FAQs | DUI Laws in Pennsylvania

We are often asked questions by our clients facing DUI charges that are the same or similar in nature. To better serve you in your research of Pennsylvania DUI laws, we have posted answers to some of those frequent questions here.

I did an ARD for theft 10 yrs ago. Can I qualify for ARD now in my current DUI case?
AYes, you may qualify. ARD for DUI qualification will depend on the specifics of your DUI case. Read more here.
I read somewhere that my license won’t be suspended if I take an ARD. Is this true?
ANo, this is not an absolute truth. In rare cases, your DUI attorney may be able to arrange things such that your driver’s license is not suspended, but most ARD participants will lose driving privileges for 30, 60 or 90 days.
Don’t I have a constitutional right to refuse all DUI testing?
ANo. PA is ruled by Implied Consent law, which means when you received your PA driver’s license, you consented to all chemical testing allowed under the criminal code. Read about PA Refusal Law here.
Will I serve any state time on a 1st DUI if I damaged state property?
AYou will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you will face up to 6 months of incarceration, and additional penalties depending on your blood alcohol level. You need to consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible.
Will I lose my DL, this is my third DUI?
AUnder the PA Vehicle Code, Habitual Offenders, (§1542) a driver’s license can be revoked for a period of 5 years upon a 3rd DUI conviction. You need to retain the services of a specialized DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to fight against a 3rd conviction.
How can police charge me with DUI when I wasn’t even in my car or driving?
AAny number of factors can lead to a ‘driverless’ suspicion of DUI; including witness reports, your own admissions, and/or inaccurate observations by police. Regardless of what the truth may be, you will need to take all charges seriously. Consult with a defense attorney now.
My son is 20 and received a charge for Underage Consumption. Should I be worried?
AYes. Pennsylvania has Zero Tolerance laws for those under 21. A conviction on any of these laws can have serious consequences. Your child has many options and defenses to his charges that an experienced lawyer can uncover. Contact one right away.
My wife was arrested for DUI on the way home from a party last weekend. What will happen now?
AShe is facing serious charges and penalties if convicted, even if no accident occurred, and even if it is her first offense. PA takes DUI extremely seriously, but there are many proven defenses to a DUI charge. Call a local DUI attorney now to preserve all of her best options.
My daughter was arrested and released for a DUI last week. She is 19 and we are very worried. What will happen next?
AIf she was not already arraigned, this will be the next court appointment, followed by a preliminary hearing. It is crucial that she have an experienced DUI attorney present for all hearings who has the specialized skills needed to begin working on her defense. Read more about Underage laws in PA here. You may also want to learn about the ARD program here.
How long will it take to complete an ARD for a DUI case?
AIt varies. The time it will take from the point you are accepted to the point of completing your ARD can vary significantly depending on your county and the ARD terms you reached with the prosecution. Your defense attorney will be able to give you an accurate estimate on costs and hours of time needed to successfully complete the ARD.
I was arrested for DUI while visiting here from New York. What will the courts do to me now?
AIf you have already pleaded guilty, then you will be subjected to the penalties prescribed by PA law for your offense. In addition, Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation will report the charge and outcome to New York’s DMV database. You may want to hire a local DUI attorney to ensure your case is properly disposed.
What sentence will I get if I am convicted on a 3rd DUI?
AIf convicted of a 3rd DUI offense in PA, you will likely be sentenced with heavy fines, some jail time and/or rehab, and a driver’s license suspension of at least 1 year. After that, you will only be eligible for a limited license with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for another year, at your expense.
How can I be charged w/ a real DUI if no breathalyzer or chemical testing was done?
AAll DUI charges are “real” and many are prosecuted to conviction without BAC evidence. PA has a “general impairment” law which only requires the officer observe and note that the driver was incapable of safely driving/operating/being in control of a moving vehicle. You will need effective defense strategies and counsel to fight your DUI charge. Talk to a DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
I was pulled over, tested and then released for DUI on alcohol, but wasn’t cuffed and don’t think I was arrested. Do I have a defense?
AProbably not. You will likely be arrested by summons/mail when you receive the certified Notice to Appear in the mail. Police need only make an official in-field arrest and Mirandize you when they need to interrogate you for the crime.
I’m attending CDL School in PA to get my Class A license and was just arrested for a DUI. Can I still get my CDL after this, or should I just give up?
AYou will have to wait 1 year before your CDL privileges are granted if this is your first offense and you are convicted. You should contact an experienced DUI defense attorney now so you can work toward avoiding a DUI conviction.
I’m a Class A CDL driver and was just arrested for DUI. I’m told my charges will be dismissed and automatically expunged if I get into an ARD, is this true?
ANo, it is not. If you were a CDL holder at the time of your DUI arrest –regardless of whether it occurred on or off-duty, then you will not be eligible for record expungement under an ARD for DUI. Furthermore, the ARD will be reported as a violation to PennDot. You should hire a qualified defense attorney in the county of incident so you can fight the DUI charges to the fullest extent and best outcome possible.

logoWe hope you find the information provided to be useful. If you are in Pittsburgh, Indiana, Johnstown, Westmont, Richland, Cresson, Altoona, or any of the surrounding communities and have specific questions about a DUI charge, please call us today.

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