DUI | Ketchel Law - Criminal Lawyers Pittsburgh

Can You Be Charged with DUI Without Driving?

Pennsylvania Court Further Defines ‘Operation’ of Vehicle in DUI Cases

asleep at wheel - dui in pennsylvania - dui lawsIn Bold vs. Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Commonwealth Court clarified the precedent for the term ‘operates’, which is used in the Implied Consent Law under Section 1547(b)(1)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, 75 for license suspension cases.

This definition expands the meaning to include that being in the driver’s seat of a running vehicle while intoxicated is reasonable cause for police to request chemical testing.

All judges of the appellate court heard the case and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel ruled against Thomas Bold, despite his vehicle being stationary at the time of the arrest and with no indication Bold had been driving the vehicle.

A dissenting opinion was filed by Judge Leavitt.

PennDOT suspended Bold’s license for 18 months following his arrest when he failed to submit to a chemical test. He had previously been convicted of DUI in 2007.

According to the case filed on November 21, 2022:

Officer Gelnett testified that he was on patrol at the Capital City Mall on January 25, 2020, at 6:14 p.m., when he was dispatched to check on “a vehicle in the parking lot that was running with a gentleman passed out behind the wheel.”

He located the vehicle, which was unlocked and running, with the headlights on. He opened the driver’s side door and shut off the engine. Officer Gelnett then woke Licensee, who was in the driver’s seat, smelled of alcohol, and appeared “obviously intoxicated.”

Officer Gelnett stated that the vehicle “was legally parked in a parking space” near the mall’s liquor store and a Primanti Brothers bar and restaurant. Licensee told Officer Gelnett that he had been in Primanti Brothers watching a game, “and [that] he just [went] out to his truck and was sleeping in his truck [until] he thought he was able to drive home.”

Licensee refused to submit to a preliminary breath test and insisted that he was not driving. Officer Gelnett responded that Licensee was sitting behind the wheel of a running vehicle and, thus, was in actual physical control of the vehicle.


Do you have a question concerning a DUI case? Call our team of Pittsburgh DUI lawyers for a free consultation.

Call Ketchel Law at 412-456-1221. We take your case seriously and are committed to providing quality legal advice. 

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DUI Preliminary Hearings in Pennsylvania – What Should I Expect?

What You Should Know before a Preliminary Hearing for DUI in PA

If you were charged with DUI of alcohol or drugs in Pennsylvania, you were most likely given a date already for your preliminary hearing. This hearing occurs typically within 30 to 60 days from your arrest and takes place in the local District Court where the DUI arrest happened.

preliminary hearing dui pennsylvaniaThere are several things you should be aware of before this date, so you can make a best effort to prepare for the hearing and defend your rights.

First, you will not be sentenced at the preliminary hearing, as the goal of the hearing is to only determine whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to proceed with the case, such as blood alcohol content (BAC) results and proof that you were operating a motor vehicle from police reports, etc. You will not be sentenced to jail or taken to jail at a preliminary hearing, under most normal circumstances.

Second, the preliminary hearing is where you enter a guilty or not guilty plea. Always speak with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney about your case well before your hearing date. A DUI lawyer is going to help you choose the best option for your circumstances in how to plea.

It’s important to remember that a DUI arrest does not always result in a conviction. You have options, like ARD program or Drug Court that could make a difference, as well as any number of other legal defenses.

Third, the preliminary hearing is the first place where your lawyer is going to be able to begin to negotiate plea options. It is a very important step in the process and it’s critical that you have an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer to help negotiate on your behalf. It is possible to have your charges significantly reduced or dismissed at the preliminary hearing. 

If the Magistrate judge finds probable cause, she will then send your case to the County Court of Common Pleas, where an arraignment will be scheduled.

Learn more about the DUI Court process in Pennsylvania

Have a question about your DUI case or upcoming preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania? Call our team of top Pittsburgh DUI lawyers for a free consultation.

Call Ketchel Law at 412-456-1221. We take your case seriously and are committed to providing quality legal advice.

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Recent PA Court Ruling on Medical Marijuana: A Schedule I Drug in DUI Cases

Court Rules You Can be Charged and Convicted of DUI of Drugs for using Medical Marijuana

medicinal marijuana / cannibisMany medical marijuana users in Pennsylvania are in shock over the recent ruling in early May 2022 that says the legal medicine they have been prescribed could mean they are at risk for being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania.

