Frequently Asked Questions about DUI
At Platt, DiGiorgio & DiFabio, we know the fear and worry that our clients feel when facing a DUI charge. Below are some common questions about drunk driving that our attorneys are often asked:
- What is the law in Pennsylvania on Driving Under the Influence?
- What is the ARD program?
- Does the ARD differ in each County Court System?
- What if I am not eligible for ARD or am a repeat offender?
- Are there possible ways to defend a DUI case?
- If I am stopped by the police, and they ask me to take a blood or breath test, am I required to?
Reputable DUI defense lawyers serving Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Platt, DiGiorgio & DiFabio has been defending motorists since 1983. Experienced and respected, our firm has the knowledge and skill to help you fight a DUI charge. To speak to one of our lawyers, call us today at 267-388-1599 or contact us online.
In Pennsylvania, a person may not drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to the extent that it renders a person incapable of safely operating a vehicle. Furthermore, a person may not operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater and/or with certain drugs in their system. Pennsylvania law provides for a three-tiered system of increasing penalties, depending on the blood alcohol level and if drugs are present in the blood. Additionally, the penalties increase if you are a multiple DUI offender.
ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. This is a diversionary program where a person is placed on pre-trial probation without a conviction. It is available for first time offenders in any non-violent case and is most often used for first time DUI offenders. The benefits of the program are avoidance of possible mandatory jail time; a reduced driver license suspension; no conviction on your criminal record; successful completion of probation results in a dismissal of your charges and an opportunity to Petition the court for an expungement of your criminal record.
Yes, the forms and the process to apply for the ARD program and the court proceedings differ in each county. If the procedures are not properly followed, it can result in a rejection of your application for admission to the program.
If you are rejected for the ARD program, most counties have a procedure to request reconsideration. If the request for reconsideration fails or you are not eligible for the ARD program, there are certain mandatory penalties for guilty pleas or convictions in DUI cases, including mandatory jail time, so your case must be closely examined for possible defenses (see below). If you are a repeat offender, you may be facing an increased mandatory jail sentence. However, most counties have a unique program for the reduction of this mandatory jail sentence. Some counties offer weekend sentences and/or home monitoring options. Additionally, there are mandatory driver license suspensions for a guilty plea or conviction. These suspensions vary, depending on the number of prior offenses and the tier (see above) of your offense. You may qualify for an Occupational Limited License after serving a certain portion of the suspension.
Yes, these defenses could include many issues such as the legality of the initial stop (including the observations of the police officer), the nature of the field sobriety tests, the request for blood or breath test, the results of any blood or breath test, possible witnesses who may have been with you prior to the stop by the officer, or witnesses at the scene of the stop.
Yes. If the officer validly has stopped your vehicle, you must submit to a request for a breath or blood test. If you refuse, your license will be suspended for a year by PennDot regardless of what happens to your DUI case and in addition to any license suspension imposed as a result of your DUI case. There are certain limited ways to obtain a reversal of such a suspension. The procedure to contest such a suspension is to appeal the suspension to the Court of Common Pleas and have a hearing that is separate from your DUI case.