is the hearing where a DUI attorney can fight for your charges to be dismissed.
At the formal arraignment a judge will be assigned to your case. At this time, a DUI Lawyer can also help you apply for the ARD program, a DUI diversionary program in Pennsylvania for first time offenders if you qualify. If the program is successfully completed it will wipe your record clean.
This conference allows for a discussion in order to resolve any issues before a trial. At the pre-trial your DUI attorney can examine the lab reports from the police and may be able to negotiate a plea bargain, if you decide that is in your best interest.
At the trial you will receive a guilty or not guilty verdict. If you are found guilty you will then be sentenced by the judge. It may be possible to appeal a DUI, but you will need to speak to an attorney about filing a notice of appeal.
The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD) in Allegheny County is a diversionary program, which you may qualify for if this is your first DUI arrest. It allows you to have your record wiped clean (expunged) and your charges to be dismissed. It also may reduce your license suspension.
However, to be accepted into the program, the District Attorney must approve your request for acceptance. An experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney can help in the application process and urge the District Attorney to accept you into the program.
Successful completion of the program is required, otherwise you will have a DUI on your record and you will go back to court for sentencing and have to serve out the punishment.
A Pittsburgh DUI Attorney Christopher Thomas is a compassionate attorney but aggressive in his approach to defending his clients’ rights and liberties.
He is 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.
Call Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer Christopher Thomas for a free legal evaluation of your case. He is here to answer your questions, listen to your situation, explain your rights and offer the best steps in defending your rights and fighting for your license and your freedom.
Call 412-765-3345 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are available by phone, email or in-person.
SMT Legal 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.