If a person is charged with DUI drugs in PA and have no other controlled substance or alcohol in their blood, they could still face the maximum penalties as a person with the highest rate of blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Penalties include a one year license suspension, up to six months in jail and a heavy fine (first offense).

Many people say they are not impaired at the time of their arrest. However, trace amounts of marijuana and metabolites can stay in the blood stream for days after use, long after a person is considered “impaired” or “high”.

Even though Schedule I drugs are defined by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”, medical marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, as is heroin, meth and ecstasy.

The ruling made by the Pennsylvania Superior Court was in rejection to an appeal of a DUI case, in which the defendant was charged with DUI after initially being pulled over for illegally speeding.

In the ruling (Commonwealth v. Dabney)  May 5 ruling, Judge D. Kunselman wrote a 17 page opinion which says “medical marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance,” and that “no conflict exists between the Medical Marijuana Act and the Vehicle Code.”

She also added that the Medical Marijuana Act “did not remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I controlled substances.”

The defendant, Dabney, argued that marijuana ingested, pursuant to the Medical Marijuana Act, 35 P.S. §§ 10231.101, is not a controlled substance within the meaning of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, and therefore he could not be prosecuted for DUI under 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3802(d)(1) based on medical marijuana in his blood.

Read the full ruling here. Read about the case in the York Daily Record.

This ruling holds precedence and will have an effect on other similar DUI cases involving medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. There are over 400,000 legal registered users of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Is there anything that can be done if you are charged with DUI of Medical Marijuana in PA?

First, anyone charged with a crime has the right to fight against the charges – DUI cases are fought and won every day in court. Having an experienced attorney who has successfully taken on and won hundreds of DUI cases can help.

Second, you could be eligible to apply for a pardon. In late 2020, lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House voted to amend the DUI law to decriminalize trace amounts of marijuana for legal medical marijuana users. However, the Pennsylvania State Senate has yet to take measures to vote on it and move it to the Governor’s desk. Until then, there is a possibility of being charged with DUI.

However, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons recently established an expedited review program for non-violent marijuana offenders in Pennsylvania. Under this program, people who are legally allowed to use medicinal marijuana and who have been charged with DUI, are eligible to apply for a pardon.

An Arrest is Not a Conviction

If you were charged with DUI of marijuana in Pennsylvania or are facing marijuana charges or other drug charges, contact our experienced Pittsburgh DUI and Drug Lawyers for a free consultation. Our attorneys can either help you apply for a pardon or fight the charges, depending on your circumstances.

If the cops catch you, call Ketchel

PITTSBURGH DRUG LAWYERS

KETCHEL LAW 

Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today.

Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.

Learn more about Marijuana Laws in Pennsylvania

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FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION

We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

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Can Medical-Marijuana Users Be Charged with DUI in Pennsylvania?

Medical Marijuana and DUI Law in Pennsylvania

As more and more people in Pennsylvania can more easily obtain a Medical Marijuana Card, what happens when they are pulled over for DUI? As the law currently stands, even if a person is legally allowed to consume marijuana, they could still face DUI charges, even while not impaired at the time of arrest.

medical marijuana dui laws pennsylvania

Since trace amounts of marijuana (metabolites) can be found in a blood test for up to 30 days – even if a person did not consume in the last 24 hours – they could still face the same penalties as a person with a High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level.

Even if you were using marijuana as prescribed and are not high or impaired at the time of an arrest, you can be charged with DUI.

In late 2020, lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House voted to amend the DUI law to decriminalize trace amounts of marijuana for legal medical-marijuana users. However, the Pennsylvania State Senate has yet to take measures to move the amendment forward and get it to the Governor’s desk. The amended bill states that an individual may not drive under a controlled substance with the exception of “marijuana used lawfully in accordance with the act of April 17, 2016, known as the Medical Marijuana Act.”

Even if this law were to go into effect, there are still exceptions, however. For instance, if a person demonstrates impairment or is driving recklessly, they can still be charged with DUI.

If used safely, medical marijuana should not impair a driver, especially if they are not using it at the time of arrest. As medical marijuana is legal for card holders, they should not be punished just because law makers have not passed appropriate laws or kept up with new laws. The tests also cannot monitor if someone currently is high, or how much they have consumed recently – they can only decipher whether a person has used marijuana in the past 30 days or so.

Even so – as it currently stands – penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana could mean up to a year of license suspension, six months of jail time and a large fine, for a first-time DUI arrest. In Pennsylvania, the odor of marijuana can be enough for the police to pull a person over for DUI.

