What happens when charged with DUI in PA for the first time?
A DUI arrest for the first time can have devastating effects on many aspects of your life. This may be your first experience dealing with police, prosecutors, magistrates, and the entire court system in Allegheny County and Pennsylvania.
A first DUI conviction in PA could mean up to six months in jail, a $5,000 fine and loss of your license for up to a year.
The penalties for a DUI in PA, depending on your blood alcohol content level (BAC), are severe. It goes without saying that this could seriously impact your freedom and ability to get to work or school, not to mention a criminal record which will make it difficult to get a job, insurance and housing in the future.
The DUI court process is extensive and can be confusing. Knowing the process and what you are facing is helpful in being able to fight for the best possible outcome and keep your rights and freedom.
A DUI charge is NOT a conviction.
Clients often ask if there is any hope that their case can be won. After all, the police have evidence, you have already been arrested—your case may seem hopeless.
But in reality, DUI cases can be won in court—your charges could be reduced or even dismissed, especially if you have a strong case. This is true for a first time DUI, a second DUI and even a third or subsequent DUI. It is also true if you were charged with DUI of drugs or refused to give a breath or blood test at the time of your arrest.
There are also alternatives to jail like the Pennsylvania ARD Program that can help keep your charges off your record and limit the usual penalties involved.
The PA criminal justice system must presume you are innocent of DUI charges unless a judge or jury finds you guilty. A skilled attorney can assist you with every aspect of your DUI charge and will ferociously fight to protect your rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Remember, the prosecutor’s case has already started before you even have an opportunity to begin your defense. Don’t delay in contacting us at 412-456-1221 and scheduling a free consultation.
PA ACCELERATED REHABILITATIVE DISPOSITION (ARD) ELIGIBILITY
As a first time DUI offender, you may be eligible for a diversionary program. For first-time DUI offenses, the ARD Program, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, is usually a good option, depending on your circumstances. However, acceptance into the ARD program is not an automatic option.
An experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can aggressively pursue eligibility into the ARD program on your behalf.
To gain acceptance, you must meet specific eligibility criteria, be approved by the district attorney’s office in your county and then approved by the Court. That is a very tall task if you are not represented by an experienced and successful DUI lawyer.
DUI EXPUNGEMENT IN PENNSYLVANIA
Expungement is the process of removing, sealing or clearing a DUI related offense from your criminal record. Depending on the expungement order, this could include clearing of your criminal records as well as removal from police records and any other agencies that have copies of the record.
If you are convicted, you will NOT be able to have your charges expunged. Therefore, it is extremely important to have a DUI attorney on your side. Expungement of your DUI is a good way to finally rid yourself of a past mistake.
CONSEQUENCES/PENALTIES OF A FIRST TIME DUI CONVICTION IN PENNSYLVANIA
If you are convicted of a First Offense DUI in PA, you will be facing substantial penalties which could include:
- Prison time, UP TO 6 MONTHS
- Probation, MANDATORY MINIMUM OF 6 MONTHS
- Driver’s license suspension, UP TO 12 MONTHS
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock
- Fines, UP TO $5,000
- Fees and court costs
- Court Reporting Network (CRN) Evaluation of Your Drug and Alcohol Use
- MANDATORY Drug and Alcohol Assessment and compliance with recommended treatment
- SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER insurance premiums
- Unable to OBTAIN INSURANCE COVERAGE
WHAT CAN A DUI LAWYER DO TO HELP?
As an experienced Pittsburgh DUI Attorney, Justin Ketchel’s greatest strength lies in critically analyzing and dissecting the details of a police officer’s report looking for weaknesses, neutralizing the police officer’s testimony and questioning the testimony of any experts in regard to blood or breath testing.
At Ketchel Law, we use our own experts to show why the blood or breath test reading was not accurate and we use the applicable case law to seek a full dismissal of your case when you were stopped without reasonable suspicion or arrested without probable cause.
Justin’s extensive experience as a former public defender, and in private practice, gives him a distinct advantage when handling DUI cases. His number one goal: Having your charges dismissed.
At Ketchel Law, we will do everything we can to minimize your expenses. You are never charged for phone calls or emails and your initial consultation is always free. We understand what you are going through and will tirelessly fight on your behalf to ensure that your arrest has a minimal impact on every aspect of your life.
If a full dismissal of charges is not possible, our experienced DUI attorneys will work to get your charges reduced to a minimum. We can help you with acceptance into the ARD process so you won’t have criminal charges on your record and we can help you with the Ignition Interlock Device program, so you can continue to drive.
Call the Ketchel Law at 412-456-1221. We take your case seriously and are committed to providing quality legal advice.
Learn More About DUI Laws in Pennsylvania:
- Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer
- The ARD Program for DUI Offenders
- Second DUI in PA
- The DUI Court Process
- The Penalties for a DUI Conviction in PA
- Ignition Interlock Device Program
- DUI Controlled Substance / DUI Drugs
- DUI Arrest in PA with a BAC over .16
- Underage DUI
- Underage Drinking in PA
- Third DUI Offense and Subsequent DUI Offenses
- DUI in PA with a CDL License
- DUI while on Probation
- DUI Prescription Medication
- DUI Accident with Injuries
- DUI Field Sobriety Tests
- Guide to Hiring a DUI Lawyer
- The Birchfield Ruling—New Supreme Court Ruling on DUI