Until the State Senate passes the bill to amend the DUI law, there is a possibility of being charged with DUI. However, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons recently established an expedited review program for non-violent marijuana offenders in Pennsylvania. Under this program, people who are legally allowed to use medicinal marijuana and who have been charged with DUI, are eligible to apply for a pardon.

If you were charged with DUI in Pennsylvania or are facing marijuana charges or other drug charges, contact our experienced Pittsburgh DUI and Drug Lawyers for a free consultation. Our attorneys can either help you apply for a pardon or fight the charges, depending on your circumstances.

If the cops catch you, call Ketchel

PENNSYLVANIA MARIJUANA LAWYERS

KETCHEL LAW 

Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

If you have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today.

Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.

Learn more about Marijuana Laws in Pennsylvania

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FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION

We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

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What Happens to My License After a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania?

Possible License Suspension and DUI in Pennsylvania

Having a few drinks at a bar and driving home may be commonplace in Pennsylvania, but if you are charged with DUI in PA, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences and penalties of a DUI arrest in Pennsylvania can be shocking and last a lifetime.

The reality is that you may very well lose your license for well up to a year or more, spend time in jail and face a criminal record available for the public to see—including potential employers, college admissions personnel, insurance companies, banks and loan officers and even  landlords. In addition to losing your license, your auto insurance will most likely increase as well.

However, being charged with DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. It is important to speak with a DUI Attorney about all possible options in defending your rights to reduce your sentence or have your charges dismissed completely.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest? Will PennDOT Take My License?

After being charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, many people wonder what will become of their license—how they will get to work or drop their kids off at school?

There are a couple options that can help you recover your license faster:

For many first-time DUI offenders in PA the ARD Program is a good option, if you are eligible.

The Ignition Interlock program may also be an option, which can shorten the amount of time your license is suspended.

The length of time you may lose your license depends on whether this is a first DUI or second DUI, and also on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level at the time of the arrest, and whether you submitted or refused a chemical test.

PennDOTS’s License Suspensions Guidelines According to BAC Level (Blood Alcohol Content)

Driver’s License Suspensions are imposed as follows:

  • BAC below .10% and incapable of safe driving: No suspension for first offense if the driver meets certain criteria; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .10% and less than .16%: 12 month license suspension for first and second offense. 18 month suspension for third or subsequent offense.
  • BAC greater than or equal to .16%: 12 month license suspension for first offense. 18 month suspension for second or subsequent offense.
  • Out-of-state DUI convictions: No suspension for first offense; 12 month license suspension for second or subsequent offense.

*If you are under the age of 21, there is an automatic license suspension of 90 days, regardless of BAC Level. 

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At Ketchel Law, we work aggressively to minimize the impact a DUI will have on your life—Our number one goal is to get your DUI charges dismissed. In the case of DUI, we will also work to significantly have the charges reduced and help you find options to license suspension.

An Arrest is NOT a Conviction.

For a Free Consultation call 412-456-1221 Today.

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What is the Ignition Interlock Program?

Pennsylvania law makes the Ignition Interlock requirement mandatory for first-time and repeat DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels and for individuals who receive an operating privilege suspension as a result of a chemical test refusal violation.

See the Ignition Interlock Fact Sheet  and Ignition Interlock FAQ for additional information.

What is the ARD Program? 

For first time DUI offenders and other minor crime and drug offenders, the ARD Program, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, can help you retain your driver’s license and jail time. This program can also give you the opportunity to have your criminal record expunged, which means avoiding a permanent criminal record that comes with a DUI conviction.

If you are seeking information on applying and being accepted into the Allegheny County ARD Program or to have your criminal record expunged, please contact our law office today for a free legal consultation.

 

PENNSYLVANIA DUI LAWYERS

KETCHEL LAW 

Call 412-456-1221 for a free consultation

If you have been charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today.

Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.

_____________________

FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION

We offer free legal consultations to anyone charged with a crime. Call us today to find out how we can help defend your rights.

Learn more about Ketchel Law:

 

 

 

 

Reduced Sentencing for 2nd DUI Offense in Pennsylvania

Second-Time DUI Offenders May be Eligible for Reduced Sentence

Will the New Pennsylvania Ruling Reduce Your DUI Penalties?

If you were recently charged with a DUI offense in Pennsylvania and considered a “second-time offender” because you already completed the ARD program for a previous offense, you may be eligible to have your current sentence/punishment reduced. 

You may be eligible for lower penalties under the Pennsylvania Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) if:

  • You are currently serving your sentence as a second-time DUI offender;
  • You have not previously litigated or waived the issue of whether you committed the first-time offense; and
  • You file for relief within one year from the date of the judgment.

Defendant’s Acceptance of ARD Program Alone Cannot Heighten Defendant’s Sentencing

2nd DUI penalties pennsylvania

Recently, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania determined in Commonwealth v. Chichkin and Commonwealth v. Roche that the sole fact that a defendant completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in the past, cannot be used as a “prior offense” for sentencing purposes because doing so violates constitutional due process.

In other words—your second DUI offense could be treated like a first DUI offense.

As you may know, a first DUI conviction has drastically different penalties than a second DUI conviction in Pennsylvania.

Read more about this new DUI ruling in Pennsylvania.

By being admitted to the ARD program, a defendant avoids trial and is not required to admit guilt.  Therefore, it cannot be considered as a “prior offense” for DUI sentencing unless the Commonwealth proves to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the fact that the defendant has committed a prior DUI offense or the defendant admits to having committed the prior DUI offense.

The difference between a first-time and a second-time DUI offense is significant because the law imposes mandatory minimums for repeat offenders.  In addition, a third-time DUI conviction may result in felony charges.

Ketchel Law Successfully Reduced Sentence for DUI Offender who Previously Completed ARD Program

The PCRA allows individuals who are serving a sentence to challenge their conviction on the grounds that their conviction is unconstitutional.

Because the ruling in Chichkin held that it was unconstitutional to use an ARD as a “prior offense” to sentence a person as a second-time offender, Ketchel Law recently used this ruling to successfully argue a PCRA petition that resulted in the resentencing of a second-time DUI offense as a first-time offense for the client.

The client was eligible for relief because he was still serving his sentence, had not previously litigated or waived the issue, and timely filed the PCRA petition (within one year of the date of judgment).

Ketchel Law argued that because the court treated the fact that the client had previously completed an ARD program as a “prior” DUI offense, his sentence on the new DUI case as a second-time offense was illegal.  The court agreed and re-sentenced the client as a first-time DUI offender.

This changed the defendant’s sentence from a misdemeanor of the first degree (M1) to an ungraded misdemeanor and reduced the amount of allowable supervision from 5 years to 6 months.

If you have recently been sentenced on a second DUI offense and your first DUI was an ARD program, call Ketchel Law right away to inquire if you are eligible to file a PCRA petition and possibly have your sentence changed.

If you were charged with DUI in PennsylvaniaJustin Ketchel can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

The first step is to get a free legal consultation from an experienced and successful DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

For more information and to better understand Pennsylvania DUI Laws, visit the following pages:

 

New DUI Ruling in Pennsylvania Reduces Penalties for Second DUI

Superior Court of Pennsylvania Ruling to Upend Consequences of DUI Cases in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania DUI Law—FelonyOn May 20, 2020, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania filed an opinion in the DUI cases of Commonwealth of PA v. Igor Chichkin and Commonwealth of PA v. Lisa Roche that will have drastic consequences on DUI cases throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

In their Opinion, the Superior Court holds that acceptance of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case cannot be considered a prior offense for DUI sentencing purposes.

The Court held that doing so would offend the Due Process Clause and is unconstitutional.

What this means if charged with DUI or recently plead guilty to DUI

First, if you have previously entered and completed ARD for a first DUI offense, and are now charged with another DUI offense, it should be considered a first offense. This is important because penalties for a second DUI offense are much more harsh than for a first DUI conviction.

It also means that there may be post-conviction actions that can be taken on your behalf to reduce the penalty if you recently plead guilty to a second offense DUI. In other words, if you were convicted of a second DUI offense in Pennsylvania, you may be able to have your sentence reduced.

Other recent changes to PA DUI laws have been made, as well—a third DUI may now result in felony charges.

If you were recently charged with DUI in PA or if you already have been convicted on a first offense or second offense DUI charge, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney in PA as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Pennsylvania Counties May Differ in Applying New Ruling

As this opinion was recently filed on May 20, 2020, there is still a lot of uncertainty about how District Attorneys from different counties will handle the ruling. Some counties may no longer offer ARD to first DUI offenders.

If you have recently been charged or convicted of a DUI, you should speak with an experienced attorney at Ketchel Law as soon as possible to discuss what is in your best interest now that the law has changed.

Although you may have been facing a “second-offense DUI,” an attorney with experience in DUI cases may be able to use this new ruling to have your case treated as a first offense.

How a DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania Can Help

Attorney Ketchel’s extensive experience as a former public defender, and in private practice, gives him a distinct advantage when handling DUI cases. 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 you were charged with DUI in PennsylvaniaJustin Ketchel can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

The first step is to get a free legal consultation from an experienced and successful DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania, like Attorney Justin Ketchel.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

For more information and to better understand Pennsylvania DUI Laws, visit the following pages:

DUI and Refusing a Breathalyzer in Pennsylvania

What happens if you refuse a chemical breath or blood test after receiving a DUI charge in Pennsylvania?

DUI—Refusal of Breathalyzer in PennsylvaniaWhen you get your PA drivers license, and drive on PA roadways, you implicitly consent to submit to a blood or breath test when a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence. This is often referred to as the Implied Consent Law or known as the O’Connell Warnings in Pennsylvania.

Many people may be unaware of having complied to this law when signing their driver’s license. If they are then charged with DUI—Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs—they could be confused at the time of arrest or even belligerent from the alcohol or drugs and decide not to submit a blood test or breath sample. In so doing, they break the law of implied consent and automatically lose their license.

If you did not submit a breathalyzer or blood sample, you still have options for getting your license reinstated, however, including a DUI appeal.

Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer or Blood Sample

So what happens if you are charged with DUI in Pennsylvania and refuse to give your blood or breath during a police stop?

Under Pennsylvania Code § 1547, the implied consent law states that anyone who is driving in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is deemed to have consented to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content or the presence of a controlled substance if a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is driving under the influence.

If you refuse to submit to a test, it can result in a license suspension up to eighteen (18) months as well as a hefty fine.

Additionally, even if you refuse, you can still be prosecuted for a DUI. So, a refusal can result in a civil penalty AND criminal charges.

As stated above, a police officer must be able to show that they had reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence, and the police officer is required to advise that if you refuse a chemical test that you will face a license suspension.

Appealing a Suspended License—30 days

You have the right to appeal any license suspension as a result of your alleged refusal to submit a breath or blood sample during a DUI charge. If you believe that an officer acted improperly or that you did not refuse, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer immediately.

Once you have received a letter from PennDot stating that your license will be suspended for a chemical test refusal you have only thirty days to file an appeal.

Generally, once the appeal is filed, a supersedes order is filed, allowing you to continue to drive while awaiting your license suspension appeal hearing.

The DUI Appeal Attorneys at Ketchel Law have years of experience successfully winning license suspension appeals and, specifically, chemical test refusal suspension appeals.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

If you are dealing with this issue or any other legal issue that may cause PennDOT to suspend your license, contact our office to discuss your appeal rights immediately.

If you have been charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, Ketchel Law can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

Learn what happens in Pennsylvania after you have been charged with DUI:

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

Our experience and knowledge, along with our strong persuasive skills, allows us to provide you with the best possible defense.

CALL JUSTIN KETCHEL TODAY AT 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION.

If you have been charged with DUI, call us immediately so we can begin working with you on defending your reputation and your future.

Marijuana and DUI in Pennsylvania

DUI of Marijuana / Cannabis in Pennsylvania

Information on What Happens When Charged with DUI of Marijuana in Pennsylvania

While many counties in Pennsylvania have begun relaxing marijuana laws and penalties for possession, when it comes to driving under the influence of cannabis, Pennsylvania’s DUI law is incredibly strict.

Driving while under the influence of cannabis is illegal in all states and Pennsylvania has perhaps the strictest laws in place.

Pennsylvania’s DUI of a Controlled Substance law  is constructed in a way that any amount of cannabis, cannabis metabolites or other controlled substances in your system will be sufficient to find you guilty of DUI.

A first-time conviction for DUI of drugs can include a prison sentence of up to six months, a 12-month license suspension and a fine. If there are subsequent offenses, the penalties will sharply increase.

Charged with DUI of Marijuana Without Being Impaired

To be charged with DUI of a Controlled Substance, the driver does not have to be high nor impaired.

This is called the “Per Se” law for DUI of marijuana, meaning prosecutors do not have to show that you were impaired while driving.

With the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, many people who are obtaining medical marijuana legally are still being charged with DUI offenses due to having marijuana in their system. Even if a person is using marijuana properly and as prescribed, and are not high at the time of the arrest, they can be charged with Driving Under the Influence.

Amounts of THC can remain in the blood for up to a month, which means within that month any medical marijuana patient who drives and be targeted for DUI.

Under the Pennsylvania Law Code (Pa. Con. Stat. §75-3802) the following applies for DUI of Marijuana:

(d)  Controlled substances.–An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle under any of the following circumstances:

(1)  There is in the individual’s blood any amount of a:

(i)  Schedule I controlled substance, as defined in the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act;

(ii)  Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substance, as defined in The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, which has not been medically prescribed for the individual; or

(iii)  metabolite of a substance under subparagraph (i) or (ii).

Again, you do not have to be “high,” you do not have to be impaired, or “incapable of safely operating a vehicle” to be found guilty of a DUI under this law. The THC from the marijuana just has to be present in your blood, in any amount.

It is imperative that this “zero tolerance” law be changed to stop this legal trap set up by the current laws. There are currently groundbreaking cases ongoing to help show that merely having THC metabolites or low level of Delta Nine THC in your blood has no correlation to impairment, and therefore the current Pennsylvania DUI law needs to be changed.

An arrest is not a conviction.

DUI Charges can be stressful and threatening to your freedom and livelihood. However, just because you were charged does not mean you will be convicted. There are many option to fighting a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania, even for DUI of Marijuana.

DUI Charges of a Controlled Substance Can Be Fought and Won in Court.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: GETTING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

If you or a loved one is charged with driving under the influence of cannabis, please contact Ketchel Law for consultation and representation to help you fight this outdated law.

The Attorneys at Ketchel Law are experienced Pennsylvania DUI Lawyers.  Our Attorneys are here to help you understand your rights and the charges you face.

Call Attorney Justin Ketchel today for a free consultation.

Learn more about Hiring a DUI Lawyer in PA.

Learn More About DUI Laws in Pennsylvania:

Certain DUI Charges Now Felonies in Pennsylvania

Information on DUI Penalty Changes in Pennsylvania

Starting in December of 2019 new penalties were put into effect in Pennsylvania for offenders with multiple DUI convictions.

Previously, Pennsylvania did not consider multiple DUI charges as felonies, and instead treated all DUIs as misdemeanor offenses. The penalties for DUI convictions in Pennsylvania have now changed to include a felony sentence, a longer prison sentence and higher fines.

Pennsylvania DUI Law—FelonyAn Increase in Penalties for a DUI Conviction in PA

Multiple Convictions

Those who drive under the influence are now subject to felony charges if, on their third DUI conviction, they are found to have driven with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.16% or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance or refuse chemical testing under certain circumstances.

A fourth DUI conviction—regardless of blood alcohol level or substance involved—will now also be considered a felony.

The changes to the DUI law in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  • Under the new law, a person found guilty of a third DUI charge within 10 years and with a BAC level of .16% or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance, is subject to 1-7 years in jail and a $2,500—$15,000 fine.
  • Under the new law, a person found guilty of their fourth DUI offense in 10 years and with a BAC level between .08% and .10% is subject to 10 days to 7 years in jail and a $500—$15,000 fine.
  • Under the new law, a person found guilty for their fourth or subsequent DUI offense in 10 years with a blood-alcohol level of between .10% and .16% is subject to 1—7 years in jail and a $1,500—$15,000 fine.
  • Under the new law, a person found guilty on their fourth or subsequent DUI offense in 10 years with a BAC level of 0.16% or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance is subject to 1—7 years in jail and a $2,500—$15,000 fine.

Vehicular Homicide Under a DUI Conviction

The new law also increases the mandatory minimum sentence for past DUI offenders who commit intoxicated vehicular homicide. Under the old law, the maximum sentence was the same for everyone convicted of vehicular homicide while DUI: three years in prison. Under the new law, the penalty with one prior DUI is now five years in prison, while the minimum for an offender with two DUI convictions increases to seven years.

A DUI Charge While Under License Suspension

There are also increased penalties for those caught driving while their license is suspended for a DUI. The maximum penalty under the old law was a $500 fine and up mandatory 60-90 days in jail, regardless if it was a person’s first or subsequent offense. Under the new law, a second offense results in a Misdemeanor conviction and a mandatory $1,000 fine and at least 90 days in jail. A third offense leads to a $2,500 fine and a mandatory six months in jail.

What You Should Do When Facing DUI Charges in Pennsylvania

The first step is to get a free legal consultation from an experienced and successful DUI Lawyer in Pennsylvania, like Attorney Justin Ketchel. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, Justin Ketchel can help build a strong defense for your case and keep fines and sentencing to a minimum.

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

To better understand what happens in Pennsylvania after you have been charged with DUI, read about:

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL: HAVING YOUR DUI CHARGES DISMISSED.

CALL KETCHEL LAW TODAY: 412-456-1221 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION